A comprehensive review of the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act :three years of administration

Reed, Barry J.
Alexandra Dawson
Department of Environmental Studies
1981
This study examines the administration of the Massachusetts Environomental Policy Act (MEPA) during the period February 15, 1978 to January 25, 1981 in response to call from Governor King's Commission to Simplify Rules and Regulations and a coalition of business interests for relief from the state's environmental laws and regulations. This study evaluates (i) the administration of the letter of the law, (ii) the administration of the intent of the law, (iii) in particular, whether MEPA duplicates the wetlands review process of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Quality Engineering (DEQE), and (iv) the extent to which waivers issued by the Secretary of the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOOA) tended to undermine the intent of the Act during the study period. The findings of this study indicate that the letter of the law administered by the EOEA during the study period, as was the law's intent to minimize damage to the environment. The law's intent to make environmental impact review a public process was not administered to the fullest extent possible, however. Findings also indicate that MEPA tends to complement rather than duplicated the DEQE wetlands review process. Finally, findings of this study indicate that waivers issued by the Secretary of the EOEA during the study period tended to undermine the intent of MEPA to be a public process and, in some cases, tended to undermine the Act's intent to minimize damage to the environment. This study concludes with recommendations that, if implemented, would serve to improve the administration of the Act.

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