The alert below from the MMA – I just called Senator Timilty’s office, and also thanked him for sponsoring the pending legislation to make work spaces handicap accessible.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
URGENT: YOUR LEGISLATOR WILL VOTE NEXT WEEK ON IMPORTANT ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION FILED BY GOV. BAKER
- 4254 WOULD ALLOW THE STATE TO OVERSEE FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS – INCLUDING MS4 STORMWATER PERMITS
THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT, NATURAL RESOURCES AND AGRICULTURE EXPECTED TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARING ON H. 4254 NEXT WEEK…
…AND YOUR LEGISLATOR IS ON THE COMMITTEE THAT WILL DECIDE WHETHER THE BILL MOVES FORWARD
PLEASE CALL TODAY AND ASK YOUR LEGISLATOR TO SUPPORT AND VOTE IN FAVOR OF H. 4254 IN COMMITTEE
The Legislation is Necessary to Allow MassDEP to have “Delegated Authority” over Federal Water Quality Regulatory Programs
Over the past year, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has been examining the possibility of obtaining authority from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the National Pollutants Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. Governor Baker recently filed H. 4254, An Act to Enable the Commonwealth’s Administration of the Massachusetts Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. Please click here to see Governor Baker’s press release and a link to the bill text.
The bill is expected to have a hearing before the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture early next week. MMA is urging local officials in the districts of committee members to contact your legislators right away and ask them to support this important legislation. Please see the contact information for your legislators at the end of this alert.
NPDES is the federal regulatory program, currently administered by the EPA, that includes permits, compliance, inspection, and enforcement activities for facilities that discharge effluent into surface waters (such as municipal wastewater treatment plants), as well as stormwater systems managed by over 250 cities and towns.
The MMA has been very involved in this discussion over the past few months, through participation in MassDEP’s NPDES advisory group and conversations with the Administration. The MMA will testify in support of this legislation at the public hearing, but it is very important that legislators on the committee hear from their local officials on this issue.
The Governor’s legislation is an essential step in MassDEP’s obtaining delegation over this program. The bill would make technical changes to the state’s Clean Waters Act to make it consistent with federal law. The bill also specifically authorizes MassDEP to begin to process of applying to the EPA for delegation.
There are many advantages to having MassDEP manage and oversee the NPDES and MS4 stormwater permit process, including:
- DEP has a much stronger relationship with cities and towns than the EPA;
- DEP has much more experience working with local officials, and has a much better understanding of our cities and towns than the EPA;
- Permitting decisions would be based on local conditions and more thorough up-to-date data;
- Having DEP oversee the MS4 stormwater and NPDES programs would provide many more opportunities for integrated water management;
- DEP would offer enhanced technical assistance – they are already planning on coordinating technical assistance and information sharing on stormwater issues; and
- Delegated authority would allow DEP to provide better information on water quality conditions across the Commonwealth.
This bill will not change the new MS4 stormwater regulations recently released by the EPA, but MMA believes that MassDEP’s greater understanding of our cities and towns would lead to greater flexibility and responsiveness as the permits are implemented. And MassDEP would have a greater role in shaping future permit requirements. If DEP does not have delegated authority over NPDES programs, a more removed federal agency (U.S. EPA) will continue to develop and enforce the regulations for Massachusetts.
If you are receiving this action alert, your community is in the district of one or more members of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. Please look for your legislator’s name and phone number below and contact them right away to ask them to support H. 4254. It is very important that your legislators hear from local officials BEFORE the public hearing, which is expected to be early next week, which is why we are asking you to call today.
Senate Committee Members:
Anne M. Gobi, Senate Chair, 617-722-1540
Michael F. Rush, Senate Vice Chair, 617-722-1348
James B. Eldridge, 617-722-1120
James E. Timilty, 617 722-1222
Thomas M. McGee, 617-722-1350
Ryan C. Fattman, 617-722-1420
House Committee Members:
Paul A. Schmid, House Chair, 617-722-2210
Brian R. Mannal, House Vice Chair, 617-722-2210
Robert M. Koczera, 617-722-2582
Carolyn C. Dykema, 617-722-2680
Mary S. Keefe, 617-722-2210
Christine P. Barber, 617-722-2430
James M. Kelcourse, 617-722-2130
James M. Cantwell, 617-722-2140
Josh S. Cutler, 617-722-2210
Jay D. Livingstone, 617-722-2396
Donald R. Berthiaume, 617-722-2090
Please Contact your Legislators Today and Ask Them to Support H. 4254 at the Public Hearing Next Week
Thank You Very Much!