Stop the bill that will weaken clean water protections.

 

Once again we are asking you to take action to protect our rivers, streams and ponds.

It's simple, just call one or more members of the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Environment today to oppose House Bill 2777.

NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permits limit pollution into our waterways, lakes and ponds. Right now in Massachusetts, the US EPA issues these water pollution control permits jointly with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) under the federal Clean Water Act. This program is critical to keeping our waters clean, and to safeguarding public health and the environment.

The Mystic River Watershed Association, the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance and other environmental groups strongly oppose Governor Baker’s bill (H. 2777), which would begin the process of transferring control of the NPDES permitting process from EPA and place it solely in the hands of MassDEP.

By February 7th, 2018, the Joint Committee on Environment will decide whether to report the bill out to the Legislature for a vote or send the bill to study for further research. We need your help to tell Committee members that they should oppose this proposed legislation!

Here is a sample script for your call:

 “Hello, my name is _____________ and I live in ______________, Massachusetts. I am calling to ask that Representative/Senator _____________ opposes House bill 2777, An Act to enable the Commonwealth’s administration of the Massachusetts Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. I am worried that this could hurt water quality in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Quality does not have the resources to take on this new program, and I think it should remain with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Thank you for your consideration.”  [See detailed bullet points below for more information].

Please call one or more of the below Committee members and tell them to oppose H.2777 before Feb 7th:

Here is why the Mystic River Watershed Association, along with many of our peer organizations, oppose Governor Baker’s proposal (H. 2777) to transfer primacy over the NPDES permitting process from the EPA to MassDEP:

  • Could harm water quality. It will provide no environmental benefit, and could harm water quality. The people who want this change are hoping MassDEP will be more “flexible” than EPA, potentially allowing more pollutants in our rivers, streams, and coastal waters, and for longer periods.
  • Ill-prepared state agency. Due to a decade of budget cuts, MassDEP is severely underfunded and understaffed and cannot take on a new, expensive program at this time.
  • Expensive program. This bill would delegate the water pollution permitting program (NPDES) from EPA to MassDEP, costing MA taxpayers an estimated $5-$10M/year.
  • Unsustainable funding. The EPA currently provides this program at no cost to the state. Because the administration is not proposing a dedicated source of funding for this new program, the state legislature would need to appropriate funding every year, leaving the program extremely vulnerable to future budget cuts.
  • Long term concerns. Delegation is permanent. The current federal administration in Washington is temporary, but NPDES primacy, once granted, is forever.
  • Problems elsewhere.  Proponents like to point out that 46 other states have delegated this program. However, many states have struggled to adequately fund and administer the program, leading to 49 legal petitions in 31 states by environmental groups asking EPA to take the program back (it never has).

Please feel free to email us at contact@mysticriver.org if you have any questions or need additional information.