Senate Passes Environmental Bond Bill

Below is the press release from the Senate President’s office. To read about Senator Brownsberger’s priorities that were adopted in the bond bill, visit this post.

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Senate Passes Environmental Bond Bill

BOSTON – The Senate on Thursday unanimously passed a bill providing for the preservation and improvement of land, parks and clean energy in the Commonwealth.

“This bill represents our continued commitment in promoting the highest environmental standards all across the Commonwealth and will make significant improvements in our communities,” Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. “It provides funding to allow for the protection of our natural resources through initiatives such as reforesting after natural disasters, improving water quality, supporting innovative green projects, among others. These are necessary investments to ensure the health of our communities for years to come.”

“The environmental bond bill offers us an opportunity to continue our state’s leadership in energy efficiency, to promote clean and alternative forms of energy and, by funding a water innovation trust fund, to allow us to partner with our fine universities and the private sector to develop leading edge clean water technology that will create jobs,” said Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets.

“In this Commonwealth, we have pristine natural resources that should be protected,” said Senator Stephen M. Brewer (D-Barre), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “Skiing, fishing, and just taking in nature are only a few examples of outdoor activities loved by Massachusetts’ residents. By investing in the preservation of land, parks and clean energy throughout the Commonwealth—from water and air quality measures to provisions that tackle greenhouse gas emissions—this bill will improve our state for the enjoyment of generations to come.”

This legislation authorizes a $1.9 billion, 4-year capital plan and includes:

  • $10 million for the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for general improvements and replacements to infrastructure;
  • $1.625 million for a conservation district grant program;
  • $75.4 million for the Department of Environmental Protection for investment in water and air quality protection;
  • $4 million to restore fresh water aquatic fisheries;
  • $20 million for the design, construction, reconstruction, repair or removal of state-owned dams;
  • $68.9 million for the design, construction, reconstruction, improvement or rehabilitation of coastal and inland waterways projects;
  • $20 million for the dredging of coastal public harbors;
  • $57.5 million for the Department of Conservation and Recreation for acquisition of land and interests in land;
  • $10 million for the design, construction, reconstruction, repair, improvement, or rehabilitation of flood control facilities and water resource protection related facilities;
  • $10.1 million for watershed protection and rehabilitation and technical assistance grants for the removal of aquatic invasive plants;
  • $10 million for the Department of Energy and Resources’ Leading by Example Program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts;
  • $5 million for a matching grant program for the repair, construction, and modernization of equipment and capital improvements of marine industrial infrastructure located in designated port areas or maritime industrial zones;
  • $28.6 million for the design, construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, repair or removal of municipally-owned dams and for inland-flood control projects;
  • $10 million for the Department of Agricultural Resources for the agricultural preservation restriction program;
  • $1.5 million for the Department of Agricultural Resources for the agricultural environmental enhancement program for the abatement of all forms of pollution generated from agricultural activities;
  • $129 million for coastal facilities improvements in designated and non-designated port areas;
  • $22.5 million for integrated energy and environmental projects;
  • $20 million for the acquisition of open space, recreation, and conservation land;
  • $50.875 million for the purpose of a forestry and tree planting program;
  • $30.350 million for the improvement of recreational opportunities and ecological integrity protection;
  • $3 million for oil or hazardous waste assessment, containment, cleanup, control, removal, or response;
  • $20 million for the Department of Fish and Game for the acquisition of land to protect native flora and fauna communities;
  • $1 million for conserving and recovering rare and endangered plant and animal species
  • $3.4 million for upland habitat management of forestlands, shrub lands, and grasslands;
  • $160 million for the Department of Conservation and Recreation for the design, construction, reconstruction, removal, improvement, or rehabilitation of department reservations, forests, parks, harbor islands, and other recreational facilities;
  • $5 million for recreational trails matching grants;
  • $80.7 million for Department of Conservation and Recreation parkways, boulevards, multi-use trails, internal state park roads and recreational trails;
  • $310 million for the accelerated energy program to improve the energy efficiency of state-owned facilities; and
  • $120 million for the design, construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or removal of coastal infrastructure.

In addition, the capital plan:

  • Establishes the Climate Change Adaptation Infrastructure Investment Fund for projects related to seawalls, jetties, revetments, retaining walls, and inland flood control;
  • Adds state agencies and authorities to the municipal street lighting program to add to cost savings for the Commonwealth;
  • Updates the conservation partnership grant created in the 2008 environmental bond bill;
  • Permits the Department of Fish and Game to purchase conservation restrictions and easements;
  • Requires the Executive Office of Administration & Finance to submit reports to the legislature detailing the progress on projects funded by this act, noting both the anticipated and actual spending
  • Requires the Department of Conservation and Recreation to identify areas in which deer overpopulation is negatively impacting forestation, water resources, or plant growth on department-owned land and to develop a plan to cull deer herds by October 1, 2014;
  • Requires that any agency that acquires land protected by Article 97 must obtain the approval of the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs prior to implementing any prohibition on fishing, hunting, or trapping; and
  • Requires the State Treasurer to annually issue guidance to state agencies on the issuance of “green bonds.”

The Senate and House will now produce a compromise bill for final passage and consideration of the Governor.

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Will Brownsberger
State Senator
2d Suffolk and Middlesex District