Usually, I sit down to write these pieces knowing what I want to say because something has been bugging me or a topic seems ripe. Today I have struggled a bit to focus, not because there isn’t anything to talk about, but perhaps because there is so much that APCC is working on. While there are some bad things brewing (like the National Guard’s determination to pursue construction of a machine gun range despite overwhelming public opposition–stand by for more from us on this one), there are an unusual number of positive initiatives on the horizon that offer great hope for environmental progress.
The federal infrastructure discussion offers the prospect of substantial support for clean water projects and environmental restoration efforts on Cape Cod.
Massachusetts will begin implementation of a wide-ranging climate bill that just last week became law. We can expect to see major investment in alternative energy technologies that will help the Cape meet its net -zero goals and funds to help us deal with and mitigate the impacts of climate change on our natural resources.
At APCC’s urging, Barnstable County is preparing changes to its septic loan program to provide more meaningful financial assistance to homeowners who will be connecting to public wastewater infrastructure that is finally moving forward in many of our towns.
Towns are moving their wastewater programs forward with Mashpee being the next to consider construction of the first wastewater treatment plant that will enable the town to clean its polluted waterways.
The Cape and Islands Water Protection Trust, which APCC was instrumental in helping to create, is expected in April to award tens of millions of dollars to towns from one end of the Cape to the other to offset the cost of clean water projects. This funding offsets, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, local property tax charges to residents and fulfills the promise of financial relief so needed to allow these projects to move forward.
As with any attempt to make a list I am sure I have left some things out, but the point stands: We have an opportunity to get a lot of good things done right now. None of it happens, though, unless we all stay on top of the things that are important to us and show up and do the work. Read your town meeting warrants, assess the candidates for office and use your voice. We have a lot to do.