Cuts to state agency take toll on environmental protection

DAVID ABEL paints a shocking picture of decline at the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (“Cuts to staffing at DEP take toll,” Page A1, March 9). Due to deep budget cuts over the past decade, Abel reports, enforcement actions for serious violations have fallen by more than half, while fines collected from violators have plummeted nearly 75 percent. This means that many polluters go unpunished, and all but the worst of our air and water pollution problems go unaddressed, as the DEP scrambles to perform enforcement triage. One example near me: The DEP is taking years to get contaminated storm water to stop flowing into the federally designated wild and scenic Assabet River from MCI-Concord, just upstream of the bridge where embattled farmers fired “the shot heard round the world.” Even when the polluter is the state itself, the DEP can’t get the job done.

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Source: Boston Globe

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