Good News for Rivers – Water Pollution Program to Stay with EPA

We are pleased to announce that the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture just voted on legislation proposed by Governor Baker to transfer authority from the federal government (EPA) to the state (MassDEP) to regulate water pollution and they decided to send this bill to study. This means the bill (H.2777) will not move forward this session.

Mass Rivers and nearly all our member groups strongly oppose authorizing the state to take over water pollution control programs from the federal government at this time. We are concerned that the inadequacy and instability of the proposed funding and MassDEP’s lack of current capacity to take on a major new program could harm water quality in the state.

We made the case, and once again our legislators listened.

We are hopeful that our work with the legislature increased awareness about MassDEP’s needs and will lead to more funding for MassDEP’s current water program responsibilities. Whether or not Governor Baker tries again to take control of this water pollution program from EPA, MassDEP needs sufficient funding to protect our rivers.

Please take a moment to thank the members of the Environment Committee for their vote to send H.2777 to study. You can find them, with their contact information here: Joint Committee on Environment. The members of this Committee took the time to meet with us, often several times, to learn about this issue and listen to our perspective. This is a difficult issue, and we greatly appreciate their willingness to listen to our concerns. Please call and thank the committee co-chairs, and anyone who represents your watershed, or any member with whom you communicated on this issue. Please consider sending thank you letters, and for your local legislators, a letter to your local newspaper(s) acknowledging their support for water quality with this important vote.

Sample script for phone calls:

“Hello, my name is _____________ and I live in ______________, Massachusetts. I am calling to say thank you to Representative/Senator ______________ for their vote on H.2777, An Act to enable the Commonwealth’s administration of the Massachusetts Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. I want to thank them for their support in protecting water quality in Massachusetts with this important vote. Thank you!”

Finally, a big thank you to you, our member organizations and individual members for testifying, sitting down to talk with legislators, signing on to our letters or sending your own, sending out action alerts, calling or emailing!

We were inspired to see what our members can do when we work together to protect our rivers! If you are not a member yet, please join us and support our ongoing fight for clean, healthy water for Massachusetts.