Baker Administration Proposes Bill to Weaken Water Protections

The Massachusetts Rivers Alliance released the following statement in response to a proposal from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to transfer control over the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting process from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

“The Massachusetts Rivers Alliance opposes Governor Baker’s proposal to delegate water pollution control from the EPA to MassDEP. EPA Region 1’s science-based permitting program has allowed Massachusetts to lead the nation in urban river restoration, bringing Boston Harbor, the Charles River, and other historically degraded waters back to life. We caution legislators against letting short-term fears push us into a decision that could have permanent, adverse consequences for water quality in our state. The proposed change is a high-stakes gamble for a state that has struggled to adequately fund its water protection programs. MassDEP is at its lowest staffing level since 2005 and water quality programs have multi-year backlogs. We urge the Massachusetts legislature to reject the current proposal and instead focus on improving MassDEP’s current water quality program. We look forward to working with both the legislature and the Baker administration to find ways to better protect our water resources.”