July 9th Roundup: Bernie Sanders & Carbon Pricing

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– “MetroWest lawmakers team up to combat climate change, focus on large buildings” (Cesareo Contreras, MetroWest Daily News): “A bill filed by state Sen. Becca Rausch, D-Needham, and state Rep. Maria Robinson, D-Framingham, would require property owners of all buildings that contain at least 15,000 square feet of space to adhere to new reporting requirements and energy efficiency standards.”

– “Changes to Massachusetts Plastic Bag Bill Anger Environmentalists” (Karen Brown, Connecticut Public Radio): “Environmental activists are livid about revisions to a plastic bag bill in Massachusetts, made by a legislative committee, that they say is worse than doing nothing. Both the old and new versions of the bill would ban thin, single-use plastic bags. But in the new version, retailers no longer have to charge a small fee for paper bags, and they can offer thicker plastic bags.”

– “State lawmakers consider ways to fight climate change” (Jodi Reed, 22WWLP): “State lawmakers are looking at proposals to reduce air pollution in Massachusetts. Right now, the legislature is considering two bills that aim to make Massachusetts more eco-friendly, but they could affect both ends of the state differently.”

– Hearing tomorrow on revenue bills related to the environment: Tomorrow (Wednesday, July 10th) at 2 pm before the Joint Revenue Committee there will be a public hearing on revenue legislation relating to environment and agriculture. Bills include those relating to donations to countries impacted by climate change (H.2414), those relating to urban agriculture (H.2551), and property taxes on solar and wind systems (H.2403/S.1763).

Another public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, July 16th at 11:00 am before the Joint Municipalities Committee. The hearing focuses on local zoning but includes bills impacting clean energy. One such bill seeks to reduce the ability of condo associations to restrict access to solar on residential property (H.1812), and another seeks a ban on gas pipeline siting near homes (H.1810).


– “Massachusetts mayor says access to cheap gas not worth the cost to climate” (Sarah Shemkus, Energy News Network): “A Massachusetts mayor is siding with safety and environmental groups in a pipeline debate that’s pitting climate fears against local economic concerns. Holyoke, Massachusetts’ municipal utility has halted new natural gas hookups because it can’t meet growing demand under existing pipeline constraints…. The city’s mayor, though, says that expansion should not be built. In mid-June, Mayor Alex Morse wrote to federal regulators asking them to deny the project because it would increase emissions and run counter to the city’s goal of meeting its energy needs with clean and renewable resources.”


– “Biomass should not be part of state’s future energy production” by Nancy Polan, via the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

– “Protecting carbon by protecting forests” by George Wuerthner, via the Herald and News.

– “Letter: Carbon fee a useful tool to fight climate change” by Anna Gooding-Call, the Salem News.

– “The case for a World Carbon Bank” by Kenneth Rogoff, via the Boston Globe.


– “A New Wave of Environmentalists Want to Give Nature Legal Rights” (Jackie Fynn Mogensen, MotherJones): “Ships and corporations have legal standing. Should ecosystems?… Rights-of-nature laws often work by appointing a guardian to advocate for a particular ecosystem or natural feature, much like a parent represents a child’s interests in court. The guardian can sue on the ecosystem’s behalf. If the ecosystem is awarded damages, the money might go into a trust dedicated to funding its restoration.”


– “Will Bernie Sanders Stick With A Carbon Tax In His Push For A Green New Deal?” (Rachel M. Cohen, The Intercept): “Now, as the 2020 presidential candidate [Senator Bernie Sanders] prepares to release his climate change plan, a key element to watch out for is whether Sanders will abandon the tool [a carbon price] he’s heralded for years to combat global warming, or integrate it into his push for a Green New Deal. As he makes this decision, Sanders is wading into an increasingly contentious debate among environmentalists about the right role for market-based solutions in progressive policy.”

– “Climate activist Tom Steyer may revive 2020 election bid” (Ben Geman, Axios): “Billionaire Democratic activist and donor Tom Steyer is preparing to jump into the presidential race as soon as this week, reversing his January decision to stay out, according to several reports. Why it matters: A well-funded Steyer run would likely include a heavy focus on climate change, though it would be broader.”


