League of Women Voters SouthCoast

The newly reorganized League of Women Voters SouthCoast launched its inaugural meeting with a buffet luncheon at the Wamsutta Club in New Bedford on Thursday, May 19.

            LWVSC, an expansion of the Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester Tri-Town League that now encompasses Wareham, Marion, Mattapoisett, Rochester, Fairhaven, Acushnet, Freetown, New Bedford, Dartmouth and Westport, restructured its governance using three co-chair positions with each leader serving either a three, two and a one-year term.

            The League believes this 3-tiered model will foster collaboration and partnership for effective action.

            Key objectives of LWVSC include addressing the climate emergency, educating members and the public about its policies related to voting, equitable access to the ballot, “housing and zoning laws, open and transparent government at the state level and looking at policies from a point of view of addressing systemic racism,” said Eileen Marum.

            Co-chair Kris Eastman said, “The LWVSC is making every effort to develop a strong, diverse membership featuring community, diversity, equity and inclusion and be recognized as the champion of democracy and voting rights.”

            Guest speaker Korinn N. Petersen Esq., senior attorney and vice president of Clean Water Advocacy at the Buzzards Bay Coalition, leads the Coalition’s advocacy efforts in town halls, in state and federal agencies and in state and federal courts.

            Ms. Petersen is renowned for her work managing the Buzzard Bay Coalition’s local and regional projects to reduce nitrogen pollution in bay waters and reported on the state of coastal waters and their watershed during a riveting slide show presentation.

            Ms. Petersen explained the impact of excess nitrogen on Buzzards Bay waters, for example, the effect of oxygen depletion on marine animals—massive fish kills—and the erosion of coastal marshes that protect bay communities from flooding.

            She put forward the Coalition’s position that would direct the discharge of treated wastewater into the Cape Cod Canal via a pipeline extending from an expanded Wareham treatment facility. Because of the flushing effect offered by the Cape Cod Canal, the pipeline presented the best solution for the region’s wastewater problems in Bourne, South Plymouth, Wareham, Marion and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

            Five years of scientific research and a hydrodynamic study by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution support the Coalition’s position that a discharge pipe into the canal would not harm water quality and the pipe could potentially reduce nitrogen pollution “by more than 90 percent,” according to Ms. Petersen.

            Ms. Petersen is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, cum laude and has a Master of Studies in Environmental Law, cum laude, from Vermont Law School, as well as her Juris Doctor.

            Those wishing to join the League’s work, or who would like to learn more, can contact lwvsouthcoast@gmail.com

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