Mass. Now Able to Take Steps to Clean Up State’s Rivers
Following a lawsuit by environmental groups, a long-awaited federal storm-water permit went into effect for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on July 1st. The permit requires municipalities to take additional steps to protect rivers, lakes, streams and ponds from polluted storm water runoff.
Contaminated storm water is the biggest pollution problem in the Mystic River and Merrimack Valley watershed.
At stake was a permit system (MS4) which was originally supposed to take effect in July 2017. Two days before its effective date, EPA director Scott Pruitt unilaterally delayed implementing the permit for another year even though it was already 10 years overdue. A coalition of nine watershed associations led by the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance sued the EPA, arguing that Pruitt’s action was illegal, undermined protections to the environment, and put the health of Massachusetts residents and water bodies at risk.
Faced with the coalition’s lawsuit, the EPA chose not to further delay the permit’s implementation, and on July 1, 2018, allowed the storm-water permit to go into effect. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey also had urged EPA in a court-filed brief to end its delay.
“This is a significant victory for the watersheds,″ said Patrick Herron, Executive Director at the Mystic River Watershed Association, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. “During a time when environmental protections are under wholesale attack, I am proud that we were able to defend a strong, consensus storm water standard. I look forward to working with municipalities, agencies, landowners and communities to further improve water quality and decrease public health risks.”
“Pruitt’s delay of Massachusetts’ MS4 permit was part of the Trump Administration’s pattern of rolling back and delaying environmental protections put in place by the prior administration,” said Julia Blatt, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. “We were concerned that if we did not challenge this illegal delay, the EPA would have been emboldened to simply continue it once it was due to expire.”
The revised MS4 permit requires towns to update their storm-water management plans, monitor outfall pipes, and prioritize cleanup of the most pressing problems, such as the discharge of untreated sewage into nearby waterways via storm drains. The permit also requires public outreach, storm water recharge, and “good housekeeping” practices such as storm drain cleaning and street sweeping.
Moulton will be missed
The fishing industry will be very sad to learn of the passing of the legendary Kay M. Moulton, from cancer. This fishing icon opened a small shop called Surfland Bait and Tackle on Plum Island in 1960 and soon it expanded and Kay became the best authority for fishermen anywhere on the beach.
I have called Kay Moulton for fishing reports for well over 30 years and have visited her shop for some 40-plus years. She was always armed with a smile and often her response was we have fish. Stop by when you have a minute. I would stop and she gave me a ton of info and a few times fixed my broken rod tip like it was never broken.
I once asked her about her fishing. She told me something interesting. “I love to walk the beach. I might pick up a rock or a shell but I don’t fish.”
She was an amazing person that every fisherman could count on for information. A celebration of Kay’s Life will be held at a later date.
The Massachusetts archery deer season got a little longer in zone 10 to 14 starting this fall. The added two weeks will give the season a kick start on October 1, and run right up until the shotgun season.
The reason for this is the deer population is well above the 10-18 per square mile limit the state biologists want for the land in that area. Some spots have deer populations greater than 50 per square mile but gaining access has always been a problem. The deer population has grown so much in some areas that even those die-hard people are starting to open their land to archery hunters.
Deer hunters are reminded you have until tomorrow (Monday, July 16) to get your application for an antlerless deer permit in the mail or you will be left out until next year or have to wait for leftover tags.
Bill Biswanger’s email is email@example.com