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Dumping snow into the ocean, part 2

Posted by Alan Wirzbicki  February 8, 2011 04:22 PM

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With towns across the state still coping with massive piles of snow, Marblehead has become the first community in Massachusetts to win permission to dump snow into the ocean at two locations, the Globe reported today.

Putting snow in waterways normally violates environmental laws, because plowed snow often picks up pollutants like oil and chemical de-icers.

But Paul Levy argued last week that the law, while well-intentioned, was actually harming the environment because communities were being forced to burn fuel trucking out vast amounts of snow.

The Globe's Cara Bayles reported last week that one state senator, Jack Hart, favored dumping snow in Boston Harbor because the snowbanks in Boston were becoming a public safety hazard, he said.

But Mayor Thomas Menino told WBZ radio last week that he was opposed to the idea.

"I'm not really a big fan of throwing it in the harbor, because we've spent millions and millions of dollars cleaning up that harbor. Some people say, 'Oh, it's only a little bit.' A little bit here, a little bit there, and we'll get back to the old days, when we couldn't swim in the harbor or fish in the harbor," Menino said. "We're not in an emergency situation yet."

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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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