June 12th Roundup: Healey challenges DPU on fossil fuels

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–  Attorney General asks DPU to lead on clean energy transition, investigate natural gas (Tim Cronin): Citing the state’s legally binding goal to reduce emissions by 2050, Attorney General Maura Healey filed an 18-page petition with the Baker administration’s Department of Public Utilities (DPU). The petition asks the DPU to “formally assess the future of the natural gas industry in Massachusetts” (Colin Young, SHNS), and to use this information to inform its decisions “as the Commonwealth transitions from fossil fuels to a clean, increasingly electrified, and decarbonized energy future by 2050.” In a statement to the State House News Service, the DPU said it is still determining whether the request is within its jurisdiction.

– Massachusetts lawmakers join in opposition to latest EPA rollback (Tim Cronin): Twenty-one Massachusetts lawmakers, including Sen Chandler, Rep Ciccolo, and Rep Gentile signed a national letter drafted by NCEL that calls on the federal EPA to reverse its decision to suspend regulatory compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is the vulnerable populations in our communities that are most at risk,” says the letter. “These same groups are put more at risk by the EPA’s reckless decision.” [Read the full letter]

– Bill changing state EV procurement focus moves forward (Tim Cronin): A bill to increase the use of zero-emission vehicles by state agencies (H.2809) received a favorable report by House members of the Joint Energy Committee. Originally filed by former Rep Benson, the bill changes existing requirements on state agencies to purchase “hybrid or alternative fuel” and updates it to “zero emission.” It also requires state vehicle fleets to be 50% zero-emission by 2026. The bill now goes to the House Ways & Means committee, an important step before being voted on by the full House.

– Pacheco bill seeking clean fuel standard advances in Senate (Tim Cronin): A bill to require state transportation officials to develop and implement a clean fuel standard (S.2130), was reported favorably by Senate members of the Joint Energy Committee. The bill is intended to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels, while accounting for the full lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of all fuels. The bill now goes to the Senate Ways & Means committee.

– “Massachusetts advocacy groups ask legislature to address inequity in solar policy” (Kelsey Misbrener, Solar Power World): “A broad coalition of social justice, clean energy and climate groups from across the Commonwealth signed onto a letter this week calling on the Legislature to develop bolder and more just solar policy.”


– “Celebration May Be Premature For Gas Project Opponents” (Michael P. Norton, SHNS via WGBH): [read the article]

– “Compost Collection Talks Reach Impasse Over Acreage” (Maxim Tamarov, Winthrop Transcript): [read the article]


– “An Open Letter to the Union of Concerned Scientists: On Black Death, Black Silencing, and Black Fugitivity” An Affirmation of Black Life From a Concerned Black Human, by Ruth Tyson.

– “Nations around the world are planning for a green recovery. Is the U.S. falling behind? by Carlie Clarcq, via climate XChange.

– “How the Coronavirus Pandemic Could Exacerbate Eco-Anxiety” by Christian Morris, via Climate XChange.

– “’Racial Justice Is Climate Justice’: Why The Climate Movement Needs To Be Anti-Racist” by Frederick Hewett, via WBUR’s Earthwhile.

– “Trump gutted protections for the Atlantic’s only marine monument — now what?” by Miriam Goldstein, via the Boston Globe. [$]

– “Now is the right time for our legislators to act on climate change” by Cynthia Nelson, via the Dorchester Reporter.


– “Trump lifts commercial fishing ban in protected areas” (Michael P. Norton, SHNS via Southcoast Today): [read the article]

– “Dead And Dying Trees Have More Methane In Their Soil, Study Finds” (Barbara Moran, WBUR): [read the article]

– “High pollen counts create extra bad allergy season this spring” (Caroline Enos, Boston Globe): [read the article] [$]


– Boston pastor focuses on connection between racial justice, climate justice (Martha Merrow): In a recent interview in Reuters, Boston Reverend Mariama White-Hammond highlighted her climate advocacy work and how it is guided by her combined experiences as a black woman, a faith leader, and a believer in science. “There are deep connections between why we live in a world where we recognize that the way we’re living is hurting peoples’ lungs … and why a police officer would think it’s okay to put his knee in someone’s neck until they asphyxiate,” Rev. White-Hammond said. [read the article]

– Report: Encore Casino in area with deep history of “environmental injustice” (Martha Merrow): In an independent report, Seth Meldon highlights the extensive history of environmental injustice and racism in the Mystic Valley watershed and the location of the current Encore Casino. Titled “the Watershed,” his study explores the historic interaction between the natural ecosystem and the human social system within the Mystic River Watershed, “while referencing various related environmental justice related events, research, politics, and regulation in the United States more broadly.” [read the full report]

– “Unequal Impact: The Deep Links Between Racism and Climate Change” (Beth GardIiner, Yale Environment 360): [read the article]


– UN Report: gender, climate, and COVID threats tied (Martha Merrow): A new report from the United Nations Environment Programme takes a closer look at some of the communities “where the combined effects of climate change, conflict, gender inequality, and now the COVID-19 pandemic are posing grave threats to the security of residents, especially women and girls.” The study, titled Gender, Climate, and Security: Sustaining Inclusive Peace on the Front Lines of Climate Change, found that gender norms and power structures influence the way women and men are affected and react to risks caused by climate change and insecurity. [read the full report]

– “Plastic Is the Hero of Coronavirus, Says the Plastics Industry” (Leslie Kaufman, Bloomberg Green): [read the article]


– “It’s Time for Environmental Studies to Own Up to Erasing Black People” (Wanjiku Gatheru, VICE): [read the article]


– “Webinar Recap: Decarbonizing the Transportation Sector” (Carlie Clarcq, Climate XChange): [watch the recap]


– Boston Sunrise chapter endorses Ayanna Pressley, state rep candidates (Martha Merrow): The Sunrise Movement’s Boston chapter announced its initial endorsements for 2020. These include sitting Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, and four individuals running for State Representative: Jordan Meehan, Erika Uyterhoeven, Joe Gravellese, and Brandy Fluker Oakley. “These candidates fully understand the intersections of #RacialJustice, #EconomicJustice, and #ClimateJustice. And will champion bold climate policies like the #GND!” the movement tweeted on Monday. First organized in 2017, the Sunrise Movement is an American youth-led political movement that champions political action on climate change.

– “Three Democrats for Kennedy seat talk climate change, renewable energy, environmental protection” (Zane Razzaq, MetroWest Daily News) [read the article].


– “Borrowed time: Climate change threatens U.S. mortgage market” (Zack Colman and Katy O’Donnell, POLITICO): [read the article]

– “Democrats prepare to push clean energy in recovery packages” (Anthony Adragna, POLITICO): [read the article]


We’re excited to introduce a new Roundup section dedicated to sharing local guest perspectives from those on the front line of climate action. Email martha@climate-xchange.org or tim.cronin@cabaus.org with suggestions for guest columnists you’d like to hear from.


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

  1. Key committee (again) extends the deadline for climate bills, advocates face constricting legislative calendar
  2. Federal court vacates Weymouth Compressor’s air quality permit
  3. “Environmental Perceptions are Important for Driving Action — Here’s Why”

Read the full Roundup here from June 4th, 2020 here.

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Featured Image: Photo by Science in HD on Unsplash