July 23rd Roundup: MA Senate and House Leaders Consider Extending Session

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– Benson carbon pricing, 100% renewable energy, and pipeline safety bills die in committee (Tim Cronin): A series of climate bills, popular with advocates and a majority of lawmakers, have officially died in committee this session. Facing down a July 22nd deadline, the Joint Energy Committee declined to take action to further extend the deadline to consider a House carbon pricing bill (H.2810), the 100% renewable energy bill (H.2836/S.1958), and a pipeline safety bill known as the FUTURE Act (H.2849/S.1940) According to joint rule 10, adopted by both the House and Senate, the three bills and others still before the committee will automatically receive an “ought not to pass” recommendation. This effectively prevents them from being voted on in this session, which ends in January 2021.

Despite this, there are a series of climate bills that made it out of committee and are being considered by the legislature. Among these are the GreenWorks bill (H.3997–passed House, before Senate), the Next Generation Climate bills (S.2500/S.2499/S.2498– passed Senate, before the House), an environmental justice bill (H.4264– before House Ways & Means), and the Meschino Roadmap bill (H.3983– before House Ways & Means). All of which have a serious chance of passing this year, if legislative leaders agree on extending the session past July 31st.

– “Mass. Legislative Leaders Consider Extending Session” (Katie Lannan, SHNS via WBUR): “With nine days remaining in the pandemic-disrupted legislative season and several major items still unresolved, Senate and House leaders have had some conversations about continuing past their traditional end-of-July deadline to continue deliberations on weighty bills….” [read the full article]

– “Groups Urge Legislature to Act on 2050 Emissions Target” (Colin A. Young, State House News Service): “Business groups, clean energy companies, environmental organizations and advocates sent House leaders a letter Monday asking that they make good on their support for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 before this session expires. With less than two weeks to go until formal sessions come to an end until January, unless the Legislature decides otherwise, advocates and lawmakers have been busy calling attention to the fact that the Legislature has not passed significant climate policy legislation into law, despite support from both branches and Gov. Charlie Baker for the new 2050 emissions reduction goal.” [read the article, $] [read the letter]

– “9 issues to watch at the Massachusetts Statehouse over the next 9 days” (State House News Service, via Wicked Local): [read the article]

CORRECTION: Last week’s Roundup (email edition) included a story on a virtual rally for the Meschino Roadmap bill, but initially didn’t include Mothers Out Front (MOF) among the list of participating organizations. MOF was among the lead organizers of the rally, which drew 266 people.


– “Healey reluctantly rejects Brookline [gas ban] bylaw” (Bruce Mohl, Commonwealth Magazine): “Attorney General Maura Healey’s office on Tuesday reluctantly shot down a bylaw approved by the town of Brookline that would have barred the installation of most fossil fuel infrastructure in any new buildings or significant rehabs of existing buildings. In a 12-page ruling, Healey applauded the town’s bid to start addressing greenhouse gas emissions but said the bylaw approved overwhelmingly by town meeting members in November is preempted by the state building code, gas code, and a law giving the Department of Public Utilities oversight of the sale and distribution of natural gas in Massachusetts.” [read the article]

– “Youth rally to fight ‘another pandemic’: environmental injustice” (Greta Jochem, Daily Hampshire Gazette): [read the article]


– “To solve the climate crisis, women must own more of the world’s land” by Martha Merrow, via Climate XChange: Land, women, and climate change: the future of all three are intrinsically connected and must be addressed comprehensively to create equitable change and a livable future… If women’s rights to land are not recognized or are insecure due to unjust (and often patriarchal) legal devices, the entire community’s ability to steward that land is at risk, and exposed to all sorts of challenges.” [read the full article]

– “Why we must fight climate change amid the pandemic” by Dave Cavell, via Commonwealth Magazine.

– “Letter: time to remake the power grid” by Anna Gooding-Call, via The Salem News 

– “COVID-19 And Black Lives Matter Have Spurred Real Change. Why Can’t Climate Change?” by Annie Ropeik, via New Hampshire Public Radio

– “Leaving giant carbon footprints: Average Sudbury person generates 9,700 pounds of greenhouse gases each year. In Dorchester, it’s only 2,227 pounds.” by Seth Borenstein via  The Associated Press


– “Millions of homes face substantial flood risk — far more than previously predicted, study finds” (David Abel, The Boston Globe): [read the article]

– “Acton chapter of Mothers Out Front launches tree campaign” (Patty Mahoney, Wicked Local Acton): [read the article]

– “Greenhead flies: The bug that just won’t die” (Billy Baker, The Boston Globe): [read the article]

– “In A First, Boston Building Will Be Constructed With ‘Revolutionary’ Timber” (Bruce Gellerman and Kathleen McNerney, WBUR): [read the article]


– “SCPN Spotlight: Jessica Hendricks on Advocating for Energy Efficiency” (Carlie Clarq, Climate XChange): [read the article]


– “State lawmakers call for action on wind farm” (Colin A. Young, State House News Service): [read the article]

– “Bernhardt eager for offshore wind ‘that works’” (Bruce Mohl, Commonwealth Magazine): [read the article]


– “Does a river have rights? Sheffield residents advocate for a ‘yes’” (Jack Lyons, The Berkshire Eagle): [read the article]

– “AG Healey Sues EPA Over New Rule Undermining Mercury and Air Toxics Standards” [read press release]


– In a welcome twist for solar advocates, FERC rejects shadowy group’s petition to end state net metering (Tim Cronin): Last Thursday (7/16), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected a formal petition to end the practice of solar net metering in states. Net metering forms the bedrock of solar policy in 17 states, incentivizing the development of solar panels, large and small. It works by allowing solar owners to sell back any extra (i.e. “net”) electricity their panels produce back to the grid. The shadowy group (NERA) that originally brought the complaint was asking FERC to overturn net metering in states where it is currently implemented. Russ Aney, CEO of Avid Solar, said in a statement to the Roundup, “We are relieved to have avoided a potentially fatal blow to a large segment of the solar industry, although I never really believed that they [NERA] would succeed.”

– “16 Ways The Pandemic Recovery Could Be Green” (Bruce Gellerman, WBUR): [read the article]

– “Morgan Stanley commits to tallying its climate impact” (Zack Colman, Politico): [read the article]

– “FERC’s New PURPA Rule Undermines Clean Energy Projects, Advocates Say” (Jeff St. John, Greentech Media): [read the article]


– “Goldstein, Lynch sound off on environmental issues” (Mary Whitfil, Wicked Local Stoughton): [read the article]


– “The Racist Placement of Power Plants in Pennsylvania: A Mechanism Used to Further Harm Communities of Color” (Jayla Cornelius, Climate XChange): [read the article]

– “Webinar Recap: Pricing Pollution in Canada” (Carlie Clarq, Climate XChange): [read the article]


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

  1. Hundreds attended virtual rally for Meschino Roadmap bill
  2. Legislative Updates
  3. Lawmakers propose ‘Massachusetts Works Progress Administration’

Read the full Roundup here from July 16th, 2020 here.

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Featured Image: Photo by Steve Pancrate on Unsplash