Southborough to prepare for climate change “Vulnerability” thanks to state grant (Updated)

by beth on June 25, 2019

Post image for Southborough to prepare for climate change “Vulnerability” thanks to state grant (Updated)

Above: The state gave out grants to help communities be resilient in the face of climate change. Southborough will use $22K towards that goal, hoping to become an MVP community. (image cropped from

Last week, the Baker-Polito administration announced $12M was disbursed to 99 towns & cities to deal with hazards increased by to climate change. An article by Wicked Local specifies that $22,000 went to Southborough for Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness planning.

I reached out to the Town to find out how officials plan to use those funds.

Southborough Conservation Agent Melissa Danza coordinated the Town’s application. She explained that part will be used to complete an update of our Local Hazard Mitigation Plan. The remainder will go towards helping the Town become a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) community.

According to Danza, Lt. Neal Aspesi of the Fire Department has been working “tirelessly” to update the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan. (Aspesi is the Chair of the Town’s Emergency Planning Committee and responsible for SEMA – Southborough Emergency Management.)

As for the MVP funding, the Town will hire a certified MVP provider as a consultant to assist with the process:

This initial phase is a planning process in which Southborough will begin to identify areas of town which are vulnerable to climate change and ways that we can become more resilient to these changes. Many of the common things that this process identifies for towns in our area is flooding from increased frequency and severity of storms, culvert assessments, emergency preparedness in the way of high and low temperatures, control of invasive species, and planning and bylaw changes.

The process will include working with town staff and/or boards to identify areas of concern. That would be followed by presentations at meetings with stakeholders – citizens and key community members (like business owners or nonprofits): 

This stakeholder meeting is to develop our priority list of projects or changes that Southborough should address to mitigate the effects of climate change. Once a final presentation, available to the public as a whole, is held we can become a designed MVP community and be open to MVP Action grants which will fund 75% of the cost of projects. These projects would be those outlined in our community plan or anything that may come up that would have the same common goal.

Danza enthused:

I’m looking forward to working with the community to bring education and information readily available on key tasks that we can do to become a more resilient community. I was in the beginning stages of this process when I was in Uxbridge and found it a great way to bring together every department because each one has key input on the community as a whole or within their specialties. This also comes at an opportune time as we are redoing our Master Plan so we can better integrate our findings into it.

You can read more about the MVP program on the state’s website. You can also learn more about the state’s overall efforts on the “Climate Change Clearinghouse for the Commonwealth” Resiliant MA.

Updated (6/25/19 10:19 am): I mistakenly listed our Town as receiving $20K, $2K less than was actually granted.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Frank Crowell June 25, 2019 at 10:12 AM

I wonder how far $12M would go towards making the T more reliable?


2 Al Hamilton July 1, 2019 at 7:51 AM

Well, it is the T so $12 million would probably be divided between executive salaries, new carpets, and consultants.


3 floater July 18, 2019 at 10:06 AM

T management certainly would not want to waste the money on anything as silly as running the trains on time!

Go to Japan for an example of what a train service could be. Punctual, clean, efficient.

The MBTA is a joke – and a bad one at that. T personnel should be ashamed…


4 floater June 25, 2019 at 1:20 PM

At 280+ feet above sea level are we worried about rising ocean levels? I am looking forward to someday owning oceanfront property…


5 Frank Crowell June 25, 2019 at 8:57 PM

I don’t know about water front property but they will be skiing in the Rockies on the 4’th of July.


6 Kathy Gleason June 26, 2019 at 6:05 AM

I am glad that Charlie Baker acknowledges the term Climate Change, even if our President doesn’t.


7 floater June 26, 2019 at 10:40 AM

It’s easy to acknowledge – each year is different. I shoveled 3+ feet of snow off my roof in the winter of 2014-2015. And that was after several years of little snowfall. Back in the 1990s I also dealt with record levels of snow.

Some summers we have a dustbowl in Southborough – others it’s like living in a rainforest. You may recall just a couple of decades ago scientists were warning we were entering, albeit slowly, another ice age. Perhaps that is still true, with intermediate fluctuations/variations. Of course that was when people were capable of longer term thinking.

The climate is ALWAYS changing.

So-called ‘global warming’ is another, separate topic altogether.


