July 23rd Roundup: Beacon Hill Leaders Advance (Some) Climate, Energy Bills

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– GreenWorks House Vote Scheduled For Tomorrow: Continuing its rapid progress, Speaker DeLeo’s GreenWorks bill (H.3987) is on the schedule for a vote before the full House during formal session tomorrow (Wednesday, July 24th). The bill has changed somewhat since first being introduced in May 2019, but the politics behind it has not.

Read Climate XChange’s NEW review of its changes, and a summary of where it will go from here

– Meschino Roadmap Bill Receives Favorable Committee Recommendation: Rep. Meschino’s ‘2050 Roadmap’ bill (H.3983) was reported out favorably from the Joint Environment Committee yesterday evening. The bill updates the GWSA, changing the state’s goal from 80% emissions reductions by 2050 to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. It also sets intermediate goals for 2030 and 2040, requires state planning to reach net-zero by 2050, and increases state reporting on climate progress beyond what the GWSA requires, among other things.

This is only the second major climate bill originating from the House to make it out of committee this session (the other being GreenWorks). Also, earlier this year the Roadmap bill received the endorsement of the House Progressive Caucus. The bill is now before the House Ways & Means Committee, possibly its last major stop before going to the House floor for a vote.

– Another Legislative Success for Green Budget Effort: The legislature’s final version of next year’s state budget has passed done, marking a victory for the Green Budget Coalition. Even after removing earmarks, the Coalition achieved its goal for all four major line items in the conference committee’s final budget. This includes; $2 million for the Division of Ecological Restoration (they asked for $1.75m), $31m for the Dep. of Environmental Protection’s administration (what was asked for), $1.52m for Dept of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) watershed projects (they asked for $1.5 million), and $47m for DCR parks (what was asked for). The budget now goes before Governor Baker who must choose whether to keep these line-items or not.

– Joint Energy Committee Hearing Today, Focus on 100% Renewable Energy: Legislation to move the state rapidly towards 100% renewable energy use is set to receive a hearing today (Tuesday, July 23rd) at 1 pm in State House Room B-1. The bills (H.2836/S.1958) set a goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2035 (using a new, accelerated RPS), and 100 percent renewable energy economy-wide (including heating and transportation) by 2045. 

Oher bills will also be considered at this hearing, including those relating to the net-zero stretch code (H.2865/S.1935) and zero-emission vehicle fleets (H.2872/S.1927).

– Senate Energy Chair, Members Release Solar Bills From Committee: Two Senate solar bills have been reported out of the Joint Energy Committee, at the request of the committee’s Senate members. The first (S.1957) is a bill requiring rooftop solar to be installed on new residential and commercial buildings. The other (S.1995) requires solar on all roofs of new and renovated buildings that are owned or operated by the state. Because only the Senate versions were reported out committee, they now head to Senate Ways & Means. Their companion bills in the House are were not similarly reported out.


– “29 senators urge DEP to block Weymouth gas facility” (Chris Lisinski, SHNS via Commonwealth Magazine): “Nearly three-quarters of the Senate penned a letter Thursday urging the Department of Environmental Protection commissioner to rescind approval for a controversial natural gas compressor station in Weymouth, a significant escalation from what had been mostly staunch local opposition.”

– “Four Pressing Questions About GreenWorks, Answered” (Tim Cronin, Climate XChange): “Despite only being a bill for about two months, GreenWorks (H.3987) is rapidly moving through Massachusetts’ legislative process. We break down the changes made to GreenWorks since its first filing in May 2019, examine its political implications, and try to understand the next steps on its journey from bill to law.”

– “Gas company missed deadline for testing at proposed compressor site” (Jessica Trufant, Wicked Local Weymouth): “Residents and officials fighting a proposed natural-gas compressor station on the banks of the Fore River say it’s unlikely that construction of the controversial project could start this year after the gas company missed a deadline to submit additional hazardous waste soil testing.”

– “Conservationists Sue To Curb Boston School Bus Idling” (Lexi Peery, WBUR’s Earthwhile):The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) has filed a lawsuit over excessive idling against the company that provides school buses for Boston Public Schools.


