Towns can regulate wetlands


To the Editor:

In his essay, “Vineyard wetlands and future development” (June 8), Jack Fruchtman incorrectly asserts that under the Supreme Court’s new rule limiting the EPA, areas on the Vineyard are now more susceptible to “development pressure.” Unlike Priest Lake, Idaho, the Vineyard has wetlands conservation commissions in each of its six towns, each vested with police power, that regulate development near wetlands. Furthermore, the Vineyard is more than amply protected from inappropriate development by its select boards, planning boards, zoning boards, building commissioners, boards of health, historic commissions, fire departments, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and by all of our citizens via participation in town meetings and votes on warrant articles. Despite all of these many regulators, Martha’s Vineyard is also protected by the federal government, under whose development control the Vineyard barrier beaches and its wetlands were riddled with bombs and toxic material during World War II.

In his pursuit of a political agenda favoring even more federal powers, Mr. Fruchtman may be overlooking the historic facts that suggest that federal bureaucrats with less power may in actuality be the best way to reduce the threat of “development pressure” on Martha’s Vineyard.


Dusty Burke
Oak Bluffs