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Streeter on 'Treebay?'

Parody auction raises funding concerns

Because of recent heavy rain and the fact the Army Corps of Engineers is repairing downstream Westville Dam, the swimming area at Streeter Point is currently underwater. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
April 04, 2010
STURBRIDGE — Streeter Point Recreation Area's being auctioned to the highest bidder.

As of Saturday afternoon, it was still really cheap — just $5,500 — with a little more than 13 days left before bidding closes.

If that doesn't sound like it's for real, you're right, it's not.

"Streeter Point is one of our first 'items on the chopping block,'" said Madeline Carr, an intern at the Mass. League of Environmental Voters. " … It's our snarky way of drawing attention to how the environment is being left out of the budget."

Her group is one of several behind "Treebay," an eBay parody Web site at www.massenvironmentforsale.com devised to draw attention to the fact that funding for park staffing and maintenance, environmental policing, hazardous waste site cleanup and other ecological concerns has been falling for years, despite increasing state budgets.

Specifically, the House-2 proposed fiscal 2011 budget assigns $175.7 million to a wide array of environmental issues in various departments out of a total of $28.2 billion, according to the Environmental League's "On the Brink: Green Budget" report. It argues environmental funding has fallen from 1 percent of the state budget to just 0.66 percent since fiscal 2001, noting, "The Commonwealth spends less than a penny of every dollar to make sure that the air we breathe and the water we drink is clean, that toxic chemical use is monitored and reduced, and our recreational areas are safe and clean."

See Tuesday's Soouthbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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