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For Immediate Release: Feb 27, 2003
Contact: Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337

ROMNEY MOVES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION INTO DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

Reorganization Creates Conflicts In Agency Role


Boston - Governor Mitt Romney's new reorganization plan places state environmental agencies inside a proposed new Office for Commonwealth Development, according to documents released today by New England Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (New England PEER).The move would make state environmental protection decisions subject to approval by an agency management representing transportation, housing and energy functions.

"This reorganization makes environmental protection subservient to economic development," stated New England PEER Director Kyla Bennett."This creates a massive conflict of interest when the environment department detects pollution violations by in state transportation and housing projects - the environment department would have to prosecute its own chain of command."

The mission statement for the proposed new Office of Commonwealth Development ("Caring for the natural and built environment of Massachusetts") also reflects its mixed mandate without resolving the conflict between protecting natural resources and promoting building and other nature-consuming development.

"As reflected by the gag orders issued to employees from the Governor's office last month, it seems apparent that Mr. Romney prefers a top-down management," commented Bennett, who revealed the existence of the Romney gag orders."It is not at all clear how or why these massive organizational relocations are going to save the taxpayers any money, while the disruption will surely impede efficient operation, and cause major environmental damage."

Gov. Romney's reorganization plan is being submitted to the Legislature for a 60-day review culminating with an up or down vote with no amendments allowed.

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See the Romney reorganization chart.