Updated Bottle Bill--August 1, 2012 Update
This session of the Massachusetts legislature has ended without passing the Updated Bottle Bill. The Senate had included it in its economic development passage, but the bottle bill was not included in the Senate-House compromise report. We will be involved in discussions this fall about how to move this important legislation forward in the coming year.
Threat to Mass. Endangered Species Act--August 1, 2012 Update
There is good news – the challenge to the Mass. Endangered Species Act did not succeed.
Many thanks to Mass Audubon who worked so hard on this, and provided this update (August 1, 2012): “House leadership signaled opposition to gutting endangered species protections by moving a compromise bill out of House Ways and Means which would codify the regulatory mechanism under which MESA is implemented. However, enough legislators feel that there are unresolved questions around how MESA is implemented that the bill didn’t go any further this session. That’s fine, we can educate and have constructive conversations about the program over the fall and next spring. Moving the bill out of House Ways and Means is a signal that the legislature anticipates taking this up next session, which starts this coming January. We’ll be back at it and will need a great showing at the bill hearing, which will be next spring.
Here’s the bill http://www.malegislature.gov/Bills/187/House/H04360. The new number is House Bill 4360.
For now, thank you for your advocacy. I heard time and time again how often legislators were hearing from their constituents. Without that we may have had a very different outcome. Please consider sending a quick note to your legislators thanking them for upholding MESA!”
On Thursday, June 19, the Updated Bottle Bill passed the Senate as an amendment to the Economic Development Bill. Since it had not previously passed the House it will now be debated by a House-Senate conference committee.
Please call your State Representative early this week (July 23-27). Ask them to speak with House leadership and conference committee members about the importance of keeping the Updated Bottle Bill Amendment (H.890; S.1650) in the Economic Development Bill (H.4119). If this amendment is retained in the final version, both the House and Senate are likely to pass the overall bill. And that will be a great win for the environment.
WHY UPDATE THE BILL?
Because it works: 80% of containers covered under the 1982 bottle bill are recycled, but only 20% of those not covered are recycled. And that’s no secret: 77% of the public supports it, a majority of legislators (105) are on record endorsing it, and 208 cities and towns have passed resolutions in favor of it.
Al Pierce, aka Trash Paddler, who kayaks our local rivers pulling out trash almost daily, noted that "on average, I find 3 to 4 non-redeemable containers for every 1 redeemable container."
It is high time to update this important law to:
• add a deposit on the containers of many noncarbonated drinks, such as water, tea and sports drinks, and on many other carbonated beverages not currently covered
• increase the handling fee so redemption centers can continue operating
• establish a dedicated Clean Environment Fund to support programs and projects for the proper management of solid waste, water resource protection, parklands, urban forestry, air quality and climate protection, which are currently woefully underfunded.
To get our Action Alerts, join OARS' email list , entering "OARS Email List" in the subject field. OARS members are effective advocates for the rivers when they let their state and federal legislators hear their views, especially regarding important pending legislation and changes to regulations. Local government also depends on direct citizen engagement in issues of concern. We will post the information you need to take action on the issues that will make a difference to the rivers.
ACTION ALERT, June 26, 2012: Endangered Species
Please act now to protect endangered species in our watershed by contacting your state legislators and asking them to VOTE NO on An Act relative to land takings (SB1854). This bill would effectively repeal endangered species protections in the Commonwealth. This letter of opposition , signed by 72 conservation and sportsmen's organizations, was delivered to the legislature this morning (6/26/12).
Now we need your help. This bill has already been approved by the Joint Committee on Environment and is on its way to the House Ways and Means Committee.
Please take action to prevent the dismantling of the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act.
On June 14, the Joint Committee on Environment approved Senate Bill 1854, An Act relative to land takings (filed by Senator Gale Candaras). The bill has been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. The redraft will:
• Place impossible and unprecedented requirements on the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (DFW) to be completed in 7 months, effectively undoing current protections for the 435 species of native animals and plants at risk in Massachusetts.
• Inject uncertainty, delays and conflict in the project review process, leading to potential fines and lawsuits against landowners and developers.
• Up-end long-standing appeal procedures and case law by putting DFW on a different footing than every other agency in the Commonwealth.
This unfunded agency mandate would create an unworkable system leaving endangered species unprotected. To learn more, read the letter of opposition, an analysis of the bill, and FAQ provided by Mass Audubon. Here is the most recent SB1854 text.
PLEASE ACT NOW!
Contact your state representative and senator - by phone, email or mail - TODAY! Ask them to protect endangered species and VOTE NO on SB 1854, An Act relative to land takings and ask them to communicate their position to leadership. Leadership in the House is Speaker DeLeo and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Brian Dempsey. Senate leadership is Senate President Murray and Chairman of Senate Ways and Means Stephen Brewer.
We expect the bill to be sent to the House Committee on Ways and Means this week and the bill may get a new number. We will keep you posted. Thank you for stepping up to protect endangered species in our watershed!