Stellwagen National Marine Sanctuary -- Senator Kennedy played a key role in the establishment of the Stellwagen National Marine Sanctuary to protect fragile fisheries from energy drilling. Kennedy worked closely with Gerry Studds, who sponsored the legislation, and helped ensure passage of the bill in the Senate. Established in 1992, the Stellwagen National Marine Sanctuary put in place protections for our waters that never before existed.
Georges Bank Energy Drilling -- In 1975, Senator Kennedy sponsored legislation to provide direct environmental planning and financial assistance to Massachusetts and other coastal areas that were facing the possibility of offshore oil and gas drilling. Two years later, Kennedy began what would be a successful three decade-long effort to maintain the statutory moratorium on oil and gas leasing and drilling activities in Georges Bank altogether. The moratorium, which Kennedy kept alive through multiple pieces of legislation and amendments to Interior Appropriations measures, served to protect both the environment and the area’s fishing industry.
Buzzards Bay National Estuary -- When the National Estuary program was established in 1985, Senator Kennedy helped make sure that Buzzards Bay was one of the 21 bodies of water designated as nationally significant estuaries. Under the program, communities and non-profits are eligible for federal funds to help develop comprehensive conservation and management plans for the waterways. In 1993, and again in 1995, Senator Kennedy successfully secured $400,000 (total of $800,000) in federal assistance for the clean-up of the bay.
Ship Safety/Buzzards Bay Oil Spill -- In 1992, Senator Kennedy helped pass legislation that included a directive to the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge Chatham and Provincetown harbors in order to promote greater safety for fishing vessels, who before had to navigate the harbor approaches only during high tide.
In April of 2003, a barge released 98,000 gallons of fuel oil into Buzzards Bay, creating an environmental disaster. That same year, Senator Kennedy called on the Coast Guard to create stricter regulations for navigation through the Cape Cod Canal and Buzzards Bay to prevent a similar disaster in the future. Kennedy’s proposed recommendations included requiring barges passing through the bay with hazardous cargo to use Automatic Identification System technology that allows them to be easily tracked; clarifying ambiguous chart listings that could compromise safety; moving traffic lanes for hazardous cargo further offshore; and requiring single-hulled vessels to be escorted by a second tugboat.
Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge -- Established in 1995, the Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge was created to protect and preserve natural resources associated with the Waquoit Bay area for the protection of waterfowl and other wildlife. Senator Kennedy was a supporter of the Refuge, and in 1997, he helped secure over $300,000 to complete the purchase of the Bufflehead Bay tract and its wildlife habitat that serves as a stopping point on the Atlantic Flyway for thousands of shorebirds, as well as a base for many other species of waterfowl and fish.
Monomoy Island -- In 1970, Congress passed Senator Kennedy’s bill to designate Monomoy Island as a national wilderness area, seeking to preserve the 2,600 acre island in its natural state. Prior to Kennedy’s bill, the island had been managed as a wildlife refuge.
Herring River Restoration -- Senator Kennedy helped secure $500,000 to assist the Town of Wellfleet in the acquisition of the Herring River property, the largest wetland protection project in the Commonwealth, and he has another $1.5 million pending. When completed, the Herring River Restoration will return the tidal flow to 1,100 acres of prime salt marsh. The Herring River Restoration project is partnership effort headed by the Town of Wellfleet and the Nature Conservancy, which made this project one of its highest priorities for Massachusetts.
Bass River -- Senator Kennedy worked with Rep. Delahunt to secure $1.4 million to support land conservation efforts along the Bass River and to support the development of the Waterfront Gateway Park. When completed, the Waterfront Gateway Park will integrate the Dennis waterfront and the village center. This project is a compliment to the Packetts Landing property situated on the Yarmouth side of the Bass River, which Kennedy and Delahunt secured $1 million to purchase in 1997 and transform into a public park.
Sandy Neck Barrier Beach -- Senator Kennedy helped secure nearly $1 million in federal funding to purchase and restore the coastal dunes and barrier beaches comprising the Sandy Neck and Barnstable Marsh area. This funding will enable the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to buy 75 acres of beachfront land within the Sandy Neck Barrier Beach wetland complex.
Muddy River -- Senator Kennedy worked to establish the Muddy River flood control and environmental restoration project, which is designed to remove decades of sedimentation and improve the natural drainage capability of the Muddy River to reduce environmental pollutants and the likelihood of costly and damaging flooding. In 1996, after powerful rainstorms, the Muddy River flooded and caused tens of millions of damages to businesses, the T, and area residences. To date, Senator Kennedy has secured more than $15 million for this project.
Massasoit National Wildlife Refuge -- Senator Kennedy helped obtain $575,000 to enable the Massasoit National Wildlife Refuge to acquire ecologically sensitive properties. With this funding, the US Fish and Wildlife Service added more than 10 acres of property and another 1,300 feet of coastal plain pond shore to Massasoit.
Assabet River Consortium -- Senator Kennedy worked with the Assabet River Consortium and the delegation to secure $300,000 to develop a plan to determine the best method of lowering the harmful sedimentation of phosphorous that is undermining the health of the river. The Assabet River’s 31-mile route runs through nine towns – Concord, Maynard, Acton, Stow, Hudson, Marlborough, Berlin, Northborough, and Westborough.
Land Preservation in Holden and Rutland -- Senator Kennedy worked with the Trust for Public Land and the towns of Holden and Rutland to secure $400,000 to acquire and protect the ecologically sensitive Muschopauge Brook property. This funding will enable the protection of up to 215 acres along a 1.7-mile section of the Muschopauge Brook. The land is part of the Nashua River Watershed
Senator Kennedy joined the Trust for Public Land, the Nashoba Conservation Trust, the Nissitissit River Land Trust, and Rep. John Olver in securing $1.38 million in federal funding to preserve and protect the Belmont Springs property. The Belmont Springs property, a 265-acre parcel, was the State’s top priority for funding through the US Forest Service’s Forest Legacy program.
Connecticut River Clean-Up -- Senator Kennedy has worked with the Western Massachusetts and Connecticut Congressional delegations and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission to secure badly needed federal funding to complete millions of dollars of sewer improvement projects in order to reduce pollution in the Connecticut River.
New Bedford Harbor Superfund Site Clean-up -- Senator Kennedy has worked for years to clean-up the 18,000-acre New Bedford Superfund site, which is located in a tidal estuary. The area’s sediments are highly contaminated with PCBs. Despite its listing as a Superfund site more than a quarter of a century ago, inadequate resources have been budgeted to complete this important project. Senator Kennedy urged that funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act be used for the clean-up, and in April 2009, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that up to $35 million of such funds will be available for the project.
Safe Drinking Water Act -- Senator Kennedy supported the bill that provides federal assistance to help communities meet Safe Drinking Water requirements.
Housatonic River in Pittsfield – For several years, Senator Kennedy led the fight to push GE to clean up toxic waste in the Housatonic River. Working with the City of Pittsfield and Mayor Gerry Doyle, the Housatonic River and the City of Pittsfield saw enormous progress towards protecting this environmental asset, while laying the groundwork for future economic development.
Brownfields -- Senator Kennedy is an original co-sponsor of the Brownfields and Environmental Cleanup Act of 1999, which give EPA grants to encourage the clean-up of thousands of toxic sites across the country. Former industrial communities like New Bedford, Fairhaven, Worcester and Lawrence have benefited greatly from this grant funding.
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