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Statement: Groups applaud environmental agency decision to revisit Solid Waste Master Plan
DEP announcement comes after months of pressure from several organizations
BOSTON -- In a move celebrated by several major environmental, grassroots and public interest organizations, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced Thursday that they would re-open the public hearing process on the draft 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan, the Commonwealth’s blueprint for dealing with waste. After the initial hearings ended in December without sufficient public outreach, the groups started pushing for the public hearings to be reopened; through direct advocacy, letters, emails and grassroots organizing.
The groups involved in the effort to get more public input said the following:
Janet Domenitz, Director, Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG):
“Massachusetts should move from a “Solid Waste” plan to a “Zero Waste” plan, and we think the public wants that. But the public didn’t get a fair opportunity to say so in the fall. We are glad DEP heard our request for more public input in this hugely important plan to tackle our huge waste problem.”
Claire Miller, Lead Community Organizer, Toxics Action Center: “Our organization works with community groups and residents who suffer everyday from the pollution that results from landfills, incinerators, and other disposal of trash. We need the voices from the frontline to be front and center in this Solid Waste plan, and we are heartened the DEP responded to our request for this opportunity.”
Elizabeth Saunders, Massachusetts Director, Clean Water Action: “It’s critical that environmental justice be prioritized in each and every environmental policy the state enacts, and that members of marginalized communities have a meaningful voice in the creation of policies that affect them. The fact that the DEP will re-open the public hearings around the Solid Waste Plan in large part to consider environmental justice voices demonstrates that our request was heard.”
Kirstie Pecci, Conservation Law Foundation: “Massachusetts is filling up landfills and fueling polluting incinerators across New England. We need to turn this around, and the Solid Waste Master Plan could be how we do that. However, the public hearing process in the fall was not sufficient to get us there. I’m glad the DEP abided by our request for more public input to the Plan. I think it will make all the difference.”
Every ten years, the DEP is required by law to issue a ten-year Solid Waste Master Plan, which serves as a blueprint for the Commonwealth's waste policies. The Commonwealth’s plan for how we reduce, reuse, recycle, and dispose of waste is guided by this document.
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