Good News for Environment in FY 2012 State Budget

Environmental priorities fared very well in the FY 2012 state budget released from conference committee last night. ELM and its environmental allies celebrate their successful push for higher funding levels. This win sets a good foundation as we gear up for the FY 2013 environmental budget campaign.The budget now goes to the governor.

ELM had urged funding at the Senate budget level of $24.890 million for the Department of Environmental Protection, and the final budget figure is $24.682 million. While the $200,000 difference has an important impact, it is much better than the House budget figure of $21.532 millon.

For the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Urban and State Parks program, conferees included the higher figure from the Senate budget at $42.173 million. For the Natural Heritage program, the line item was restored at $150,000 and the permanent waiver of administrative charges was also included! ELM will continue its work to include language regarding DCR's ability to retain additional revenue it raises, since that was not included at this time.

The higher House budget figure for the Department of Fish and Game Commissioner's office was included - $658,880 - as was the higher figure from the House budget for the board that oversees hazardous waste site cleanup - $345,475. In addition, the conferees included funding for the Department of Agricultural Resources main account at $4.3 million ($100,000 less than the House figure of $4.4 million, but $200,000 more than the Senate figure of $4.1 million).

ELM would like to thank everyone who contacted their legislators to encourage support for these environmental budget items that benefit all Massachusetts citizens. Thank you to Senate Ways and Means Chairman Stephen Brewer and Vice Chair Steven Baddour, and House Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey and Vice Chair Stephen Kulik.

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