BOSTON (WWLP) – The state legislature’s Environment Committee plans to let the Baker administration know whether they believe the rattlesnake proposal should move forward.
The Baker administration is taking a step back, after residents criticized the plan to bring poisonous rattlesnakes to the Quabbin Reservoir. Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton said, “The roll-out of the information did not go the way anyone would have hoped.”
After hearing from experts, the legislature’s Environment Committee plans to issue their recommendations. Committee Chair Anne Gobi of Spencer issued a statement, saying:
There is, in my opinion, a need to reassess current protection methods and increase repopulation efforts at existing den sites before introducing a species to a site where they are not currently found. I look forward to working on practical and sustainable solutions.
The state environmental agency will now form a working group to study the so-called “Rattlesnake Island” proposal. The state maintains the Quabbin is the best place to repopulate the timber rattlesnake, which is endangered in Massachusetts. Nearby residents worry the snakes could escape, and bite someone.
Secretary Beaton is waiting to hear from both lawmakers, and the working group. He said, “If it is clear that it is still understood to be a project that is met with great concern and resistance from the local community, we will reconsider the plan as it stands today.”
The Environment Committee plans to give their final recommendations to Governor Baker and Secretary Matthew Beaton within the next few days.