BREAKING NEWS ON PURCHASE OF FOREST
February 14, 2008
From Rep Will Brownsberger's posting:
Great news –the legislature's Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture has released the Environmental Bond Bill - a positive step in the legislative approval process.
Thank you for all of your support and action so far, but,
THIS IS ONLY THE FIRST OF MANY STEPS NEEDED BEFORE JULY 31ST!
The bill still must go through several other legislative committees and both branches of the Legislature before it reaches the Governor's desk.
WE ARE ASKING FOR YOUR HELP NOW!
From Bond Bill Committee:
The importance of passing the Bond this session is critical – we therefore must remain vigilant and keep the pressure up. With so many other bond bills competing for the attention of the legislature we need to make sure all legislators are aware that passing the Environmental Bond this session is essential to protecting a sustainable and productive landscape of working farms, forests, wetlands, rivers, drinking water supplies, urban parks and protected natural areas, while meeting the economic and recreational needs of residents and visitors.
PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS TODAY and ask all of your members to do the same. Doing this puts the legislature on alert that the Coalition's more than 220 organizations are actively supporting passage of a strong Environmental Bond this session.
If you or your members do not know who your legislator is or how to contact them they can go to: http://www.wheredoivotema.com
Below is sample text you can send to your members when asking them to contact their legislators. As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me by email at Jeremy@MarinStrategies.com and thank you!
Coalition for the Environmental Bond Bill
From Rep Will Brownsberger:
For those of you who are following the issue of the Silver Maple Forest, I want to report a small step forward.
Today, the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee, on which I sit, reported out the Governor's Environmental Bond Bill favorably.
The Committee version of the bill, reported favorably today, includes an earmark for the acquisition of the Silver Maple Forest. The full text of the relevant line item appears further below.
This development is good news. It is the first positive legislative action related to the acquisition and I am grateful to my colleagues on the committee. But there is much more that needs to happen before we can celebrate in any sense.
First, a number of other approvals must occur before the bill becomes final. It is likely to go next to the Bonding Committee and then to House Ways and Means. The bill can and will change in each of those committees. Then it needs to be approved by the House as a whole and then the Senate must act on it and the Governor must sign it. While there is great support for the Environmental Bond Bill, there are a number of bond bills pending and some legislators have concerns about the affordability of the capital program.
Second, even if the bill is approved and enacted into law, the administration is not bound to do anything by it. The bond bills are authorizations not orders -- it remains up to the administration whether they actually want to go forward and do the things that are authorized by the bond bill. So far, the Governor has not taken a position on the acquisition.
Finally, of course, we will need to find the money locally to make up the difference between the $6 million authorized and the full acquisition cost, which will be considerably greater than that.
So, I am providing this news at this stage as an item of information, but there remains much more to do.
The text of the relevant paragraph appears below.
Excerpt from the Environmental Bond Bill as reported today [February 14, 2008]:
2800-7011 For the acquisition of land and interests in land by the department of conservation and recreation and for associated costs, including planning, study, due diligence, title and appraisal services, site restoration, stewardship, and costs associated with the defense of eminent domain takings for the purpose of protecting significant natural and cultural resources of the commonwealth and enhancing the department's system of forests, parks and reservations; provided, that funds may be used for development and implementation of a stewardship program on lands under the care and control of the department of conservation and recreation, including but not limited to resource and land use monitoring, signage, boundary delineation and monitoring, preparation of baseline documentation, stewardship planning, ecological monitoring, and enforcement of conservation restrictions or detection and resolution of encroachments on land owned in fee simple, and repair of damage to property related to illegal uses such as off-road vehicle trespass; provided further, that funds may be used for inventory, restoration and reclamation of recently acquired land, including demolition of structures, removal of debris, eradication of non-native species, and other services essential to these reclamation efforts; provided further, that no more than $6,000,000 shall be expended for the acquisition of the Silver Maple Forest in Belmont and Cambridge, for conservation purposes $76,000,000
State Representative, (617) 771-8274 (cell)
Visit www.willbrownsberger.com for news.