8 Frank Crowell June 26, 2019 at 11:03 AM

Mr. Baker has more pressing issues that effect the daily lives of citizens he serves than throwing money around preparing for climate change. DMV and the T to name just two. The incompetence at the DMV cost seven lives.


9 concerned_scientist July 1, 2019 at 3:33 PM

learn folks.

Stop being spoon fed by ‘experts’ with vested interests … biases.


10 Matthew Brownell June 26, 2019 at 1:12 PM

I agree with floater and Frank Crowell.

“Climate” has been changing hourly for millions of years. But it has only been 10 years where we’ve witnessed a central political class monetize this manufactured crisis into a colossal excuse for a mandatory shakedown of American taxpayers, perpetual growth of Government workers, and crony subsidies to pet “Green Energy” interests that would otherwise do the Thelma & Louise cliff dive in the absence of Uncle Sam’s largesse.


11 Matt W June 29, 2019 at 10:30 PM


Your myopia and willful ignorance makes me a bit disappointed. Even if you don’t look at the science behind climate change (which I very much urge you to do–please get informed), the idea that moneyed interests are driving our move toward green energy seems disingenuous. Sure, those who invest in renewables stand to benefit from spreading awareness of our climate crisis, but do you really think that climate change conscious leftists like AOC, Ed Markey, or Elizabeth Warren will get anything out of pushing for a Green New Deal? Of course not.

The moneyed interests are more prevalently influencing politics from the other side. It turns out the Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate who idiotically said that human body heat was causing global warming is a beneficiary of fossil fuels.

Please get informed. Your children’s lives depend on it. It’s your duty to leave the world a better place than you found it.


12 Kelly Roney July 3, 2019 at 10:26 AM

Anyone who claims that climate changes hourly doesn’t know the meaning of the word and has zero credibility on the subject.


13 Al Hamilton June 26, 2019 at 4:02 PM

If you believe that climate change is real (and I do) and you believe it is a serious threat to humanity (and I do) then it is difficult to believe that you should not be in favor of the following:

1. Nuclear Power – a very green source of base load that can nicely supplement the variability in solar and wind power.

2. Hydraulic Fracturing (aka Fracking) which is an 80 year old technology that is freeing up massive quantities of natural gas. The market is making this so cheap that it is replacing coal without the intervention of the government. Coal produces 2X (or more) of the greenhouse gasses per megawatt than the same plant powered with natural gas. In addition, turbine based natural gas “peaking” units can nicely complement wind and solar to pick up the load when wind and solar cant meet the load.

3. Large scale Hydro projects complete with all the environmental issues associated with them. This includes “pump storage” system that can store surplus energy generated when there is no current demand.

The grim reality is that if you believe climate change is for real and you want real solutions then difficult choices are required. There is no magic solution to this problem that makes everyone happy.


14 floater June 29, 2019 at 12:25 PM

I’m ALL IN FAVOR of nuclear power (no persons who say nuke-U–ler allowed beyond this point –The Simpsons). Why, as a nation, ‘we’ refuse to acknowledge/endorse nuclear is beyond me. Again, it is likely it points back to a political agenda. I recall the incredible waste of time & energy spent with the Seabrook, NH protests. Construction delays, etc. In the end, the plant came on line and has operated safely, generating 40% of New Hampshire’s total electricity – emission free.

France derives 75% of its electricity from nuclear power and is the world’s largest exporter of electricity, due to its very low cost of generation. What is it the French know that ‘we’ don’t?

Why would ‘we’ want to pay more for unreliable forms of so-called renewable generated electricity? It is absurd.

Hopefully, we will see fission reactors in the future.


15 Carl Guyer July 26, 2019 at 5:34 PM

Careful nuclear power advocates.

The primary reason nuclear power plants are not being built in the USA is cost. Hard economic reasons. Cost have skyrocketed as more and more safety controls are being mandated. Siting has even become a serious issue due to the requirement of a stable geological condition and adequate cooling water (it is a Rankine steam cycle after all).

With the closure of the Pilgrim power plan in Plymouth, MA there is now an issue of what to do the waste nuclear material sitting in cooling pools of water at the plant. I don’t remember what the half life is this material is, but I remember it is more than multiple generations of the local residents. Last I heard they were going to encase it in concrete and metal containers and move it uphill a little away from the bay. Not far, just a few hundred feet. There is no chance anyone thinks moving this stuff is a good idea. A gift to the future.

