January 27th Roundup: Local Fossil Fuel Lobbying Blocks Climate Action

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– Report: Who’s Delaying Climate Action in Massachusetts? (Christian Morris): A report from Brown University’s Climate and Development Lab shines a light on who in Massachusetts is helping to advance climate action, and who’s working to stymie it. Using analysis from the statehouse’s data on lobbying and testimonies, the report details how four major groups – fossil fuels, real estate firms, utilities, and power generators – wield significant influence on the state’s climate and energy policy. Among the findings, climate action opponents rarely submit public testimony, preferring to operate behind closed doors. Researchers also found that the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), a major industry group, “lobbies and testifies nearly completely in line with the utilities,” giving the public utilities a veiled voice in climate policy discussions on Beacon Hill.

In general, “90% of all testimony we collected on environmentalist priority bills was delivered in support.” Among the authors’ conclusions, “when the Massachusetts legislature has advanced climate and energy policy, it has been in spite of, not because of, these factors.” [Read more about CSSN’s fascinating findings and the researcher’s recommendations here.]

– Legislators to re-vote on climate bill tomorrow (Tim Cronin): The Senate and House plan to meet tomorrow (1/28) to restart the process of passing a climate change bill (S.9) that was vetoed by the Governor two weeks ago. In public statements House Speaker Mariano and Senate President Spilka have promised rapid action on the bill, with the Speaker tweeting, “the House and Senate are passing comprehensive climate legislation on Thursday.” It’s highly unusual for legislators to consider a bill this early in the two-year session, showing just how determined Senate and House leaders are to pass this bill.

The Senate will begin their work on the bill at 11am tomorrow (watch Senate live stream here), with the House starting later that afternoon at 2pm (watch House live stream here). Read more about the bill here.

– “As Lawmakers Plan Vote On Climate Bill, A Showdown With Baker Seems Likely” (Colin A. Young, SHNS via Earthwhile): [read the article]

– “As lawmakers plan to send a new climate bill to the governor, state officials and lawmakers wrangle over the true costs” (David Abel, Boston Globe): [read the article]

– “Theoharides explains $6b cost figure” (Bruce Mohl, Commonwealth Magazine): [read the article]


– “Weymouth Compressor Operator Says It’s Starting Up Facility This Weekend” (Miriam Wasser, Earthwhile): [read the article]

– “How Biden’s administration will impact Massachusetts” (Nick Aresco, WWLP): [read the article]


– “Biden’s Climate Cabinet Meets Diversity of the Climate Moment: Will they meet its ambition?” by Ava Gallo, via Climate XChange.

– “What Mass. Gets Right (And Wrong) About Transportation In The Clean Energy & Climate Plan” by Anna Vanderspek & Mal Skowron, via Green Energy Consumers Alliance.

– “3 Washington priorities for New England” by James T. Brett, via Commonwealth Magazine

– “It’s time for the nation’s oldest trash incinerator, in Saugus, to go” by Yvonne Abraham, via the Boston Globe.


– “Vineyard Wind completes technical review, resumes federal permitting” (The Barnstable Patriot): [read the article]

– “Vineyard Wind reawakens in the Biden era” (Rich Saltzberg, Martha’s Vineyard Times): [read the article]


– “Top Climate, Air and Water Polluters Named in Latest Toxic 100, Greenhouse 100 Lists” (Michael Ash, Jared Sharpe, UMASS Amherst) [read more]


– “A net-zero code doesn’t need to derail affordable housing push, advocates say” (Sarah Shemkus, Energy News Network): [read the article]


– “Yellen says Biden is “fully supportive” of carbon pricing” (Ben Geman, Axios): [read the article]


– “Online portal aims to be clearinghouse for community solar subscriptions” (Sarah Shemkus, Energy News Network): [read the article]

– “Solstice raises $3.1 million for innovative, equitable approach to community solar” (Solar Builder): [read the article]


– “5 Steps Biden Can Take To Protect Climate Migrants” (Nicholas Micinski, Earthwhile): [read the article]


– “Elizabeth Rhoades on working at the nexus of climate and public health” (Ava Gallo, Climate XChange): [read the article]


– “Activists See Biden’s Day One Focus on Environmental Justice as a Critical Campaign Promise Kept” (Kristoffer Tigue, Agya K. Aning, Judy Fahys, and Katie Surma, InsideClimate News): [read the article]

– “Biden’s Early Actions On Climate Change Get Us ‘Back To Square One,’ Activist Says” (Callum Borchers and Samantha Raphelson, Earthwhile): [read the article]

– “Mass. exodus: A flurry of figures with Boston ties are heading to Washington. Here’s a look at who’s been tapped” (Brittany Bowker, Boston Globe): [read the article]

– “By Killing Keystone XL, Biden Sets The Tone For His Climate Policy” (Frederick Hewett, WBUR): [read the article]


– “Landmark Climate Bill Introduced In Maryland” (Climate XChange): “The Climate Crisis and Education Act (CCEA), introduced in Maryland this session, incentivizes the reduction of carbon pollution emissions, and its passage would put Maryland on a commonsense, practical pathway toward a sustainable, vibrant economy.” [read more about the bill and its supporters].

– “Maine governor proposes offshore wind ban” (Ken Paulman, Energy News Network): [read the article]

– “Here Are 3 States to Watch in 2021” (Dan Gearino, InsideClimate News): [read the article]


– “Barbara J. Erickson, ‘catalyst for the conservation movement,’ dies at 42” (Bryan Marquard, Boston Globe): “Ms. Erickson, who was 42 when she died of cancer on Jan. 15, played a key role statewide among those who preserve the open space jewels of the past and unearth new gems for the future.” [Read more about Barbara’s life and work].


 – Alex Barron, has started in a new role as a Senior Counselor in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, part of the White House Office of Management and Budget in the Biden-Harris Administration. He most recently was an assistant professor at Smith College, where he worked on climate policy. Alex will work across a number of areas in his new role, including climate change, racial equity, covid-19, and the overall economy.

– Melissa Hoffer, was named principal deputy general counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She most recently served as chief of Attorney General Maura Healey’s Energy and Environment Bureau.

– Rebecca Tepper, has been tapped as the new chief of Attorney General Maura Healey’s Energy and Environment Bureau. Tepper will be moving up from her role as deputy chief of that bureau, where she headed up energy and telecommunication issues.


– January State Climate Policy Network National Call (Noa Dalzell, Climate XChange): [register]

– North American Climate Policy: Perspectives from the Periphery (Debora L. VanNijnatten, Marcela López-Vallejo, and Andrés Ávila, University of Michigan’s Ford School): [register]

– WEBINAR: The Road to 100% Renewable Energy (Noa Dalzell, Climate XChange): [register]


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

  1. Today is the day: last day for Governor Baker to sign the climate bill
  2. Coalition calls on Beacon Hill to address transportation justice and equity
  3. “Mass. Climate Bill Features New Gas Safety Measures”

Read the full Roundup here from January 14th, 2020 here.

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Featured Image: Photo by Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash