Thursday, June 19, 2008

Write the state house to support the Wekepeke

Budget negotiations are underway in the state house to determine which items from the house and senate budgets will make the final bill sent to the governor for his signature. One of the items in the house budget that is up for negotiation is the $250,000 appropriation for repairs to the dams and general upkeep of the Wekepeke reservoirs.

I believe that the appropriation will be an important step toward repairing the dams and will take some of the pressure off the town of Clinton, which needs to find $1 million or so over the next few years to bring the dams up to snuff.

If you agree with me, please contact the members of the conference committee. They are:

Senator Steven C. Panagiotakos
Senator Stephen M. Brewer
Senator Michael R. Knapik
Representative Robert A. DeLeo
Representative Viriato Manuel deMacedo
Representative Marie P. St. Fleur

Here is the text of the email I sent to each member earlier this week:
Dear [Senator/Representative],

I am writing to ask for your support of an item in the House budget proposed by Representative Harold Naughton which would appropriate $250,000 the upkeep and repair of dams at the Wekepeke Reservoir in Sterling. Please consider including the item, included in line 2800-0100 of HR4701 (page 76), in the final bill that comes out of the joint committee.

The appropriation is crucial to the towns of Leominster, Lancaster, and Sterling in the Wekepeke watershed. Were the dams to fail, citizens and businesses in these towns could be affected by flood waters downstream of the Wekepeke Reservoirs. Appropriating the funds proposed by Rep. Naughton would allow dam repairs to begin and provide necessary protection to those citizens and businesses.

The town of Clinton owns the reservoirs and the land on which they are located, and they are responsible for the upkeep of the dams. Because of the proposed cost, Clinton has discussed selling water rights to commercial bottling operations. The impact of commercial operations in the Wekepeke are unknown, but citizens are concerned that their wells could be affected, the finest native brook trout breeding area in the state could be ruined, and area residents could lose passive recreation opportunities. Including the funds proposed by Rep. Naughton would provide the town of Clinton the resources necessary to begin repairing the dams, protecting the Wekepeke watershed by removing the need for Clinton to raise the money through commercial pursuits.

Thank you for considering the appropriation for the Wekepeke dams.
Previous coverage of the Wekepeke:
June 19: Clinton signs Wekepeke restriction. Now what?
May 2: Naughton secures funds for the Wekepeke
April 29: Might the Wekepeke restriction have teeth after all?
April 25: What would Sterling accept at the Wekepeke?
April 11: What does the Wekepeke Restriction actually say?
April 11: Clinton does the right thing
April 9: Sterling should offer to buy Wekepeke at Nestle's price
April 6: Sterling selectmen to oppose Wekepeke plan, but to what extent?
April 4: Vermont looking to restrict Wekepeke-style projects
March 27: This can't be helpful
March 25: Tough decision ahead for Clinton
March 21: Nestle's proposal could change everything
March 21: Nestle nominated for "Corporate Hall of Shame"
March 19: Sterling Selectmen disappoint at Wekepeke forum
March 16: Sterling should oppose Nestle...the right way

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