State | Municipal |
We work with the Massachusetts legislature to:
- Fund environmental programs
- Better steward the environment through zoning reform
- Keep the Community Preservation Act updated
- Permanently protect old growth forests
- Create a better bottle bill
- Improve the way we manage our water resources
- Defend environmental laws and regulations
2013 -2014 State Conservation Legislative Priorities (PDF)
- An Act Relative To The Massachusetts Endangered Species Act is a consensus bill that would:
- Provide much-needed guidance for both development and conservation by codifying regulations used to implement MESA.
- Increase transparency by requiring extensive public notice, a comment period, and property owner notification for any newly mapped habitat.
- An Act Relative to Sustainable Water Resources amends the Water Management Act to:
- Ensure adequate water flow and water levels for community water suppliers, fish, and other species as developed by the Department of Fish and Game
- Authorize water suppliers to implement "waterbanking" under which they could charge a small fee to residents and businesses for any new water withdrawal capacity to offset and remedy ecological impacts of water withdrawals, such as:
- land acquisition for wellhead protection
- local recharge of storm/waste water
- reuse of water
- retrofitting existing development with low impact development methods or water saving devices
- Augment the options offered to dam owners by the Office of Dam Safety within the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to include dam removal. DCR’s existing authority currently only extends to repair of failing dams.
- An Act Relative to the Protection of Old Growth Forests provides much needed permanent statutory protection for the last of our stands of ancient trees found on state lands.
- An Act Updating the Bottle Bill expands the bottle bill refund to include non-carbonated beverages such as sports drinks, bottled water, and iced tea getting bottles out of landfills and off of streets.
Budget Priorities - 1% for Nature
Mass Audubon challenges the Patrick Administration and the Massachusetts legislature to restore environmental funding from 0.6% to a minimum of 1% of the total operating budget and to bring back critical funds for the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program.
For a general overview read our 2013 state budget recommendations (PDF).
Restore funding on our Endangered Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program
Other Critical State Reform Initiatives
2013 -2014 Other Critical State Conservation Reform Initiatives
- Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Fund: Need to amend section 35D of chapter 10 of the Massachusetts General Laws to permanently waive the application of indirect (overhead) cost charges on expenditures for endangered species recovery.
- Division of Capital Asset Management & Maintenance Surplus Lands Disposition: Need to amend section 548 of chapter 26 of the Acts of 2003 to establish stronger mechanisms for environmental agency review and municipal involvement prior to auction of surplus state lands.
- Forestry Reform: We need to:
- Modify existing state forestry laws (M.G.L. chapters 61 and 132) to improve forest cutting standards and encourage sustainable forestry on private lands.
- Enhance incentives for use of locally-harvested timber.
- Ensure sustainable forestry under any new biofuels initiatives.
- Authorize the state to establish a system of forest reserves, including old growth, on state forests and state wildlife management areas.
- Establish statutorily permanent forest reserves.
- Mosquito Control: Need to expand the state reclamation and mosquito control board (M.G.L. chapter 252, section 2) to include seats for the Department of Public Health and the Department of Fish and Game, providing appropriate public health and wildlife oversight and transparency and efficacy tracking in mosquito control practices.
- Ensuring no net-loss of public conservation lands and protection of Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution through the Public Lands Preservation Act.
- Climate Change: Need to ensure that the commonwealth’s forward thinking climate change laws and regulations are fully implemented, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing well-sited and managed renewable energy resources.
State Legislation Generally Opposed By Mass Audubon (PDF)
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The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a long history of granting authority to local communities to manage their own affairs. As a result, Mass Audubon's municipal legislative advocacy is focused on encouraging municipalities to take advantage of available policy tools and statewide enabling acts to conserve natural resources of local significance.
2011-2012 Municipal Conservation Legislative Priorities (PDF)
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2013-2014 Federal Conservation Legislative Priorities (PDF)
Mass Audubon will continue to work with the Massachusetts congressional delegation and the Obama administration to defend and restore America's conservation legacy, and to guide the nation to a healthier and more sustainable future.
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