The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) plans to propose at least two regulatory proposals later this year or early next.
So-called “Regulatory Reform” Package:
MassDEP has already provided an outline of these proposals, which would make a variety of changes (some good, some terrible) in the Wetlands Protection Act Regulations. The package would also eliminate all state permitting of sewer connection and extensions, even for industrial sewer discharges containing toxic chemicals which might or might be adequately treated before being discharged into our surface waters. The formal regulatory proposals may be out for public comment as early as this fall. Please check back in a couple of months for a full explanation on what MassDEP proposes, and what you can do about it.
The Sustainable Watershed Management Initiative (SWMI)
Revisions to the Water Management Act Regulations. Restoring natural water levels in streams has probably been WAA’s number one priority. For over 2 years, conservation groups (including WAA), water suppliers , academics, and government officials have been hashing out how much water suppliers and their customers should be required to conserve when groundwater pumping causes extremely low stream levels, as it does in many southeastern Massachusetts rivers and streams. Artificially low streamflows limit the populations and the variety of species of fish and other aquatic wildlife that can survive in a water body. MassDEP’s informal proposals have left a lot to be desired, but are better than the current rules, but we don’t know yet what the formal regulatory proposals will include. Those regulatory proposals are expected at the end of 2012 or early 2013, and public input will be critical if improvements are to be made.
It is expected that other regulatory proposals will come along during the year, so please check this page often.