Here is a quote from the VP of the firm handling the nuclear waste.

Hickman says all this gives him a lot of confidence in the casks: “I’d rather live next to a nuclear power plant storing our equipment,” he says, “than next to a fossil plant putting out sulfur in the air.”

Not really the find of analogy that inspires confidence….. Next time he might try saying he prefers his storage equipment over Baxter State Forest in Maine.

This would be comedy if not so serious a subject.

If you think France is a model for nuclear power you should know the average electric power rate in France is $.19 per Kw-hr while in the USA it is $.12.


16 floater July 29, 2019 at 10:13 AM

Don’t bother comparing electricity costs between the US and France. Why not compare the cost of gasoline? Better yet, compare the cost of healthcare!

By the way, it’s 14.72 Euro cents per kWh in France. The residential average for Massachusetts is 14.91 cents per kWh – 25.51% higher than the national average!

Now, let’s compare what people pay for (and what they receive) for healthcare between the two countries.

Apples to oranges…


17 Kelly Roney July 29, 2019 at 11:28 PM

There is a public exchange rate between euros and dollars, so you could make a valid comparison between them, instead of generating fog to confuse people.

You can make valid comparisons between health care costs in France vs. those in the US. Hint: Ours are much higher, something just under a fifth of the entire GDP. We spend as much in tax revenue as they do or pretty close (again, exchange rates!), and then we spend just as much or more again in private revenue. The French are pretty happy with their system, and they get statistically better outcomes where it matters, for example life expectancy and child and infant mortality (linked!). You can compare those, too, and perhaps poke some holes in those statistics. Have at it!

If you want to compare gasoline costs, France’s are much higher due to taxation and fewer domestic resources. It’s a valid comparison (exchange rates! publicly known tax rates!), and our policy decisions look better for us, though I can understand their decisions might be better for them.

Or we can pretend this is all too complicated, even though it’s not.

18 concerned_scientist July 1, 2019 at 3:30 PM

Name one thing in your life that has a single component which exclusively influences a complex dynamic? Then why are you so sure that CO2 if primarily if not the only cause of ‘climate change’ (formerly known as ‘global warming’, up until… well, the globe wasn’t warming per top NOAA scientist whistleblower, Dr John Bates Feb 4, 2017).

Is the climate changing? Absolutely yes.
Is man-made /caused carbon dioxide (CO2) the primary or even major reason for climate change? Absolutely No

Time to stop being spoon fed info and research a bit on your own. KEEP an open mind and you’ll find that our climate has experienced such changes hundreds of times over the millennia. Don’t fall for the Hegelian Dialectic whereby the only solutions to this CC is restricting CO2 generation via a Carbon Tax. That’s what its about.

LEARN: For example the earth undergoes climate/weather variations in predicable cycles linked to solar activity (sun spots, coronal mass ejections, etc) and shifts in molten iron core of earth (magnetic poles shifting). These factors are linked to the Maunder Minimum of 1650s, the last true ‘mini ice age’ on earth…. Well before manmade CO2 was a factor.


19 Kelly Roney July 3, 2019 at 12:51 PM

It’s false that global average temperatures stopped going up. See Sea surface temperatures have increased, too –

It’s false that solar activity explains the temperature rise. That’s an 11-year cycle, and the temperature rise has been a much longer-term increase.

Humans have added 60% to the baseline carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere, as well as over 200% to the methane baseline content. Warming has led to increased airborne water vapor, which naturally increases storm intensity.


20 floater July 8, 2019 at 11:10 PM


Someone has drunk the Kool-Aid.

Like the concerned_scientist strongly recommended above, get a grip on the facts – not the media and pseudo-science hoopla. Do some of your own research and you will quickly find that the ‘headlines’ selectively report only that which has sensational appeal.

Look at the larger picture to see what is not really happening.


21 Kelly Roney July 9, 2019 at 10:27 AM

Your rhetoric includes no facts. Get a grip yourself.


