By Anthony Lucivero, Advocacy Fellow
As you might have heard as the news broke last week, the Massachusetts House Ways & Means cut spending on environmental protection by 5%. This is a big disappointment, as the total spending on the environment will continue to be less than 1% of the total MA budget.
However, there is a slight silver-lining. There were a number of amendments that saw increases in funding for certain environmental programs.
The increases are (from the Environmental League of Massachusetts):
- Climate Change Adaptation & Preparedness – increase of $150,000
- Department of Agricultural Resources Administration – increase of $640,000
- Department of Environmental Protection Administration – increase of $125,000
- Division of Ecological Restoration – increase of $75,000
- DCR State Parks and Recreation – increase of $2.1 million
- Community Preservation Act: received a $10M transfer from the FY2016 Consolidated Net Surplus
- Established a farmland protection advisory commission
- Statewide habitat conservation plan – increase of $100,000
So what can we do going forward? As a community, we need to keep the pressure up to let legislators know we want more than the bare minimum for environmental protection spending.