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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The Governor's Budget Recommendation

Executive Office of Environmental Affairs


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Executive Office of Environmental Affairs

Department of Parks and Recreation

Department of Environmental Protection

Department of Natural Resources

Executive Office of Environmental Affairs

The Executive Office of Environmental Affairs will be responsible for one of state government's most essential functions: the protection and enhancement of the Commonwealth's environmental resources for present and future generations.

The Weld/Cellucci Administration's goal of a cleaner state can only be achieved in cooperation with private industry. In pursuit of this goal, certain guiding principals must be adhered to: put the citizen first; demand measurable results from programs; rely on the private market to provide less expensive and cheaper services; and simplify the public service delivery structure.

The Office of the Secretary will continue to coordinate the priority policy issues relating to the environment, including land preservation, coastal protection, waste management, drinking water, and clean air. The Office is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act and the Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management Act, as well as overseeing the efforts of the Recycling Coordination Program. In addition, the Office operates and maintains the secretariat wide data center linking all Environmental Affairs agencies, implements coastal facility improvements, and oversees harbor planning. Through its Office of Technical Assistance, the Secretariat will continue to work towards the reduction of toxins in the work place. Through the newly created Office of Permit Coordination, the Secretary will coordinate and facilitate environmental permitting and reporting in the Commonwealth as part of the Uniform Procedures Act.

In Fiscal Year 1997, the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs will have the following objectives: In Fiscal Year 1997, the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Board and the Hazardous Waste Site Safety Council will be eliminated as separate entities. The function of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Board has been to pursue a long-term solution to the disposal of low-level radioactive waste. This function could be more efficiently performed by the Office of the Secretary and at less cost to taxpayers. Similarly, the function of the Hazardous Waste Facility Site Safety Council would be better performed at the Department of Environmental Protection, which performs similar functions and could absorb the Council's function into its existing structure.

The creation of a more consolidated organizational structure will eliminate duplicative administrative and programmatic functions throughout the Secretariat and allow for better economies of scale by basing the new departments on three broad functional definitions (i.e. parks and recreation, pollution prevention and remediation, and natural resource protection/management). These three functions were formerly performed by the Department of Environmental Management, the Metropolitan District Commission, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Environmental Law Enforcement, and the Department of Food and Agriculture.

In Fiscal Year 1997, the Secretariat and its departments will employ approximately 2,250 state-funded full-time equivalent (FTE) staff. This is relatively unchanged from Fiscal Year 1996. However, the departmental consolidations will lower the number of administrative personnel needed and increase the number of field personnel directly providing services. More personnel in the field means better environmental monitoring, public outreach, and management of natural resources and facilities.

Budget Recommendations

The amount recommended for Fiscal Year 1997 will enable the Secretariat to provide the same level of service as in Fiscal Year 1996, at less cost than in Fiscal Year 1996. The Office of Permit Coordination will be created within the Secretariat in Fiscal Year 1997 at a cost of approximately $100,000. Savings will be achieved from the consolidation of departments with similar functions; the transfer of functions to other secretariats; and the elimination of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Board and the Hazardous Waste Site Safety Council.

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Department of Parks and Recreation

The new Department of Parks and Recreation will be responsible for providing recreational opportunities to the public through a system of active-use parks and recreation facilities.

The new Department will have the following objectives for Fiscal Year 1997: Competitive contracting of the management of pools, golf courses, and the remaining state-run skating rinks of the new Department will lower costs and increase the quality of service. The savings resulting from the current program of skating rink privatization has proven that the program should be continued and expanded to include other recreational facilities.

In Fiscal Year 1997, the maintenance and upkeep responsibilities for the Metropolitan District Commission's parkways and bridges will be transferred to the new Department of Transportation in the Executive Office of Public Property. Including these parkways and bridges with others being maintained by the Department of Transportation will lower the overall cost of maintenance.

