Oct. 10th Roundup: Baker Clashes with Legislature on Transportation Funding

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Author’s Note: Welcome back! After a week-long hiatus (where I joined the Climate XChange team to launch new efforts in New Mexico), I’m excited to be back and focusing on Massachusetts. Over the next few weeks expect to see a slow rollout of new changes for the Roundup, largely stemming from comments collected during our user survey last month. Today I’m excited to showcase a new condensed format, with only a few summary highlights on the top headlines.

As always, please send comments, suggestions, tips, or anything else directly to me at tim.cronin@cabaus.org.


– State Lawmakers Take Aim at Recycling Crisis: With the cost of recycling everything from plastic to paper on the rise, adding pressure to local budgets and frustrating environmental groups, state lawmakers have proposed a slew of bills seeking to address this issue. One bill proposed by Rep Josh Cutler (H.745) targets paper and packaging waste. “With the recycling market so volatile, it’s more important than ever that producers take greater responsibility for their own packaging they generate,” said Rep Cutler. “This bill represents an important step forward.” This proposed law, and others, are set to get a hearing before the Joint Environmental Committee on October 15th starting at 1:00 pm [details on hearing].

– Transportation Emissions Hearing Set for Beacon Hill: Also getting a hearing on October 15th are bills focusing on transportation emissions. One bill sponsored by Rep Michelle Ciccolo (H.2982) seeks to streamline the process around deciding where electric vehicle charging stations may be sited. Another bill, sponsored by Senator Marc Pacheco (S.2130) seeks a simple fix to state fuel standards with the goal of reducing the carbon intensity of existing transportation fuels. The Joint Transportation Committee will be hearing testimony on these and other bills on October 15th starting at 1:00 pm [details on hearing]

– Baker To Name New Climate Change Head: In an email to colleagues, David Ismay announced that he is to be named Massachusetts’ latest Undersecretary for Climate Change. Formerly a staff attorney at the Conservation Law Foundation working on clean energy and climate change, Ismay will now work alongside Governor Baker’s Energy & Environmental Affair’s Secretary Kathleen Theoharides (appointed in April 2019).

– “Lawmakers ask gas company to pull compressor station plans” (Jessica Trufant, The Patriot Ledger): “Members of Weymouth’s Congressional delegation are asking the CEO of a giant energy company to reconsider his company’s decision to build a 7,700-horsepower natural gas compressor station on the banks of the Fore River.”

– “Mass. gas prices fall as policymakers eye taxes, emissions” (Michael P. Norton, SHNS via Worcester Telegram): [read the article]

– “Baker, Legislature at odds on transportation funding” (Bruce Mohl, Commonwealth Magazine): “…Both Straus and Boncore appear to be leaning toward an increase in the gas tax, and possibly other revenue-raising measures as well. Both are wary of waiting for the revenue from the carbon fee on automobile fuels.”

– “State rep pushes bill to help farmers combat effects of climate change” (Cesareo Contreras,
 Daily News): “Rep. Kate Hogan, D-Stow, has filed a new bill that, if passed, will allow the state to create a special commission tasked with helping the state’s more than 7,000 local farms” mitigate against the impacts of climate change.

– “Healey joins fight over auto emissions” (Christian M. Wade, Gloucester Daily Times) [read the article]


– “State environmental head talks local impact of climate change” (Jon Winkler, The Lowell Sun): “The Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs sat down with Sun reporters and editors Thursday afternoon to talk about the numerous threats stemming from climate change and the steps her office and that of Gov. Baker have taken to curb those issues.”

– “Protests continue in western Massachusetts in fight for climate change” (Adam Strzempko, WWLP) [Read the article]

– “Forum on climate crisis planned in Franklin” (Heather McCarron, Wicked Local Franklin) [read the article]


– “Time for Massachusetts to follow SouthCoast’s lead on the environment” by Sabrina Davis and Alex Papali, via the Herald News.

– “Column: Where is the sense of urgency?” by Jack Clarke, via the Salem News.

– “When it comes to the climate crisis, don’t hope — act” by Marjorie Lee, via the Boston Globe.


– “Environmental group says the I-93 South HOV lane north of Boston should not be open to all traffic” (John R. Ellement, the Boston Globe): “The Baker administration is violating the Clean Air Act and state law by opening the HOV lane on Interstate 93 north of Boston to all traffic, and it may soon have to defend that action in court, an environmental organization said Tuesday.”