– “The New Face of Climate Denial” by Michael Green & Maria Virginia Olano, via Climate XChange.

– “Climate change bills: It’s not either/or” by Rob A. DeLeo, Via Commonwealth Magazine.

– “Six places where carbon pricing is working” by Brendan Frank, via the National Observer

– “State government seeks community input on major transport and climate initiative” by Gari De Ramos, via Worcester Magazine.


– “Report: By 2100, Mass. Could Have 26 Days A Year That Feel Hotter Than 100 Degrees” (Lexi Peery, WBUR’s Earthwhile): Massachusetts is going to see more hot and humid days in the coming decades, according to a new analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists.”

– “Is asbestos a silent killer in Massachusetts?” (Matthew Reid, Southcoast Today): “What do schools, churches, post offices, movie theaters, hospitals and barbershops all have in common? They are all places you might visit during the course of your day. They’re also places that could very well contain high levels of asbestos.”


– “Pacheco raises concerns on offshore wind pricing” (Bruce Mohl, Commonwealth Magazine):Sen. Marc Pacheco of Taunton raised an interesting policy issue on Monday when he spoke out against a provision in the Legislature’s budget that would tweak the way the state procures offshore wind power.”

– “AIM to Baker: Modify the offshore wind price cap” (Bruce Mohl, Commonwealth Magazine): One of the original architects of the declining price cap on offshore wind solicitations is now calling on the Baker administration to scale it back.”

– “Vineyard Wind says project at risk” as federal uncertainty increases (Bruce Mohl, Commonwealth Magazine): “Vineyard Wind says its offshore wind farm could be in jeopardy if the federal government fails to approve its environmental impact statement over the next six weeks.”

– “Massachusetts Legislature Passes Bipartisan Bill to Advance Vineyard Wind Project” (Cape Cod Today): “The Massachusetts Legislature has enacted bi-partisan legislation co-sponsored by Senator Julian Cyr (D – Truro) and Rep. William L. Crocker (R – Barnstable) authorizing the Barnstable Town Council to grant an easement for a portion of Covell’s Beach that will allow for construction of the interconnection between Vineyard Wind, the United States’ first large-scale wind farm, and the New England power grid.”


– “New Jersey is finally back in RGGI, and that’s a good start” (Noa Dalzell, Climate XChange): “After an eight-year hiatus, New Jersey is officially back in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). On June 17th, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) adopted two rules prompting the state to rejoin the electric-sector cap-and-invest program. The move, made under the directive of Gov. Phil Murphy (D), was several years in the making.”

– “New York takes lead in climate change fight” (Marie J. French, Politico): Move over California and Massachusetts, New York has emerged as a national leader in battling climate change.”

– “In Unanimous Vote, N.H. Supreme Court Upholds Northern Pass Denial” (Annie Ropeik, New Hampshire Public Radio via WBUR’s Earthwhile): “The New Hampshire Supreme Court has upheld state regulators’ rejection of the Northern Pass transmission line. The unanimous decision Friday morning will likely mark the end of the massive Eversource project as currently proposed.”

– “Judge rules against oil companies to keep climate liability case in Rhode Island” (Miranda Green, the Hill): A federal judge ruled against multiple oil and gas companies Monday, deciding that Rhode Island’s novel climate liability case can be tried in the state.”


– “Daily on Energy: GOP-aligned groups make the fiscal case for a carbon tax on Capitol Hill” (Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner): “The conservative group Alliance for Market Solutions is set to make the fiscal case for a carbon tax with a Capitol Hill briefing for congressional staff. The Tuesday briefing is mostly focused on wooing Republicans who have acknowledged climate change as a problem, but haven’t committed to embracing anything more ambitious than research and development investments to promote clean energy “innovation”.


– “Let’s pay every American to reduce emissions” by James K. Boyce, via Politico’s The Agenda.

– “A Tribute to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens” by Pat Gallagher, via the Sierra Club Magazine.

– “Ditching fossil fuels can tackle affordable housing and climate change” by Carl Pope & Bruce Nilles, via the Hill.