Massachusetts State Reorganization
Letter to State Legislators
Please use this letter for talking points when you call your state
July 2, 2003
Re: Governor's vetoes of Riverways Program and certain parklands
provisions, and further cuts to environmental programs
River Watershed Association (CRWA), a 5200-member non-profit organization
dedicated to protecting the Charles River and its watershed, is writing to
urge you to vote to override the Governor's vetoes of: 1) funding for
the Department of Fish and Wildlife's Riverways Program; 2) certain
state parklands provisions and 3) further cuts in environmental programs.
We believe that it is very important to the health of the
Commonwealth's water resources, the success of the newly-created
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation, and environmental protection to
override these vetoes.
small program's ($290,293) staff raises close to three times as much
additional money in volunteer hours and non-state grants.
Its elimination through the Governor's veto comes at a critical
juncture when the viability of the Commonwealth's water resources for
water supply, recreation, ecosystem health, habitat, species diversity and
economic development, are seriously threatened.
Riverways Program works closely with local watershed groups (nonprofits
receiving little or no state resources) to enhance freshwater resources
across the Commonwealth, and it has filled a gap caused by the elimination
of the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs' Watershed Initiative
through budget cuts. The Governor's veto will jeopardize the continual progress
Massachusetts has made in protecting aquatic habitat and expanding public
access and enjoyment of the state's waterbodies.
programs include Adopt-A-Stream, River Restore, the Urban Rivers Programs,
River Instream Flow Stewards, the Small Grants Program, and technical
assistance. Each program,
sometimes containing a single staff member, works in partnership with
citizens to restore and protect our rivers.
By leveraging a very small state investment into a tremendous
benefit for communities and citizens statewide, the Riverways Program
outperforms many other more expensive state programs.
urge you to support an override to maintain line item 2300-0101
for funding of the Riverways Program.
provisions (Line item 2000-0100), (Outside Section 248), and (Outside Section 627:
Governor has vetoed one line item and a number of outside sections of the
budget that were aimed at protecting the metropolitan parks system, which
is being merged along with the state park system into the Department of
Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The
metropolitan parks system will now be part of the Division of Urban Parks
and Recreation within DCR. CRWA
has supported the reorganization because we believe it will provide far
better management of the park system than the existing MDC has been able
to do. Our support, however,
has always been based on strong language protecting the park system and
keeping the parkways an integral part of the metropolitan parks system.
The legislature included effective language in the
budget, outlining policies that protect the natural resources and
ensure the maintenance of recreational facilities.
You also included strong language protecting the "scenic and
historic integrity of its roadways and boulevards," and ensuring that
care, custody and control of these parkways would remain with DCR. Regardless of which agency performs the actual maintenance of
these parkways, the planning, oversight and decision-making for the
parkways must remain with DCR, and the parkways use and management must be
integrated with the whole park system.
We urge you to override the Governor's vetoes that
potentially weaken protection of the park system. Specifically, we ask you to override vetoes on the
following parkland related line item and outside sections:
item 2000-0100 (the Governor struck language protecting the parkways in
this line item that CRWA supports);
Section 248 (requiring DCR to protect the scenic and historic integrity of
Section 627 (outlining important policy goals for the state's parklands,
recreational and natural resources)
environmental program cuts:
Governor cut an additional $6,793,869 from environmental programs, or 4%
more than in the Conference Committee report agreed to by the legislature
last week. Environmental
programs are now less than 0.75% of the overall budget.
Those vetoes represent real cuts to agency budgets and we urge to
restore this funding. Of
critical importance are administrative law judges (line item 2000-0500),
recycling programs (line item 2010-0200), and the Toxic Use
Reduction Institute (line item 7100-0300).
you for your continued support of our state's parkland and recreational
Robert L. Zimmerman, Jr.
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