– “It’s Not Over Yet: Oregon Governor Will Push Forward Cap-and-Invest” (Noa Dalzell, Climate XChange): “Oregon Governor Kate Brown (D) announced on Monday that she is prepared to use her executive order privileges to push forward the state’s contentious cap-and-invest plan. The legislation, which would make Oregon just the second state in the nation to put an economy-wide price on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, was derailed after 11 Republican Senators fled the Capitol for nine days, hiding out in nearby states. Without a 20-Senator quorum, a vote could not be held.”

– “24 Governors Call on Trump to Halt Rollback on Rules for Clean Cars” (Hiroko Tabuchi, NY Times): “Two dozen governors from across the country, including two Republicans and governors of four states that voted for President Trump in 2016, are set to urge his administration on Tuesday to halt one of his biggest climate policy rollbacks: the weakening of federal clean car rules.”

– “It’s New York vs. California in a New Climate Race. Who Will Win?” (Brad Plumer, NY Times): “California and New York have recently set some of the world’s most ambitious climate targets, aiming to slash their net emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases down to nearly zero in just three short decades. Now the race is on to see if either state can pull off this feat — something that no major economy in the world has yet achieved. For now, neither state has a clear advantage, and both must overcome unique obstacles to clean up their power plants, cars and buildings.”

– “California Senate passes $21B wildfire fund legislation, as Newsom pushes for final vote Friday” (Robert Walton, Utility Dive): “The California Senate on Monday passed AB 1054, legislation Gov. Gavin Newsom, D, is rapidly pushing to help utilities cover wildfire damage liabilities through a new $21 billion liquidity fund.”

– “Ads spent on the CMP corridor topped $1.8 million. The source of much of that money is a secret.” (Josh Keefe, Bangor Daily News): “Supporters and opponents of Central Maine Power Co.’s proposed $1 billion transmission line have combined to spend at least $1.8 million on TV, Facebook and radio advertising since late last year, according to a Bangor Daily News review of FCC filings and Facebook’s digital ad library… The amount underscores the high stakes of the debate over the line, which could fundamentally alter New England’s electricity market.”


– “Fact-checking Trump’s speech on the US environment” (Daniel Dale, Michael Nedelman & Holmes Lybrand, CNN): “President Donald Trump sought to highlight his administration’s record on environmental issues during a speech from the White House on Monday. Here’s a rolling list of claims Trump made during his remarks.”

For a detailed look at President Trump’s climate record click here.

– “6 months in, where are the energy bills?” (Jeremy Dillon & Geof Koss, E&E News): “Congress has not enacted comprehensive energy policy legislation in more than a decade, and as Capitol Hill braces for a three-week sprint to the August recess, the record is unlikely to change. More than six months into the 116th Congress, the Democratic-controlled House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Republican-held Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee have not cleared any energy-specific bills. That comes despite the Green New Deal and a flurry of rhetoric and bill introductions surrounding clean energy research and development, as climate change considerations increasingly surface to the top of the legislative radar for both parties.”

– “Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez Team Up on Climate Change Resolution” (Laura Litvan & Steven T. Dennis, Bloomberg): “Senator Bernie Sanders is teaming up with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on a resolution calling for “massive” federal government action to reverse climate change.”

– “Health groups sue over Trump rollback of Obama-era emissions rule” (Rebecca Beitsch, the Hill): “Two major health organizations on Monday sued the Trump administration over its rollback of an Obama-era rule on power plant emissions. The American Lung Association and the American Public Health Association are challenging President Trump’s newly unveiled American Clean Energy (ACE) rule, the administration’s replacement for the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.”


– “Oregon may point way for Ireland’s climate-change policy” by Eimear Cotter, via the Irish Times.

– “We might get a climate debate after all. Here are 10 questions to ask candidates by David Roberts, via Vox.

– “What Questions Do You Want Answered About Climate Change?” by Maggie Koerth-Baker, via FiveThirtyEight.

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