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On the River Today
Mini Current: On the River Now

Proposed changes to NPDES permitting threaten Massachusetts' rivers

Canoing on the Charles River

Earlier this month Governor Baker reintroduced a bill opposed by environmentalists last legislative session that would allow Massachusetts to take over the water pollution permitting program from U.S. EPA. Under the federal Clean Water Act, EPA currently regulates discharges of stormwater, wastewater and industrial pollution into our waterways.  The governor’s bill would enable the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to assume “primacy” for issuing these permits, known as National Pollution Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, permits. 

Charles River Watershed Association, the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance and other environmental groups oppose this bill because it will provide no environmental benefit and cost MA taxpayers millions of dollars each year. MassDEP is also already struggling to perform core monitoring, assessment, reporting and research on water quality across the state. Read more

Environmental news roundup: Proposed federal budget would slash environmental funding

Boston Harbor - Seen from the Top of Mystic River Bridge The Trump Administration's preliminary budget proposes a 31% cut to the Environmental Protection Agency including eliminating 19% of its workforce. The budget also proposes cuts to climate change programs across many federal agencies

The proposed budget is receiving push back from many quarters including former EPA officials. “This budget is a fantasy if the administration believes it will preserve EPA’s mission to protect public health,” Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator under President Obama, said in a statement. “It ignores the need to invest in science and to implement the law,” she said. “It ignores the lessons of history that led to EPA’s creation 46 years ago. And it ignores the American people calling for its continued support.” 

Charles River Watershed Association's mission is to use science, advocacy and the law to protect, preserve and enhance the Charles River and its watershed. For more information about CRWA and our current programs, please visit