Environmental Initiatives, Projects in the 4th Essex District
The unique characters of our communities are comprised of two precious resources: the people who make up the fabric of our neighborhoods and the natural beauty of our environment. Our environment is an irreplaceable resource.
Toward that end, I have worked hard with many partners and agencies on open space preservation to ensure that hundreds of acres of pristine lands here in Essex County are preserved. Properties like the Willowdale State Forest land acquisition, the acquisition of Sagamore Hill in Ipswich and Hamilton and the Doni Bristle farm located in Topsfield. I am happy that we have given the lasting gift of open space to our future generations.
Through the budget process, I have worked to secure adequate funding for our Rivers Way Program, the State’s Safe Drinking Water Program and increased funding for the State’s Division of Conservation and Recreation, which oversees our State Park System. We have some of the most beautiful state parks in Bradley Palmer and Willowdale, and I have worked tirelessly to ensure that they remain in immaculate condition. Additionally, I supported the Water Infrastructure bill as well the Environmental Bond Bill which authorized millions of dollars for key environmental programs.
During the multitude of storms over the last few years, many of our communities’ rivers have been adversely affected because of collapsed culverts. By reaching out to our federal and state agencies I was able to secure over $2 million in grants to help rebuild these heavily damaged culverts to maintain the health of our river system.
“The Great Marsh” within the boundaries of our 4th Essex district is one of our greatest environmental resources. According to the Great Marsh Coalition, “the North Shore's Great Marsh is the largest continuous stretch of Salt Marsh in New England, extending from Cape Ann to New Hampshire. The Great Marsh includes over 20,000 acres of marsh, barrier beach, tidal river, estuary, mudflat, and upland islands extending across the Massachusetts North Shore from Gloucester to Salisbury. In recognition of these extraordinary resources, a portion of this area was designated by the state in 1979 as the Parker River/Essex Bay Area of Critical Environmental Concern.”
When it was brought to my attention from those involved with the Great Marsh that an invasive species known as the “Green Crab” was causing severe damage, I felt compelled to protect our ecological wonder. Working with state and local officials, as well as members of the clamming industry and the Great Marsh Coalition, I was able to secure over $200,000 in grants for affected communities to trap these crabs and help restore damage done to the Great Marsh.
In addition to natural and environmental resources that require protection and preservation, the procurement of clean energy is something that is essential to ensuring clean air. I have been meeting with many groups and advocates throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to gain knowledge of this very important issue. Toward that end, I supported the Solar Net Metering Bill, the Energy Diversity Bill and the 2012 Energy Bill, all with the goal of ensuring clean energy here in Massachusetts Additionally, in 2016, I worked with my partners across the aisle to implement a rebate for electric vehicle purchases in the Commonwealth.
As someone who has suffered from environmentally-caused cancer, the environment is an issue that has personally affected me. I will continue to partner with federal, state and local officials along with many of our friends like the Essex County Greenbelt and Trustees of Reservation to guarantee a healthy place for our citizens to live for decades to come.