State Senate proposing cuts to river protection On May 19 the state Senate released its budget proposal for the coming year, and it includes significant new cuts in the programs that keep our rivers healthy. Overall, the Senate is proposing to cut the Department of Environmental Protection by 13% and the Department of Conservation and Recreation by 9%, all of which comes on top of previous cuts over the last decade.
Call your Senator. A few key allies in the Senate have proposed budget amendments that would help restore funding for our environmental agencies. Your Senator urgently needs to hear that their constituents want funding for rivers restored. Please take a moment today, Monday, or at the latest Tuesday, to call or email your state Senator and ask them to support the following amendments. Calls are quick, and more effective than emails. It is easy to look up your state Senator’s name, phone and email.
Script for your calls and emails.
“I live in Senator NAME HERE’s district in TOWN, and I’m concerned about the proposed cuts to the budget for our environmental agencies and specifically some of the programs that relate to water protection. While I hope the Senator will support all the green budget amendments, I have three that are especially important:”
1. Amendment #887 by Senator Eldridge to increase the DEP Administration/Compliance line item by $5.4 million. DEP has lost 30% of its staff over the last eight years and they just can’t live up to their obligations to test our water quality, conduct pollution inspections, and enforce our environmental laws anymore. This amendment would restore their budget to last year’s level and add a bit more to start restoring at least some of the past cuts to DEP.
2. Amendment #890 also by Senator Eldridge to increase the Division of Ecological Restoration by $140,000. The Division of Ecological Restoration does critical work to improve stream flows, protect drinking water, reduce flooding, and restore fish and wildlife habitats. Every dollar the state invests in their projects gets matched by seven non-state dollars.
3. Amendment #877 by Senator Brownsberger to restore a cut of $190,000 proposed for the DCR Office of Watershed Management.This small office is in charge of water conservation, water resource planning and lake and pond management. They have already lost almost 40% of their staff and they can’t tolerate another cut this year.
Thanks very much and please send us an email to let us know what (if any) feedback you receive!