It's nice to see that in 2007, grown men like the Mayor of Taunton, Massachusetts think it's a great idea to wake up in the morning, pour a cup of coffee and tell lies about the Hockomock Swamp. So this letter was written:
The Brockton Enterprise
Main Street, Brockton, Mass.
November 13, 2007
To the Editor,
Monday's Enterprise story about the proposed Boston to New Bedford rail line stated, "Despite environmental concerns for the Hockomock Swamp that come with the restoration of the Stoughton line, [Taunton mayor Charles] Crowley contends trains ran through the swamp for more than 100 years beginning in 1847, “with little or no detriment on the Hockomock Swamp.”
Mayor Crowley is wrong. No scientific studies were ever undertaken of the effect of the rail bed on the Hockomock when the rail bed was built. Was Mr. Crowley around when the rail bed was built in 1847? Has Mr. Crowley done any studies himself? Does he know of any studies which support this claim? Or is he just making stuff up off the top of his head to an Enterprise reporter?
There is abundant physical evidence that the old rail line has greatly affected the swamp. The raised rail bed now functions as a miles-long "dam" across the Hockomock which has substantially altered drainage patterns in the swamp. This effect is obvious if you walk the rail line where it cuts through the swamp behind the Raynham dog track.
Scientific studies from the 2002 permitting process determined that putting new rail service on this route will have massive negative effects on the Swamp and its wildlife. Apparently Mayor Crowley has never looked at those massive volumes of data.
It is disappointing to see the Mayor of Taunton make such uninformed remarks to an Enterprise reporter on such an important topic. The Hockomock Swamp is one of the most outstanding and unspoiled natural sites in the northeastern United States. It needs nothing from us except to be left alone and enjoyed.