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To the Editor:
As President of the Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers and Scientists (MOSES) and an environmental engineer at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for over 30 years, I know how important good environmental policy is to a healthy and productive community. Without it, the damage to public health and our natural resources is enormous. The costs are especially high for our children and our grandchildren who will pay the price years down the road. In the race for State Rep, there is one candidate who has failed to support basic funding for environmental precautions and one who will work hard to protect clean air and water for the 9th Essex district.
Donald Wong’s opposition to funding in this year’s budget for the Department of Environmental Protection is short sighted. His vote to support the Governor’s veto and cut $ 1.5 million from DEP’s budget would have detrimental impacts to the environment.
The DEP performs many basic, quality-of-life services to the people of Massachusetts, like ensuring clean air and water, watershed planning and protection, the safe management of toxics waste, enforcing environmental laws, reducing solid waste, the timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The cost of letting people get sick and nature to be damaged, then trying to fix a problem is far greater than simply preventing harm to the environment. We learned that lesson with the clean-up of Boston Harbor.
Similarly, his opposition to funding enforcement efforts by the DEP lacks foresight into the serious environmental damage that can occur as a result of lax enforcement. DEP regularly interfaces with municipalities and businesses to provide guidance on complying with laws and implementing best management practices. The short term savings of inadequate funding allows polluters to go unpunished for longer, and allows them to cause more damage before they are stopped. Jen Migliore supports legislation for the protection of the public and the environment. This includes regulation that require restaurants to properly dispose of grease instead of dumping it down the drain. This regulation prevents damage to our sewer infrastructure, which otherwise would need more frequent repair at great expense to the public as a whole.
Wongs opposition to funding for riverway protection robs the public of recreational access to clean marshes and waterways in the district, like the Rumney Marsh, the Saugus River basin home to some of the most treasured wildlife in the area. Migliore also supports funding Wakefield’s rail trail program and the protection of Lynn Woods for future generations.
However, Jen’s most powerful environmental stance is her unflinching opposition to the expansion of Wheelabrator’s ash landfill in Saugus. This landfill was supposed to be closed and sealed in 1996, but has continued to grow higher and higher. Currently, there is a 90 foot tall pile of burnt trash filled with mercury, lead, and other heavy metals which are known to cause cancer, especially as fine particulate matter like ash. This landfill does not have a modern plastic liner, only a small retaining wall. Jen’s understanding of the serious environmental risks associated with the landfill expansion, particularly concerning the expansion’s potential impacts on the adjacent Rumney Marsh, an area of critical environmental concern, is encouraging.
It is time for the many communities who burn their trash and leave their residue in Saugus to find a more appropriate location to dispose the additional ash waste.
The 9th Essex district deserves a representative who will preserve the environment for future generations and protect the public from the dangers of pollution. There’s only one person running who can handle such an important job: Jen Migliore
Joe Dorant President of MOSES