– “Tracking The Impacts Of Climate Change On Cape Cod” (Greater Boston Staff, WGBH): “A new multimedia piece from the Boston Globe, “At the Edge of a Warming World,” chronicles the dangers facing the region as climate change leads to warmer waters, changing weather patterns, and increased stresses on native wildlife.”

– “Climate change clears path for new mosquito in Massachusetts. It can carry Zika, dengue and other tropical diseases.” (Jeannette Hinkle
, MetroWest Daily News) [read the article]

– “Toxic chemicals are found in blades of artificial turf” (David Abel, Boston Globe) [read the article]

– “The State Of The Cape’s Coastal And Fresh Water Is ‘Alarming,’ Report Concludes” (Miriam Wasser, WBUR’s Earthwhile) [read the article]


On Friday, September 27th Climate XChange senior researcher Jonah Kurman-Faber released a sweeping report examining the role carbon pricing policies can play in achieving a just transition. The following is a series of articles and summaries that explore this report, and what it can teach us about climate action:

– Summary: “Carbon Pricing in a Just Transition” [read the summary & report]

– Part 1: “Addressing Community Needs through Smart Climate Policy” [read the article]

– Part 2: “Clearing the Air: Local Pollution as a Social Justice Issue” [read the article]


– “Fridays are for the Future, at least for the Youth Climate Movement” (Christian Morris, Climate XChange) [read the article]

– “Provincetown teacher is one of six accredited climate change teachers in U.S.” (Provincetown Wicked Local) [read the article]


– “Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker joins state transportation heads to pitch $18 billion bond bill” (Tanner Stening, MassLive): “State lawmakers held the first public discussion on Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker’s sweeping transportation bond bill aimed at accelerating investments in projects across the state that seek to reduce congestion, improve public transit and cut greenhouse gas emissions… The bill also proposes using the developing regional Transportation Climate Initiative’s “cap-and-invest” scheme as a means of offsetting costs.”

– “Key Takeaways from the Latest RGGI Investment Report” (Bruce Ho, NRDC.org) [read the article]


– “Study: Northeast clean energy plans inadequate to meet climate goals” (E&E News, via Energy News Network): “New England’s six states are falling short of the low-carbon energy deployment needed to reach their shared 2050 climate goals, according to a new analysis from the Brattle Group.”

– “Massachusetts’ Clean Peak Standard is ‘common sense’ that should spread across America” (Andy Colthorpe, Energy Storage News) [read the article]

– “Massachusetts leads the nation in shifting to clean energy” (Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News) [read the article]

– “Biggest Battery In New England Is Unveiled In Nantucket” (Bruce Gellerman, WBUR’s Earthwhile) [read the article]


– “Joe Kennedy agrees to a climate change debate — but not the one Ed Markey wants” ( Nik DeCosta-Klipa, Boston.com): “Rep. Joe Kennedy III accepted Sen. Ed Markey’s climate change debate proposal on Friday, but his campaign took issue with the originally scheduled event. And while the other campaigns appear somewhat amenable to their objections, the four candidates still haven’t settled to terms.”

– “Elizabeth Warren calls for environmental justice in addressing climate change as part of new campaign proposal” (Ryan Wangman, Boston Globe): “Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren released a plan Wednesday calling for environmental justice in responding to climate change, proposing steps to reduce what she called the disproportionate effect that pollution has on low-income and minority communities.”

– “On Climate Change, Biden Has a Record and a Plan. Young Activists Want More.” (Lisa Friedman, New York Times) [read the article]


– “Pennsylvania is joining RGGI — and that’s big news” (Noa Dalzell, Climate XChange): “The state’s entry into RGGI marks the program’s largest expansion since its inception more than a decade ago, as well as the first time a major fossil fuel producer will be a part of the initiative.”

– “eXchange Southwest: Hundreds convene to discuss smart, ambitious climate policy” (Maria Virginia Olano, Climate XChange) [read the article]


– “The Climate Leadership Council Proposal: Here’s What You Need to Know” (Noa Dalzell, Climate XChange) [read the article]

– “Ed Markey wants US to admit at least 50,000 refugees a year fleeing climate change” (Ryan Wangman, Boston Globe) [read the article]


Missed the last CXC Roundup? Here are the top local climate headlines from last week:

  • A Climate Strike For the Books
  • “Pacheco, climate change committee chair, laments lack of action on climate bills”
  • “Car Pollution In Boston Area Neighborhoods Poses Health Risk To Residents, New Research Finds”

Read the full Roundup here from September 24th, 2019 here.

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