1% for the Environment
Severe cuts to environmental agency budgets and staff reductions are preventing Massachusetts from living up to its potential. Currently, only 0.5% of the state operating budget supports environmental agencies. In our annual Green Budget report we set forth funding recommendations that put us on the right track toward achieving the Governor’s commitment of 1% for the environment. The last time Massachusetts allocated 1% of its budget to environmental programs was in the early 2000’s.
FY2020 Green Budget
A healthy environment supports a healthy economy. Tourism, agriculture, outdoor recreation, the fishing industry, and clean energy all are important job and revenue generators. Environmental agency funding is insufficient to meet demands and growing responsibilities.
- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and
Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) have suffered drastic cuts in recent years and staffing is down 30% compared to a few years ago.
- Many DCR properties are unstaffed or have such minimal staff presence that enforcement, safety, programming, and user experience are being negatively impacted.
- DEP staff is stretched to cover its wide ranging responsibilities. Additional staff are needed to monitor water quality, enforce solid waste bans, and deal with newer issues such as emerging contaminants and climate change regulation.
- Increase DCR’s State Parks and Recreation line item (2810-0100) by $6Mto $47M (from $40.25M in FY19)
- Increase MassDEP’s Administration line-item
(2200-0100) by $2.17M to $31.5M (from $29.13M in FY19)
- Increase the DCR Watershed Management line-item (2800-0101) by $400K to $1.5M (from $1.1M in FY19).
- Increase DER’s budget by $500K to $1.75M (from $1.255M in FY19)
In Massachusetts, we are the beneficiaries of a wealth of natural resources. It is our responsibility to ensure that we continue leading the nation in protecting our environment and the public’s health. We envision a Commonwealth that has healthy communities, great parks, and clean, abundant water.
What You Can Do
Familiarize yourself with the state budget process.
Subscribe to ELM’s e-mail list to keep up-to-date with our budget advocacy. When you receive our Action Alerts, please contact your State Representative and State Senator to ensure that our elected officials are hearing from their constituents that funding for environmental programs matters.