Environment is a huge set of topics encompassing health, global warming, land protection, and a host of other issues. With the input of dozens of environmental organizations from across the Commonwealth, we have compiled this list of legislation that we will be watching during 2009-2010.
In 2006, MLEV pulled together other organizations to create a focused legislative agenda. The resulting coalition, the Mass Green Alliance, working together to strengthen the voice of the green community. The Mass Green Alliance allows us to better speak with one voice to the legislature and public. Although the coalition does not currently include all environmental organizations, we are hoping it will continue to grow in membership and clout. The 2007-2008 legislative session gave Massachusetts significant victories for the environment, including the passage of four of six Mass Green Agenda priority bills.
2010-2011 Environmental Community Agenda
Preserve our Communities. An Act to Sustain Community Preservation would improve upon the Community Preservation Act's (CPA) 10-year success story of enabling nearly half of the Commonwealth's communities to preserve open space and historic resources and develop affordable housing, parks and recreational facilities. this legislation had strong support form both parties, with 116 legislators co-sponsoring. Last session it received a favorable recommendation from both the Joint Committee on Community development and Small Business and the House Committee on Ways and Means. The bill would:
- Restore the annual statewide Community Preservation Trust Fund distribution to historic levels
- Broaden the options and incentives for cities and less affluent communities to adopt CPA
- Clarify the allowable uses for CPA funds so that communities can rehabilitate existing outdoor parks and other recreational resources.
Enact An Act to Sustain Community Preservation
Sponsors: Rep. Stephen Kulik and Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem
Contact: David Bryant, The Trustees of Reservations
email@example.com or 781-784-0567 ext. 7504
Jennifer Ryan, Mass Audubon
firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-523-8448
Update the Bottle Bill. Across Massachusetts, more than 1 billion containers per year end up as litter or are sent to our bulging landfills and public health endangering incinerators, enough to fill Fenway Park to the Monster seats. By passing the updated bottle bill, we can reduce unsightly litter, save our strapped cities and towns clean up and disposal costs, and increase the recycling rate, a true win/win/win situation. The bill has the overwhelming support of the public, with 77% of respondents approving of the legislation in a recent MassINC poll, and after 14 years, the time has come to have a vote on this measure.
Enact An Act Relative to the Regulation of Snow and Recreation Vehicles: HB. 3330
Sponsor: Sen. Cindy Creem and Rep. Alice Wolf
Contact: Jennifer Ryan, Mass Audubon
email@example.com or 617-523-8448
Lead on Building Energy Efficiency. In 2008, the legislature enacted the Global Warming Solutions that set the Commonwealth on a path to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. In order to meet these reduction goals, it is incumbent on the legislature to help boost energy efficiency. In particular, buildings consume 50% of energy and therefore are significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. The Mass Green Alliance supports energy efficiency policies that will reduce emissions by making our buildings more efficient in their heating and electricity usage, by:
- Implementing municipal bonding to enable retrofitting of energy efficient lighting in schools
- Implementing an oil efficiency program to save consumer’s money and establish technical assistance and financial incentives
- Creating a building labeling program to increase residential efficiency by providing more information to home buyers about energy costs of homes
- Pass legislation promoting Zero-net energy buildings
Maintain Our Water Systems. While Massachusetts receives four feet of rainwater annually, many of our waterways are drying up from excessive water withdrawals and lack of recharge of water to refill our aquifers and provide sufficient flow to rivers and streams. This has led to economic impacts associated with increased water pollution, decreased fisheries and species diversity, and loss of recreational opportunities. The Sustainable Water Resources Act will establish science-based streamflow criteria and standards, give municipalities the option to establish an enterprise fund to mitigate local water and sewer impacts, and facilitate the removal of dangerous or unnecessary dams.
Enact the Sustainable Water Resources Act: HB. 834
Sponsors: Rep. Frank Smizik and Sen. James Eldridge
Contact: Margaret van Deusen, Deputy Director
firstname.lastname@example.org or 781.788.0007 ext. 234
Provide a Responsible and Effective Environmental Budget for FY2012 that focuses on the programs cannot afford to take any more cuts.
• Department of Environmental Protection Administrative: 2200-0100
• Department of Conservation and Recreation State and Urban Parks: 2810-0100
Specific funding recommendations to come.
Contact: Erik Balsbaugh, MLEV Interim Political Director, 617.742.8822
* Joint TUE = Joint Committee on Telecommunictions, Utilities and Energy.
* Joint ENA = Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.
* Joint MRG = Joint Committee on Municiplities and Regional Government
* Joint CDSB = Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business