Bill has long been a champion for environmental conservation. In the face of a changing climate, he believes is critical to invest in both conservation and coastal restoration initiatives.
While serving in the Massachusetts legislature, Bill wrote and passed safe water legislation that continues to protect our state’s fragile lakes, streams, and wetlands from chemical pollution. He is committed to protecting the diverse ecosystems of Massachusetts’s Ninth Congressional District with the same passion. By permanently addressing key sources of pollution and encouraging ‘green’ habits, like recycling, we will be able to reduce our carbon footprint. For a coastal district like ours where one of our main economic engines is tourism, this is critical.
Wastewater management, specifically on Cape Cod, remains a crucial concern. The Cape’s ongoing fight continues against the presence of nitrogen and other toxic agents that filter into the aquifer from septic systems, wastewater treatment facilities, and storm water drains and out into the estuaries, wetlands, and waters. We see the results of high nitrogen levels in large algal blooms, known as Red tide; strong odors; and depletions in fish and other marine life populations.
In order to address these challenges, Bill helped establish a new initiative, the Southern New England Estuary Program, to provide assistance and resources to municipalities, organizations, and communities in tackling these issues. Together with his regional colleagues, he was proud to secure millions in federal funding for this essential program.
He is also a staunch supporter of the federal Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, which help finance much-needed improvements to wastewater treatment systems, combat stormwater runoff, and improving drinking water. In 2015, Massachusetts received over $47 million and $16 million in Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, respectively. Annually, the Commonwealth leverages this funding up to $400 million in water quality improvements state-wide.
The Ninth Congressional District is one of the largest coastal districts in the United States. It is vital that we protect our coastlines and the Cape Cod National Seashore from both environmental and manmade disasters, like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. As a member of the Sustainable Energy & Environment Caucus and House Oceans Caucus, Bill opposes offshore drilling and supports legislative initiatives that ensure both government and private industry preparedness in the face of a future environmental disaster. He also supports raising the liability cap on oil companies so that if disaster were to strike again, the federal taxpayer wouldn’t be left holding the bag.
Bill has successfully secured millions of federal financing to preserve coastal wetlands on Cape Cod, the South Shore, and South Coast, and to restore waterways in the district. Each year, he leads the fight to preserve funding for critical federal conservation programs to protect coastal and marine habitats through locally-drive projects, as well as to preserve coastal wetland buffer zones, which keep communities resilient and benefit fish and wildlife. Because of his leadership on coastal restoration efforts and support for the federal conservation programs, Bill received a leadership award from Restore America’s Estuaries.
Further, Bill is a strong supporter of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has helped state agencies and local communities acquire land, develop project sites in popular recreational areas, and protect national forests and wildlife areas. And, he recognizes the many advancements made due to the groundbreaking work of Southeastern Massachusetts’ academic community. Bill has continually supported our scientific community in their efforts to investigate and find solutions to our local challenges. In particular, he has consistently fought for funding to research and combat the cause and consequences of harmful algal blooms and hypoxia, including through legislation and grant applications.
Finally, Bill recognizes the direct link between the health of the Commonwealth’s ecosystems and environment and the health of our economy. There are 15 national parks in Massachusetts that attract millions of tourists each year –and account for millions in generated revenue. Bill is a strong supporter of the National Park Service, which includes the Cape Cod National Seashore and the New Bedford Whaling Museum and Park. With over four million visitors a year, the Cape Cod National Seashore is one of the most heavily visited units in the National Park system.