22 concerned_scientist July 19, 2019 at 2:01 PM

Yes, climate change is real, but the data doesn’t support a claim that its primarily due to rising CO2 levels. There are other more dominant factors at play. Look into solar energy output cycles evident by increase and decrease in sun spot activity. This phenomena is well known among geophysicists and cosmologist.

Google “Grand Solar Minimum”, correlate with the 500 year weather cycles and you’ll find that we are entering Cycle 25 which dramatically changes atmospheric jet stream, water vapor level, weather patterns, etc. It’s fascinating and uncontrollable.

Taxing usage of carbon might make you feel better but in fact the percentage of CO2 in our atmosphere is right now, only 0.036% !! (Nitrogen: 79%, Oxygen: 21%, Argon: 0.9%, CO2: 0.036%). Over past 50 years its risen from 0.024%
Does that sound like CO2 rise the real cause of climate change? (BTW, why do CC proponents prefer to report CO2 in part-per-million over 50 yr period rather than %CO2 over 1,000 years? Because its dramatic, misleading and support thesis that we need to spent $$ to fix a problem)

Factor in the geomagnetic shifts (magnetic north and south are shifting as is typical). What affect do you think that might have on the polar vortex?
It’s not simply carbon. Look at this animated chart of CO2 but compare today with pre-industrial periods.


23 Carl Guyer July 21, 2019 at 6:03 PM

Anonymous posting on web sites is the moral equivalency to plagiarism…. To be believed is to be identifiable.


24 floater July 22, 2019 at 9:26 AM


The FACTS speak for themselves – regardless of the poster – actual name or nom de plume.

Plagiarism occurs when an individual is taking credit for the works of another. None of the posters above have done that. Please refer to your nearest Merriam-Webster…

25 Frank Crowell July 22, 2019 at 10:59 AM

“….moral equivalency of plagiarism…..” What’s next…. call “concerned_scientist” the R word?

How about taking on the facts presented and telling all us where the poster is wrong? Should be fairly straightforward………right?

26 concerned_scientist July 26, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Hi Carl,

Yes, that would be true if I were making statements that impugn an individual or group, but in this case, I am simply sharing information and my opinion.
I wish not to be identified. The message is important, not the messenger.

27 Kelly Roney July 23, 2019 at 5:01 PM

Hilarious, concerned_(non)scientist, you imagine that the animation from NOAA makes any part of your case? It plainly refutes everything you’ve claimed about CO2 being within the normal range in the last 800,000 years!

Now, about your claims that trace elements (such as CO2 in the atmosphere) can’t have major effects… I suppose you imagine that micrograms of botulinum toxin or LSD or radioactive polonium or, heck, nerve agents, are safe because there’s such a small amount of them. I know I’ll be avoiding them!

Next you’ll tell me that UV radiation from the sun couldn’t possibly cause skin cancer because only a few rays make it here from 93,000,000 miles away! The technique is to appeal to people’s intuition with what sounds scientific, when its facts are actually irrelevant.

The geomagnetic hypothesis is new to me. Scientists keep looking at global systems and that’s good, although this theory is pretty early in development and testing. You’re using it as an excuse to stop working against CO2, as motivated reasoning, i.e. rationalization.


28 concerned_scientist July 26, 2019 at 8:07 AM

Hi Kelly,

Thanks for your reply. We agree that climate change is real, but disagree as to what are the root causes of the phenomenon. Fair enough. Keep an open mind as I do. Conclusion(s) should remain pliable, and shift as more valid evidence is known.
Im not trying to persuade. Only inform.

29 southsider July 4, 2019 at 8:57 AM

Arguing over what’s the primary/major cause of global warming seems unproductive.
We need to apply focus to any and all causes in the hopes of mitigating enough of them to make a difference.
There is no way the globe isn’t changing for the worse… I see it in so many many ways… from disappearing polar ice to the incredibly violent and severe nature of storms across the planet.
Matt W ( above) is correct… we owe it to our kids and grandkids to reverse the damage we’re doing to the planet or their lives will be much different ( and worse ) than ours.


30 Al Hamilton July 8, 2019 at 4:11 PM

The grim reality is that it will prove very very difficult to slow the rate of increase in greenhouse gas emissions. The US is actually doing a pretty good job on that front thanks to hydraulically fractured natural gas replacing coal which is much worse.

