This action alert came directly from Massachusetts Rivers Alliance and we thought it might be of interest.
The Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee unveiled its Fiscal Year 2012 budget proposal last week, and the news was not good for the environmental agencies. However, there is still time to weigh in with your representatives on Beacon Hill to urge the restoration of funding that will help rivers - but you must do this in the next two days, while the budget is still in play. For environmental groups, please feel free to forward this email to your members. Please note that these budget amendments would save critically important existing programs - they will not add anything new.
Please call your representatives to ask them to support the following three budget amendments, all of which are high priorities for rivers:
- DCR’s Office of Water Resources, Amendment 756 (Rep. Dykema) (line-item 2800-0101). DCR's Office of Water Resources conducts and helps fund critical research on water resources in Massachusetts. This critically important program's responsibilities include water needs forecasting, developing the science on streamflow issues, flood hazard management, drought management, invasive species removal in lakes, ponds, and rivers, and supporting the Water Resources Commission. In the last several years, the program's funding was slashed from $1.8M to $475,000. This amendment would increase funding by $275,000.
- Amendment 566 (Rep. Gobi) would increase the main DEP administrative account (line-item 2200-0100) by $2.79 million. DEP is responsible for ensuring that our air and water are clean, that hazardous waste sites are cleaned up, that our environmental laws are enforced, and that businesses can get their permits in a timely fashion. A 30% cut in funding is severely compromising DEP’s ability to protect our resources and public health. No amount of efficiencies can make up for a 30% budget cut.
- Division of Ecological Restoration, Amendment 432 (Rep. Turner) (line-item 2300-0101) DER (formerly Riverways) staff coordinate more than 60 active restoration projects, including 25 dam removal and other infrastructure projects that protect drinking water, reduce flooding, improve stream flow, and restore habitat. DEP has leveraged $23 million in non-state funds since 2007 and a typical restoration project employs between five to fifteen people. This amendment would increase funding by $60,000.
If you know your representative's name, you can call the House switchboard and be put through: 617-722-2000. If not, locate the name and contact information of your state representative by visiting:
http://www.wheredoivotema.com/bal/myelectioninfo.php (Note: look for "Rep. In General Court")
- Give your name and town.
- Ask to speak to the Representative. If he or she is not available, ask to speak to a staff member. You can also send an email.
- Encourage them to support the above House budget amendments. Tell them you support these amendments and would like to see them accepted into the final House Budget.