The Department of Parks and Recreation will result from the merger of some components of the Metropolitan District Commission and the Department of Environmental Management. Merging similar components of these two parks and recreation agencies will improve efficiencies and eliminate duplicative functions. Both the Metropolitan District Commission and the Department of Environmental Management currently manage pools, parks, historic sites, dams, and beaches.

Budget Recommendations

The amount recommended for Fiscal Year 1997 will allow the Department of Parks and Recreation to fulfill its mission of ensuring that Commonwealth citizens have access to a variety of recreational opportunities. Cost savings will be achieved from the consolidation of administrative services within the new Department; the continued privatization of skating rinks; the privatization of golf courses; and the elimination of the Metropolitan District Commission's Stress House, which provides mental health services for Commission employees, a function already provided in Commonwealth employee health plans.

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Department of Environmental Protection

The continuing mission of the Department of Environmental Protection is to maintain the integrity of the Commonwealth's air, water, and soil resources, with the ultimate goal of protecting public health.

To fulfill this mission, the Department administers programs that focus on pollution prevention, resource protection, and waste-site cleanup; using environmental permits and compliance inspections as the tools of implementation. In addition, the Department conducts research and analysis for the purpose of assessing the impact of pollution on people and the environment. The Department offers technical assistance, and municipal grants and loans to provide regulated companies and communities with the tools necessary for environmental compliance.

In Fiscal Year 1997, the Department has set the following objectives: Certain permitting functions currently performed by the Department of Environmental Protection will be transferred to the new Department of Licensing and Regulation in the Executive Office for Administration and Finance. The permits and licenses to be transferred, such as Mausoleum Approvals and Aquatic Herbicide Application Licenses, involve paperwork and credential verification, functions that can be better performed by the Department of Licensing and Regulation. This allows the Department of Environmental Protection to focus its resources on more technically oriented environmental compliance and enforcement issues.

Permit and regulation streamlining efforts will work towards replacing the traditional environmental permitting process with a performance-based structure that relies more on cooperative efforts between the Commonwealth and businesses. The number of permits required for businesses will be dramatically reduced, and current permitting resources will be reallocated to compliance and enforcement activities. Effective enforcement of environmental regulations is critical to ensuring the protection of public health as well as our economic competitiveness.

Budget Recommendations

The amount recommended for Fiscal Year 1997 will enable the Department to provide the same level of services as in Fiscal Year 1996. Certain permitting activities will be transferred to the new Department of Licensing and Regulation in the Executive Office for Administration and Finance. This transfer will require a shift in spending of $1,037,494 to the Department of Licensing and Regulation from the Department of Environmental Protection.

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Department of Natural Resources

The new Department of Natural Resources will manage the Commonwealth's forest and watershed lands, marine and freshwater fisheries, wildlife species, plants, and natural communities, and will regulate and promote agricultural industry.

The Department's main mission will be to ensure that the Commonwealth's natural resources are utilized and managed to the benefit of its citizens while preserving the natural beauty and variety of life in the Commonwealth.

The new Department will have the following objectives for Fiscal Year 1997: The Commonwealth's Environmental Police Officers will become Natural Resource Wardens in the new Division of Natural Resource Wardens. They will be charged with continually monitoring wildlife areas and nature preserves, educating the public on environmental issues, and enforcing the Commonwealth's natural resource protection laws. The major change from Fiscal Year 1996 is that the Natural Resource Wardens will become more interactive with the public, specifically, the recreational users of public lands and waterways.

The new Department will be a combination of the former Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Environmental Law Enforcement, the Department of Food and Agriculture, the Watershed Management portion of the Metropolitan District Commission, and those components of the Department of Environmental Management which are not part of the new Department of Parks and Recreation. By combining the functions, in whole or in part, of these former departments, the new Department will achieve a more efficient policy development and implementation structure as well as cost savings from combining departmental operations.

Budget Recommendations

The amount recommended for Fiscal Year 1997 will enable the new Department to provide the same level of service as its predecessor departments provided in Fiscal Year 1996. It is anticipated that savings will be achieved through administrative consolidations.

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