June 17th Roundup: MA environmental officials violated Clean Water Act

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– State Auditor: Mass. environmental officials violated Clean Water Act: A report from State Auditor Suzanne Bump outlines how the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) failed to publicly release water quality testing data since 2015. The unreleased data, which is required by the federal Clean Water Act, includes information on pollution levels within Massachusetts watersheds. In a statement from Bump: “Unfortunately, the failure to provide important information has left the public with a murky picture of water quality in the state.” In a statement to the Boston Globe, a DEP spokesperson said they need extra time to “fully validate” their data. Some local watershed advocates blamed a chronic lack of funding for the DEP, and other state environmental departments, for the issue.


– “Effort to keep state’s largest power plant open fuels concern about climate, public health” (David Abel, Boston Globe): [read the article]

– “Comerford holding panel on public health, environmental justice” (Greenfield Recorder): [read the article]

– “Electrical Aggregation reaches last hurdle at Town Meeting” (Quinn Kelly, Cohasset Wicked Local): [read the article]

– “Acton synagogue building solar canopy” (Acton Wicked Local): [read the article]


– “Some things worth doing now” by Senator Michael Barrett, via Waltham Wicked Local.

– “New transmission infrastructure needed for offshore wind” by Eric Hines, via Commonwealth Magazine.


– Dr. Cruz: Climate change is already making allergy season much, much worse (Martha Merrow): With the start of summer right around the corner, allergy symptoms for many are arriving in full force. Thanks to climate change allergists are raising the alarm longer and more potent allergy seasons. With warming temperatures, the allergy season can range from 11 to 27 days longer, according to allergist Christina Cruz from Tufts Medical Center. With spring arriving earlier and lasting much longer, the warmer temperatures are creating more pollen in the air, Cruz says. In addition, CO2 emissions encourage plants to create more pollen. The more CO2 in the atmosphere, the more pollen we have to deal with as patients, Cruz explained. Another condition that coincides with warmer temperatures and longer springs are more intense thunderstorms and stronger winds. How do these play a role with pollen? Usually, with thunderstorms the winds can carry pollen grains at ground level, and then the updraft will sweep the pollen higher up into the storm clouds. And this causes the pollen grains to burst at much smaller particles than they would at ground level. “With these smaller particles, pollen grains can access smaller airways in our lungs and in our mucus membranes, thereby causing symptoms to arise,” Cruz said.

Each subsequent year is more likely to bring a worsening allergy season. “At the rate we are going, if we are not putting more effort in terms of trying to lower our carbon footprint and reduce greenhouse gases, our allergies are just going to continue to get worse every year,” Cruz said.


– “Feds: Vineyard Wind Could Be Part Of 2,000 Turbines Off East Coast” (Colin A. Young, SHNS via WBUR): [read the article]


– “Startup with MIT roots develops lightweight solar panels” (Kathryn M. O’Neill, MIT News): [read the article]


– “Boston organization stirs ire of solar advocates” (Bruce Mohl, Commonwealth Magazine): [read the article]


– Cleantech leader Greentown Labs plans first national expansion (Tim Cronin): Somerville-based cleantech incubator Greentown Labs announced yesterday (6/16) their expansion into a second location in Houston, Texas. In a statement, Greentown Labs CEO Emily Reichert said, “Climate change cannot be solved from the coasts—we need all hands on deck at this time. Houston has the opportunity to be the energy transition capital of the world and we believe bringing Greentown Labs to Houston will accelerate the shift in this direction.” [read the press release]


– Sunrise Blue Hills chapter endorses Jarred Rose, state senate candidates (Tim Cronin): The Sunrise Movement’s Blue Hills chapter announced its first endorsement of 2020, choosing to endorse Jarred Rose who is running for State Senate. In a statement to the Roundup, Rose said, “Young climate activists, who are the future of this district and our Commonwealth, have thrown their weight behind this campaign for change because they know that I have the experience and values to deliver for our district. When we win, we’ll pass a Green New Deal to protect our environment, create thousands of well-paying jobs, and invest in our marginalized communities.” Rose is running against incumbent State Senator Walter Timilty, who has not supported popular climate bills like carbon pricing (H.2810) or 100% Renewable Energy (S.1958).


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. Attorney General asks DPU to lead on clean energy transition, investigate natural gas
  2. “Celebration May Be Premature For Gas Project Opponents”
  3. Boston pastor focuses on connection between racial justice, climate justice

Read the full Roundup here from June 12th, 2020 here.

Correction: In last week’s edition we stated the incorrect originating committee for S.2130. The bill was released from the Joint Transportation Committee, not the Joint Energy Committee.

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Featured Image: Photo by Kentaro Toma on Unsplash