The Senate on Thursday passed a $36.38 billion balanced budget for the 2015 fiscal year, including significant initiatives for the Cape and Islands, reports Cape and Islands Senator Dan Wolf (D-Harwich).
Among them, the budget includes $300,000 to fund the coastal water quality monitoring program in Cape Cod Bay, Vineyard Sound, Nantucket Sound and Buzzards Bay. The program is overseen by the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, the Marine Biological Laboratory, the Buzzards Bay Coalition, and the University of Massachusetts Boston. The program was first established in the FY14 budget.
“One of our generation’s most important challenges, and responsibilities, is to restore the health of our bays and marine environment,” said Wolf. “But unless we truly understand where we are environmentally, we can’t prove that our efforts are accomplishing the results we want, or make sure investments in our common future are well made. This program builds the crucial foundation for that effort.”
“The Cape experiences threatening levels of nitrogen pollution in its waters, and this funding will help the region to continue to identify areas where wastewater is a concern,” said Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth). “It’s important that we consistently monitor the water quality of our bays and move towards finding the best solutions to this pressing environmental concern, which is a direct threat to the Cape’s economy and thriving tourism industry.”
“Understanding trends in coastal water quality is absolutely critical to protecting the environment and economy of southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod,” said Mark Rasmussen, President of Buzzards Bay Coalition. It also ensures that public dollars for water protection are spent efficiently on areas most in need of restoration. We are very grateful to Senate President Murray and Senator Wolf for recognizing this important need and sponsoring this amendment.”
The budget will now move to a conference committee with the House to produce a final budget that will go to Governor Deval Patrick for his consideration. The new fiscal year begins July 1.
For more information on the FY 2015 budget, visit https://malegislature.gov/Budget/FY2015/Senate.