Senate Passes Environmental Bond Bill

Eldridge secures funding for new Water Innovation Trust, DEP water quality monitoring

BOSTON – The Senate on Thursday, July 10th, unanimously passed a bill providing for the preservation and improvement of land, parks and clean energy in the Commonwealth.

“This bill allows us to protect some of the state’s most important natural resources,” said Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). “These investments will allow residents to continue to enjoy the same quality of life that makes Massachusetts so special, including protecting open space, clean rivers, streams, lakes and ponds, and keep farms viable. It will also increase the state’s focus on water innovation in Massachusetts and create cost effective ways of delivering clean water. Finally, the environmental bond bill begins the planning for Massachusetts to adapt to climate change, while also increasing our state and communities’ commitment to moving away from fossil fuels.

Senator Eldridge filed two amendments to the bill that passed, capitalizing the Water Technology Innovation Trust Fund at $10 million and providing $5 million for DEP programs to improve water and air quality. The Water Innovation Trust Fund will support the growing water innovation cluster in Massachusetts to provide safe and affordable water resources. It will be used to create a network of Water Treatment testing facilities, solutions to critical water infrastructure needs in Massachusetts and drive economic development and job creation.

“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;
• $75.4 million for the Department of Environmental Protection for investment in water and air quality protection;

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• $20 million for the design, construction, reconstruction, repair or removal of state-owned dams;
• $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;
• $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;
• $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;

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

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