A $2.2 billion environmental bond bill that could fund hundreds of projects across the state, ranging from hiking trails to harbor dredging, cleared the state House and Senate last week as formal legislative sessions drew to a close for the year.
The environmental bond authorizes funding for state agencies, municipalities and nongovernmental partners to conserve natural resources, improve energy efficiency, support local farmers and fisheries, protect wildlife, maintain water quality and coastal infrastructure, manage solid waste, and promote smart planning and development, among other critical environmental and public health initiatives.
“Investments in our environment are important to maintain the quality of life that we have and have enhanced our cultural and recreational opportunities,” said Representative Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), House Chair of the Committee. “They are a major driver of our tourism industry, protect prime agricultural and timber lands and help us better manage solid waste, saving our communities money and creating jobs.”
The bond bill plays a key role in advancing the Commonwealth’s land conservation efforts.
“Between 2005 and 2013, Massachusetts protected 41 acres a day of open space and developed 13. This is a reversal from eight years prior and is largely due to the environmental bond which serves as the cornerstone for land conservation in the commonwealth,” said Jack Clarke, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for Mass Audubon.
“The funding in the environmental bond will enable our next governor to take bold steps on land protection, aquatic restoration and climate change resiliency. The Conservancy looks forward to continued collaboration on bond-funded projects with our partners in state agencies, land trusts and watershed groups and businesses,” said Wayne Klockner, State Director for The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts.
Press Release, August 4, 2014