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Energy and Environmental Investments
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FY09 House 2 Budget Recommendation:
Issues in Brief
Deval L. Patrick, Governor
Timothy P. Murray, Lt. Governor
Governor Patrick's budget provides targeted investments for a cleaner and safer environment. The FY09 budget includes additional resources to improve our state parks, reduce global warming, eliminate hazardous mercury by-products and protect endangered species and habitat.
Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Investment Proposal
Massachusetts has been a leader in publicly owned parks, forests and beaches. Massachusetts is home to the nation's 6th largest state parks system, the first state run bathing beach (1896), the first metropolitan park system (1893), the first playground (1868) and the first public common (1634). In the past year we have made significant progress in restoring Massachusetts as a leader, but there is more work to be done to improve maintenance and operations, provide accountability to the park-going public and capitalize on partnerships with volunteer groups.
Governor Patrick's FY09 budget recommends the highest funding level for DCR since the creation of the agency in 2004. Building upon management reforms instituted by Governor Patrick, the FY09 budget recommends $100.6M in funding for DCR as well as the consolidation of accounts and the long-term leasing of certain department assets. This investment will provide new park rangers for educational programs and public safety patrols at campgrounds, parks and forests. In addition, the FY09 budget dedicates additional resources statewide for conservation and maintenance of cultural, natural and recreational resources. These actions, in combination with the Administration's increased investment of capital funds, sets Massachusetts on the road to again delivering top quality recreational opportunities at our parks, forests and beaches.
Consolidation of Program Funding
The Governor's FY09 budget consolidates multiple accounts within the DCR to focus the agency on its core mission of protecting recreational assets, parks, and beaches. The FY09 consolidation of accounts and targeted investments allows DCR to fulfill Governor Patrick's promise of safe, clean and accessible parks and beaches.
The consolidation of line items allows the department ultimate flexibility to continue with reforms that have resulted in improved management of these important recreational and natural resources. Governor Patrick's proposed consolidation plan preserves organizational structures that allow for effective management of parks, forests and beaches located within both the Metropolitan Boston area and statewide. The consolidation, in combination with the investment, will allow DCR to focus more resources towards conservation and management while expanding opportunities for new educational programs and recreational opportunities.
Department of Fish and Game - Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Investment Proposal
The Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program is responsible for collecting biological data, restoring rare species populations, reviewing environmental impacts, permitting and habitat restoration and protection. Many of these functions are mandated by statute or regulation and are essential tools for guiding science-based resource protection, including land protection. Since being cut from the operating budget during the last fiscal crisis, this program has relied on an uncertain patchwork of federal funds, fee revenue, and bond proceeds to support the core staffing necessary to protect and manage species-at-risk, especially endangered species. Governor Patrick's investment of $250K is a prudent, fiscally responsible measure that stabilizes funding for this program. The Governor's $250K appropriation (line item 2310-0300) is a significant step towards ensuring that our natural resources are protected by the best qualified scientists, without worry of inconsistent funding from federal reimbursements.
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) - Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and Mercury Management
Governor Patrick's administration has taken a leadership role in state and regional efforts to address the challenge of climate change. The FY09 budget invests four new staff members and additional resources in line item 2200-0100 towards these efforts, including participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is a cooperative effort by Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to reduced emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global climate change. The Administration is participating in the development of a regional strategy for controlling emissions that includes a market-based, multi-state cap-and-trade program that will require electric power generators to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide. Additional costs associated with running auctions of emissions allowances and monitoring compliance are expected to be covered by a portion of auction proceeds.
Signed into law in 2006, the Mercury Management Act requires the collection and disposal of mercury containing products, bans the disposal of products containing mercury in trash, and mandates that schools not purchase mercury containing instructional equipment and materials, unless a substitute does not exist. Mercury is a toxic metal that is especially hazardous to children, causing nervous system damage that can be painful and debilitating. In FY09, Governor Patrick invests additional resources at DEP (line item 2200-0100) to oversee the removal and management of mercury in our environment. The Governor's investment of four additional staff will further strengthen the department's capacity to protect the Commonwealth's children.
Massachusetts Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund
Faced with the insecurity of foreign oil, the economic impact of $100 a barrel prices, and the threat of global climate change, Massachusetts businesses and residents can no longer afford our dependence on fossil fuels. With the most skilled workforce in the nation, an edge in technological innovation, leading public and private research capacity and entrepreneurial strength, Massachusetts is in a unique position to lead the way toward an independent, clean energy future. In 2006, Massachusetts was second only to California in the amount of venture capital - a quarter billion dollars - invested in clean energy technology. With 14,440 jobs and over 550 clean energy technology companies already operating in Massachusetts, targeted investments in our clean energy economy will continue to solidify our state's competitive edge in this growing economic sector.
In FY09, Governor Patrick recommends $20 million for the Massachusetts Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund, funded through the Bay State Competitiveness and Investment Trust Fund, to stimulate the clean energy economy in Massachusetts. This fund will focus on two main priorities:
- Biofuels: Massachusetts is poised to be a national and international leader in the next generation of transportation fuels. The Commonwealth can foster the development of cutting-edge technology companies that are poised to lead the world toward renewable fuels that we don't drill for, but grow or recycle. Massachusetts has the capacity to be a national leader in R&D and commercialization of these renewable alternatives to petroleum through targeted economic investments in local technology companies and colleges and universities, as well as the agricultural and forestry communities, to promote emerging clean technologies. The Administration has estimated that nearly 3,000 clean energy jobs would be created by developing an advanced biofuels industry here in the Commonwealth.
- Green Communities: The fund will also focus on implementing the Green Communities program envisioned by the comprehensive energy reform legislation passed by the House and Senate. The program will ensure that municipalities maximize energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities that cut energy costs, reduce pollution and create new jobs. Strategic investments from this fund will be used to help cities and towns develop plans to meet the aggressive goals set forth in the landmark energy legislation.
Other Reform Initiatives
The Governor's FY09 budget recommends the long-term leasing of the Ponkapoag Golf Course (Outside Section 32). The private entity that enters into the leasing of this public resource will manage the general operations of the facility. Leasing the Ponkapoag Golf Course will augment the department's ability to dedicate financial and administrative resources to parks and beaches while ensuring high quality recreational opportunities for the public. Additionally with leasing, financial and administrative resources will be freed so that the department may focus on its core mission of conservation, recreation, and education throughout the Commonwealth's parks, forests and beaches.
Prepared by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance • Rooms 373 & 272 • State House
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