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Democratic Party Platform

The Platform of the Massachusetts Democratic Party

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.

Environmental Justice.

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.

Climate Change.

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 problems.

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, and safely.

Clean Water.

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 Act.

Clean Air.

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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