NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

February 4, 2014

Consequences of Plum Island erosion

To the editor:

Plum Island is not sinking because the sea level is rising. PI is succumbing to storm surge erosion. These are two very different concepts that somehow environmentalists have weaved together to convince the public we’re all doomed. Storm surge erosion has been going on since the creation of this planet’s ocean. The change in government regulatory restrictions that were imposed on homeowners 14 years ago eliminated any effective dune maintenance.

In the legislative statute creating the Department of Environmental Protection, the DEP is mandated “to preserve the public safety, health and welfare and private property of the Commonwealth.” They have not just ignored this mandate, they have blatantly flouted it. They, under the direction of Commissioner Ken Kimmell, have acted outside the authority delegated to it when it enacts regulations contrary to the intent of its statutory authority. What is it about reality that escapes this department?

Prior to the year 2000 and after a large storm that eroded the primary dune, homeowners took it upon themselves to restore the dune. Sand from below the high tide line was bulldozed back up to restore the dune to its original state. This type of maintenance has been going on since before the invention of the bulldozer when horse-drawn plows were used to rebuild the dunes on PI. No pricy engineering costs were required! Primary dune erosion has gone without proper maintenance for 14 years. It is the policy of our government to allow the shores of the U.S. to naturally erode without any measures to stop it. It is their goal to remove all human inhabitance from the shores of this country. Don’t believe me? Read the attached link: http://coastalmanagement.noaa.gov/initiatives/shorelin e_ppr_retreat.html.

The problem with removing human inhabitance from the shores of this country is you also remove the taxable income these homes generate. The local governments depend on the income generated by heavily taxed properties to run the town’s municipalities. For instance, the town of Newbury collects one-third of its taxes from the residents of PI. Currently, all PI residents can file for abatements because they can’t sell their homes. If those homes can no longer contribute to the town’s coffers, then everyone else’s taxes goes up one-third. So folks inland who have no compassion for the plight of the homeowners on PI and do not offer their support, will see their taxes go up, and up! If you don’t have compassion for us, then maybe you will have compassion for yourself. You will be required to pay more property taxes for your homes. You will have to work at least two or three additional weeks per year to pay for the increase in your property taxes. So, if you want to keep your property taxes lower, please offer your support and call Gov. Patrick and demand he eliminate the regulatory restrictions and allow us to save our homes, at no cost to you, the taxpayer.

Massachusetts Statehouse, Office of the Governor, Room 105, Boston, MA 02133, Phone: 888-870-7770.

Cheryl Comeau

Amesbury

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