But, the rest of the world is not doing as well. There are roughtly 3 billion people on earth who are with grasping distance of the first rung of a first world lifestyle and they quite reasonably want it. That implies a huge demand for energy for cars, clothes washers, air conditioners and other labor saving devices that make life just a little easier. Each in turn, requires huge amounts of energy which in the developing world means coal and oil. No government will say no to this.


31 Carl Guyer July 8, 2019 at 8:05 PM

To say we are doing well in the USA is certainly a spin on the data. The USA accounts for 15% of the CO2 emission in the world, we have 4.3% of the population. We are second only to China which generates 27%,China has 18.2% of the world’s population. Ten countries, including us of course, account for 75% of the emissions. As soon as the top 10 reduce their emissions to a point they are relatively proportional of the world population, then we can think about pointing to those minor contributors.

We might want to do something about the addition of 100 million people per year to the world’s population as a start. Right now every other birth is an increase in population.


32 Al Hamilton July 9, 2019 at 8:49 AM


My point is that the US is meeting it’s “Paris Accord” goals where no other country is. A few years ago Germany decided to end it’s nuclear power dependence (thanks to the “Greens”) guess what much of that was replaced by? Coal.

Roughly 2 billion of the 3 billion people I was referring to live in China and India which combined account for about 1/3 of all greenhouse emissions and those are on the increase. You cannot begin to limit greenhouse emissions if you do not have a plan that they will implement, regardless of what we do in the US. That plan does not exist. Neither government will tell their people that they have to give up their dreams of a first world lifestyle.

How exactly would you go about erasing 100 million births per year?

This is a problem that is very very difficult/impossible to solve proactively.


33 Carl Guyer July 10, 2019 at 10:28 AM

Hi Al

Your points are well taken, of course China and India are a mess, but you probably know our country quit the Paris Accord, which was not a solution, just an agreement to work together. Our quitting is not going to help leverage any progress we might make here in the US to get others to cooperate.

By the way, coal usage in Germany is down, check it out. They are struggling with now with how to meet their future energy needs with limited coal and nuclear power. It will be interesting to see if they can manage an “alternative energy” solution to their power needs. And you know Germans love power. I can say that because I am one…..well, at least half of one..!

As far as how to curb population growth, I’m not going to offer solutions because the solution, like the problem, is so Draconian. It fits the classic definition of a tragedy.

I see the climate deniers are happily shooting themselves in the foot with their insults, name calling and political rants, keep it up guys.

34 Carl Guyer July 8, 2019 at 8:37 PM

Fun Facts about CO2….

A gallon of gasoline, home heating oil or diesel fuel weighs 6.3 pounds. When burned it produces 19 to 20 pounds of CO2. If you had to bring your waste CO2 to the Transfer Station weekly, you would have to lug 400 pounds of CO2 around each week (that assumes a low usage of 20 gallons of gas, oil and diesel per household per week, a very low estimate). If you heat with “clean natural gas”, you can reduce your heating CO2 emissions by 25% for the same amount of heat and only bring about 350 pounds each week.

Plants love higher CO2 concentrations. Photosynthesis is a concentration driven reaction, like most, and helps the plants produce more “food” for themselves. Not all plants react the same. One of the plants benefiting the most from higher CO2 concentrations is Poison Ivy. Not only does it grow faster, the toxic substance they produce causing skin rashes is produced in higher concentrations. Have you noticed house plants are growing better these days ?

If you plan to see the glaciers in Alaska during you lifetime, you should go soon.


35 concerned_scientist July 19, 2019 at 2:16 PM

Here are some other fun facts:

Since 1960, the rise in CO2 levels has risen from 320 ppm to 413 ppm, a dramatic 33% increase! Sounds scary until you put it into context.
If expressed in % composition of the atmosphere, you see that CO2 has risen from 0.024% to 0.036%. It’s not even 1/2 of 1 percent of the atmosphere (N2: 79%, O2: 21%, argon: 0.9%, CO2: 0.036%)

The alarming, but insignificant rise in CO2 has been blamed on the advent of industrialization, use of carbon fuels. But when you look at CO2 levels going back pre-industrial usage, and even much earlier than that, you see CO2 levels are the same as 1960 level and comparable to today. So climate change cannot be attributed to industrialization of modern society.

