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7/31/07 – Legislature Rolls Back Tidelands Protection


Waterfront and Tidelands
Tidelands and waterfront areas are important to the environment and the economy. Public vigilance and effective legal safeguards are vital to the wise stewardship of these sensitive lands.

The Massachusetts public trust doctrine states that public benefit must result from development of tidelands. Water-dependent uses are given priority over non-water-dependent uses. And filling of tidelands does not extinguish the public’s rights. There are also special environmental sensitivities that justify protection of tidelands. Meaningful public involvement has proven to be a critical element of protecting the environment and ensuring appropriate public benefits from development.

Laws such as Chapter 91, the Massachusetts Public Waterfront Act, have been under attack from real estate interests for the past few years. The recent Moot decision by the Supreme Judicial Court said that DEP erred in not requiring Chapter 91 licenses for construction on filled tideland. This intensified attempts to roll back Chapter 91. But there is growing recognition that Chapter 91 is a valuable tool for protecting our sensitive coastline, and that it needs to be made more effective – not rolled back. The articles on this page provide history and perspective on tideland and waterfront protection.

The NorthPoint development in Cambridge and Somerville
map of NorthPoint location
· Gov. Patrick Turns My Hope into Alarm
· Devel czar feted at NorthPoint law firm
· Local legislators tell Patrick: Don’t Weaken Waterfront Protections
· Patrick bill paves way for vast E. Cambridge project
· Patrick bill would help project that had employed 2 aides
· Deval says coast is clear: After court ruling, gov moves to aid projects
· Developers Ducked Needed Permit, says Court – State’s New Permitting Chief was Attorney for Developers
· 2006 Attack on the Public Waterfront Act: Globe Editorial

Text of Legislation
H4184 – House tideland bill passed 7/26/07
S2309 – Senate tideland bill passed 7/31/07

Other Resources
· New Tidelands Bill (H3757), 7/25/07
· MCHC Testimony on the Tidelands Bill (H3757)
· Legislator’s letter on the Tidelands bill [H3757]
· Shirley Kressel’s Testimony on the Tidelands Bill (H3757)
· The Massachusetts Public Waterfront Act (Chapter 91)
· H3757 – Bill to speed development of tidelands
· H847 – Bill to promote non-water development in tidelands
· Analysis of the North Point Tidelands Decision


Follow the Money

Donations from real estate interests to the campaign accounts of politicians is an important component of the influence of the real estate interests upon the legislative agenda. Money is often concentrated upon committee chairs and the legislative leadership. State law requires that larger campaign donations be reported to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF). Click below to find the donations made in the last six years from certain persons and firms engaging in with real estate lobbying.

Click below to view campaign donations of
7/25/07 alert (archived)

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