Since the first Earth Day in 1970, we’ve seen great progress toward better stewardship of our natural resources. From the federal Clean Air and Clean Water Acts of the 1970’s, to the Green Communities Act here in Massachusetts in 2008, we have a lot of accomplishments to celebrate over the past 40 years. I’m reminded daily that environmental protection continues to be a priority for my constituents (and my children!). As a member of the legislature and the Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, I will continue to advocate for environmental progress. In celebration of Earth Day, I’d like to highlight some of the work that’s been done on key pieces of environmental legislation this legislative session.
After years of advocacy, additional funding for the Community Preservation Act is included in this year’s House budget. If included in the final budget, these new funds will be provided directly to communities, including four in our district, as matching funds for the purchase of permanent protections on open space as well as historic projects and affordable housing. This effort is supported by colleagues on both sides of the aisle and will contribute to long-term protection of our water resources and wildlife habitats.
Toxics in products and manufacturing processes eventually make their way into our soil and our water. This year I was pleased to vote to advance the Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals bill that will minimize our exposure to hazardous chemicals by requiring companies to replace chemicals with a safer substitute if one exists. Over the past several years I’ve helped work to improve the bill and I’m hopeful that we’ll continue to make progress toward its passage.
The Expanded Bottle Bill gained momentum this year, with over 200 communities endorsing the bill, including several in our district. I’m proud to be a co-sponsor of the legislation which will increase recycling, reduce litter, and support local bottle redemption businesses which have not seen a handling fee increase in 17 years.
The Electronic Waste bill is supported by a broad coalition of industry and environmental groups and will provide more options for consumers to properly dispose of outdated electronics and keep toxics out of our landfills. I was pleased to join my colleagues on the committee to give the bill a favorable report and advance it to the next step of the legislative process.
I look forward to continuing to advocate for measures that will protect our health and the beauty of our planet for future generations. See you on Earth Day!