The climate is indeed changing. It’s just not due to CO2 as a major factor.
Check out this animated CO2 trend graph from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Admin ( ).

Extracting carbon usage taxes from the public is not a solution.


36 Kelly Roney July 23, 2019 at 5:14 PM

How can a rise in concentration of atmospheric CO2 be both alarming and insignificant? I have to assume that concerned means it sounds alarming but really isn’t.

The “fun facts” are facts, but they aren’t relevant. Trace amounts can have large effects, as they do here. That’s pretty simple and well established. You and I are composed of liquids and solids, yet we can derive life-sustaining oxygen from the air, which is composed of gases that are tremendously less dense than we are, even though oxygen is barely more than a fifth of the total pressure.

Concerned, are you claiming that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas? Sure seems like a valid conclusion from your posts. Maybe you can explain how it can be a greenhouse gas at preindustrial concentrations but then not be more effective as a greenhouse gas at current concentrations, which you acknowledge are much higher.

A well-designed carbon tax would allow us as a society to incent efficiencies, but there are clearly ways we would need to mitigate its effects on, for example, workers who have to drive to make a living.


37 concerned_scientist July 26, 2019 at 7:57 AM

Hi Kelly,

Thanks for your response. My main points are as follows:

1. Climate change (CC) is real and progressing.
2. While CC is caused, in part, by elevated ‘greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, NO2, etc), this is NOT the major root cause, but rather a symptom.
3. The MAJOR Cause of CC are:
a. the ongoing shift in earth’s geomagnetic poles, and
b. Cyclical drop in solar activity (reduced sun spots impact cosmic radiation which also impacts our magnetic field, and therefore jets streams and thus weather patterns.

CO2 management is a waste of effort. We should be focusing efforts and $$ resources on how to develop sustainable food supplies as our ‘bread basket’ farm states become less viable.

Re-open your minds to new opinions, research then discern. Two good sources of info:
* google …. Adapt2030 Mini Ice Age Conversations (MIAC)
* Youtube channel .,.. maverickstar reloaded


38 Matthew Brownell July 10, 2019 at 8:08 AM

Kelly Rooney , Matt W:

Could it be that you’re taking a vastly complex and multifaceted set of variables, affixing a badge of “science” to a thin-veneered political eco-agenda, to be subsidized by a mandatory, extortionist “carbon credits” [taxes].?

You are aware that the climate “data” used as the Paris Climate Accord was found to be fraudulently doctored?

Note to both of you, if you’re going to use My Southborough as a platform for lame attempts to marginalize those who disagree with you, at least strive to be original , and have the common courtesy to be creative and insightful.

Matt W: Sorry I disappoint you. But I can assure you, “the lives of [my] children “do NOT depend on adopting the Whack-a-Doodle Climate Change tablets of your globalist, authoritarian, EuroSocialist PEZ dispenser.

If you want to pin your hopes and America’s future on bartenders from the Bronx, corrupt Moon Bats like Elizabeth Warren, and skateboarding phenoms aka “Beto”. . . have at it.

Good Luck with that.

As a general observation, today’s Democratic Party agenda is driven by those who are so far Left, they’re within swimming distance of Hawaii.


39 Kelly Roney July 11, 2019 at 2:26 AM

Could it be you’re a willing dupe of fossil fuel interests, Mr. Brooooownell?

Yep, looks that way.

To your credit, you attempt to assert one single, solitary fact, among all your ridiculous rhetoric. Of course, you only get small partial credit – not enough to pass, sorry – because your alleged fact is false. The climate data was not doctored. Fox and other propagandists of the current “conservative” stupidity took a few comments out of context, that’s all.

I use quotes around “conservative” because current “conservatives” don’t conserve anything except the ability of wealthy people to extract more and more money from the middle class. I do the same with “free market.” It’s extraordinary how many people who think they believe in free markets don’t know the first thing about them. The efficiency advantages in the resource allocation of a free market are only guaranteed if all actors in that market are atomic. How many such markets exist today? Zero! Economists used to use agriculture as their example, but now it too is dominated by a few corporations with vast power to move the market that results.

I’m sure this makes no sense to you, either.


40 Frank Crowell July 10, 2019 at 2:25 PM

Mr. Brownell – two thumbs up on that reply


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