Feb. 26th Roundup: Senate Hears DeLeo’s GreenWorks Bill

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– DEVELOPING: Baker Admin Releases Draft Letter Establishing Net-zero Emissions Target: The Baker Administration today (2/26) released a draft of its formal determination letter establishing net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as the Commonwealth’s new legal emissions limit for 2050. The release of the letter begins a month-long public comment period during which administration (lead by EEA) will seek public input regarding the details of the state’s new net-zero limit. More info on the net-zero proposal, and how to provide input on it, is here.

– BREAKING: “Gas, Corporate, TNC Taxes Anchor House Transpo $$$ Bill” (Matt Murphy and Chris Lisinski, State House News Service): “A 5-cent increase in the gas tax and higher corporate taxes will be the centerpiece of a major revenue bill that House Democratic leaders will ask legislators to vote on next week as part of a package that could raise over $600 million in new funding for transportation…The bill proposes to raise the state’s 24-cent gas tax to 29 cents per gallon, generating an estimated $150 million to $175 million in new revenue. The tax on diesel fuel, which is currently the same as regular gasoline, would climb 9 cents to 33 cents.” [$]

– Greenworks bill gets Senate hearing, activists urge action: On Tuesday (2/25) environmental activists flooded (pun intended) a Senate Bonding committee hearing in support for the $1.3 billion GreenWorks bonding bill that seeks to help municipalities adapt to climate change impacts. The focus of activists included increasing the use of microgrids, which advocates point out may help the state meet its 2050 climate goals, and the need to help vulnerable communities prepare for climate change. Speaking to the committee, Steve Long of the Nature Conservancy explained how climate change funding is tenuous and that the solution is to “ensure mitigation and adaptation are complementary and not at cross-purposes”. He went on to elaborate on how Greenworks complements the Senate’s Next Gen Climate approach and provides one way to fund these goals. [Read more about Greenworks, and its interesting approach to bond funding climate adaptation, here]

The hearing is significant from a political perspective because it signals a willingness for the Senate to consider GreenWorks legislation, which is among Speaker DeLeo’s legislative priorities this session. This may open the doors for Speaker DeLeo and other House leaders to consider the Senate’s Next Generation Climate legislation, which is before the House.

– “Local option” pension divestment bills moving forward: On Monday (1/24), a House version of a bill to allow independent pension systems in the state to divest from fossil fuels moved one step closer to a vote. Sponsored by Rep Fernandes, the bill (H.4440) was redrafted and released favorably from the Joint Committee on Public Service. In a statement to the Roundup from Political Director Randi Mail, MassDivest said they support the redraft and because it includes language requested by key stakeholders.

– “Youth Groups Rally For Jobs Funding, Environmental Justice” (Chris Van Buskirk, SHNS via WGBH): [read the article]


– “Columbia Gas of Mass. will plead guilty to federal charges in wake of Merrimack Valley explosions: Read the allegations” (Melissa Hanson, MassLive): “Columbia Gas of Massachusetts is planning to plead guilty to federal charges in connection with a series of gas explosions and fires that caused chaos in the Merrimack Valley in 2018, killing one person and destroying homes.”

– “Court Denies Tribe’s Request For Environmental Review Of Long Island Bridge Project” (Quincy Walters, WBUR): [read the article]

– “Cape coalition asks towns to declare ‘climate change emergency’” (Doug Fraser, Cape Cod Times): [read the article]

– “‘Carbon Countdown’ forum to be held in Winchester” (John Laidler, Boston Globe) [read the article] [$]

– “Push for better storage of spent Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station fuel” (Christine Legere, Cape Cod Times): [read the article]


– “What did you do when you knew climate change threatened our world?” by Rachel Kyte, via the Boston Globe. [$]

 “We can choose to survive the climate crisis” by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, via the Boston Globe. [$]

– “In support of House Bill H.897” by Bill Stubblefield, via the Greenfield Recorder.

– “Looking for climate leadership” by Mark Dullea, via the Gloucester Daily Times.


– “Lawmakers seek more info about capping ‘Foul Area’ in Massachusetts Bay” (Danny McDonald and David Abel): Senators Warren and Markey, and Congressman Kenendy, sent letters to the EPA expressing concern about the possible negative environmental impact of the EPA’s toxic waste clean-up project off the coast of Massachusetts. Their letters come after a report from the Boston Globe detailing the EPA’s project to decontaminate the mile-wide toxic site that includes waste from the Manhattan project. Read the Boston Globe’s reporting on the clean-up here. [$]


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

  1. “13 people arrested in protest at Weymouth compressor station site, police say”
  2. “How Clean Is Massachusetts’ Clean Peak Rule? Not So Much, New Study Says”
  3. “Turning the tide: South Shore legislators are on the front lines of climate change”

Read the full Roundup here from February 21st, 2020 here.

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Featured Image: Maria Virginia Olano, Climate XChange