In one part of Boston, there’s the Charles River. In another, the Mystic. Both were once heavily polluted. But where the Charles has become the poster child of environmental success, the Mystic tells a different tale – one that exposes a region divided along racial and economic lines.
“It’s no coincidence that this bill is moving forward at a time when large swaths of the country are baking in yet another heatwave,” said CLF President Bradley Campbell. “The IRA will help us slash emissions and bolster the country’s clean energy efforts to respond to the climate crisis at our doorsteps. However, this bill still doesn’t get us to where we need to be, so state action to reduce emissions is going to be critical in the years ahead.”
“Completely shutting down the Orange Line for 30 days is unacceptable,” said Staci Rubin, Vice President of Environmental Justice at CLF. “It’s awful that the T has failed to maintain tracks and infrastructure for so long that it now warrants a monthlong shutdown. Replacement buses will more than double travel times, disrupting the lives of hundreds of thousands of riders. At the very least, the T must implement bus lanes for the entire length of the route and run more frequent commuter rail service.”
As the federal government takes action to restore and conserve our nation’s lands and waters, strengthening protections for National Marine Sanctuaries must be a priority.
“Given the glacial pace of new right whale protections over the last decade, immediately curtailing the second biggest threat to their existence would be a game-changer,” said Erica Fuller, senior attorney at Conservation Law Foundation. “This proposed rule is a major step forward, but there’s a five-month gap in protection south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket that should be addressed. Federal officials must now get these protections in place on the water as quickly as possible and effectively enforce them.”
“This bill includes some important steps forward in limiting biomass subsidies and supporting the offshore wind industry,” said Caitlin Peale Sloan, Vice President of CLF Massachusetts. “However, there’s a lot of room for improvement when it comes to environmental justice. The state needs to take a stronger stand in protecting these communities from air pollution, creating access to an electrified commuter rail, and our leaders must do more to equitably phase out fossil fuels once and for all. We’ll continue our push to make these critical changes a reality in the next session.”
The economic development bill passed by the House of Representatives presents the latest case-in-point. Quietly tucked into the bill was an amendment that would exempt an enormous parcel of land in Everett from state laws that govern waterfront development and protect the public trust.
Federal fishery managers denied CLF’s petition to end overfishing and rebuild Atlantic cod. Now, New England fishery managers begin a third attempt to save cod.
“Every time it rains, a toxic stew is running into three of the area’s most iconic rivers,” said Caitlin Peale Sloan, Vice President of CLF Massachusetts. “We’ve repeatedly asked the EPA to clean up this pollution, but our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. It’s time for the agency to hold these large properties accountable for the constant damage they’re doing to our cherished rivers.”
The Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia is a setback, to be sure. But it is also a reminder of the importance of action at the regional, state, and local levels – action that we have been leading here in New England for more than a decade as we waited – and waited – for federal climate rules to come into play.