The Platform of the Massachusetts Democratic
PART VIII: ENVIRONMENT, PRESERVATION & SUSTAINABLITY
Safeguarding Natural Resources.
We believe in the protection and preservation of our environment. We support
rules and incentives for safeguarding natural resources and acquisitions
of land, water and recreational resources. We believe in the value of public
parks and beaches in our Commonwealth that are clean, safe, well maintained,
and which offer a wide range of recreational choices. We support the state
transfer of land situated above the sole source aquifer which provides the
water supply to the Department of Enviromental Management. We support state
assistance for communities to protect, by purchase or conservation restriction,
threatened parcels, with a priority on riparian lands or wetlands, wildlife
habitat, and urban and semi-urban communities with little open space left.
We oppose any new efforts to drill off of our coasts in special water bodies
such as Georges Bank.
We affirm the right of every person and community to a clean, safe, and
healthy environment. We believe environmental justice must be a fundamental
component of state and federal environmental policy, and that its criteria
and standards are vital to the fair and full assessment of environmental
impacts. We give the highest priority to ensuring the health and safety
of children, elders, and immune-compromised people who are most in need
of protection from environmental harms. We support the development of new,
stronger standards for siting pollution-emitting facilities that take account
of the cumulative health impacts of pollution sources already present in
a neighborhood or region.
We know the scientific evidence for global climate change is clear and incontrovertible,
and we recognize the human, environmental, and economic risk it poses. We
call on our society, including specifically our businesses and industries,
and our state, and our federal government to take immediate and pro-active
steps to prevent the harmful impacts of rising global temperatures on the
people of the Commonwealth and our environment. We advocate specific targets
for the reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide and other climate change
gases, including reducing carbon dioxide emissions from our dirtiest power
plants by 75%, producing 20% of our state’s energy from renewable energy
sources by 2010, and doubling energy efficiency of our homes, buildings
and industry with a focus on energy efficiency in state buildings. We support
the aggressive implementation of the state’s utility deregulation law alternative
energy fund provisions and other state and federal renewable energy incentives.
Smart Growth and Discouraging Sprawl.
We seek policies that encourage smart and sustainable land uses, and which
discourage the poorly planned, landand automobile-intensive pattern of development
known as sprawl. We support thoughtful approaches to development that promote
economic prosperity while limiting environmental impacts, like overuse of
already diminished water supplies, and improving quality of life through
shorter commutes and closer-knit, more livable communities. We encourage
new growth and jobs in already-developed areas that have the infrastructure,
such as public transportation, in place to support them without undue environmental
consequences. We strongly support the state’s Interbasin Transfer Act, preventing
major diversions of water from one watershed to another, and oppose wasteful
taxpayer subsidies for projects that exacerbate sprawl and its associated
Solid Waste and Pollution Prevention.
We support continued efforts to prevent pollution in the first place as
the best means of limiting toxic and solid waste. We advocate an approach
in which the state’s wastes will be stored, treated, and disposed of in
ways that prevent harm to people and the environment.
Toxics Use Reductions and Right-to-Know.
We strongly support the state’s Toxics Use Reduction Law and other Right-to-Know
measures that help protect public and worker health while encouraging reduced
use of environmentally hazardous materials. We advocate expanded disclosure
with respect to highly toxic substances like lead and mercury and pesticides.
Hazardous Waste Cleanup.
We advocate the full cleanup and redevelopment of hazardous waste sites,
and the targeting of state Brownfields Act dollars to poorer and urban areas.
We support a strong Superfund program that continues to make polluters and
economic beneficiaries of the pollution, not taxpayers, pay for the comprehensive
cleanup of toxic waste sites. We believe that community members deserve
greater input into the cleanup of toxic waste sites in their neighborhoods,
and that hazardous waste sites must be cleaned up completely, permanently,
We believe in the right of all residents of the Commonwealth to drinking
water that is clean and safe to drink. Effective protection of America’s
rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers and coastal and ocean waters will sustain
fish, plants and wildlife as well as recreational, subsistence, and economic
activities. We support the State Revolving Loan Fund for drinking water
and wastewater projects, and a strong Coastal Zone Management program to
ensure the vitality of coastal communities and industries. We advocate aggressive
implementation of The Beaches Act, and the addition of the Massachusetts
Bay as an Ocean Sanctuary and enhanced enforcement of the Ocean Sanctuaries
We believe in the right of all residents of the Commonwealth to air that
is clean and safe to breathe. We call on the state to continue to lead with
a Clean Air Act that is more stringent than federal law, and we recognize
benefits to both environment and the public health, such as those with respect
to children, the elderly, and other people with respiratory ailments like
asthma. We must follow through on the commitment to clean up the state’s
older, dirtier coal and oil-fired plants through a four pollutant approach
that achieves reductions in carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides,
and mercury consistent with levels to protect the public and environment.
We strongly advocate increased renewable energy and efficiency programs.
Reduced Vehicle Emissions.
We recognize the need to reduce tailpipe pollution from automobiles, trucks
and buses, and we advocate retaining the state’s current commitment to adopt
the California automobile emission requirements. We support increasing transportation
choices that foster public transportation, and we strongly endorse innovative
proposals to limit emissions from air traffic.
Food Safety, Pesticides and Public Health.
We advocate strong laws and policies to assure that the food we eat is free
from environmental contaminants like unsafe pesticide residues. We support
efforts to reduce pesticide use through integrated pest management and the
swift implementation of the Children’s Protection Act assuring advance notification
to those most likely being exposed to pesticides used on lawns, for landscaping
and at schools. We believe state and federal regulatory agencies should
pay especially close attention to pollutants that have a direct impact on
our families’ health, with a particular emphasis on regulating mercury,
arsenic, pesticides, and lead.
Environmental Law Enforcement.
We believe it is a basic responsibility of government to ensure that all
laws enacted to protect our environment are obeyed and enforced. We support
more frequent inspections, vigorous enforcement, penalties sufficiently
high to take away any economic incentive to disobey the law, and earmarking
a portion of such penalties for environmental cleanup.
Federal/State Cooperation and Compliance Assistance.
We applaud the cooperative partnership programs established between state
and federal environmental protection agencies, which maximize efficiency
and ensure consistency in the enforcement of environmental regulations.
We support efforts to provide education and assistance to business, universities,
hospitals and industry to enable them to comply with regulations and go
beyond compliance. We support an aggressive program to work with these sectors
to foster environmental management systems within their facilities.
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