BEACON HILL HAPPENINGS
– “Baker Sends Climate Bill Back With Amendments” (Colin A. Young, SHNS via Earthwhile): “Gov. Charlie Baker still is not on board with the climate policy bill overwhelmingly passed by the Legislature twice in about a month, but this time he has sent it back with proposed amendments he says would make the legislation more palatable.” [read the full article]
– “Baker takes more conciliatory tone on climate change bill” (Bruce Mohl, Commonwealth Magazine): [read the article]
– $10 billion ‘Green Future Act’ put forward to fund climate action, create green jobs (Tim Cronin): On Tuesday (2/16), Rep. Driscoll filed the ‘Green Future Act’, a climate bill that seeks to reduce emissions through investments in green infrastructure, local climate aid, and workforce development. The bill (HD.1972) would pay for this by extending the state’s existing requirement to make polluters pay a fee on emissions to industries that do not currently pay for the impacts their fuel has on the environment, such as in heating. According to an analysis from Climate XChange this would raise $500 million to $750 million per year. When combined with a new green bonding program, which is also in the bill, the Green Future Act could raise $10 billion by 2030.
In a statement, Rep. Driscoll said, “Covid-19 is showing us the real-world impacts of health disparities linked to the climate crisis, specifically air pollution and a history of under-investment in overburdened communities across the Commonwealth. Now is the time to invest in green infrastructure, to boost our state’s post-covid economy with big investments that reverse a year of deep job losses and cuts to local spending.”
In reporting from the SHNS (via WWLP), its further estimated that, “the Driscoll bill would create 80,000 jobs and direct a total of $4.5 billion by 2030 to environmental justice communities and those most impacted by the pandemic.”
The bill requires 60% of spending to go to environmental justice populations, establishes ‘Green Dividend’ payments to protect vulnerable residents from fluctuations in energy costs, and creates new local councils to decide how money is spent (with councils requiring dedicated representation from EJ communities).
– Sen. Markey, Rep. Pressley join activists to launch Mass Renews Coalition (Tim Cronin): In a kickoff event live-streamed on Facebook, activists launched Mass Renews, a new coalition focused on racial, climate & economic justice. Led by Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, the organizational launch included remarks from coalition partners including the Boston Student Advisory Council, 350 MA, SEIU 32BJ, and the Greater Boston Labor Council. It also featured remarks from US Congresswoman Pressley and US Senator Markey.
The coalition also announced two legislative efforts for the coming session. First, a food justice bill sponsored by Rep. Madaro and Senator Boncore. The second, a building justice bill sponsored by Rep. Robinson, Rep. LeBoeuf, and Senator Pacheco. Both bills will also focus on creating jobs in Massachusetts, they have not been filed yet. Learn more here.
– Committee assignments change climate, clean energy leadership on Beacon Hill (Tim Cronin): Last week (2/12), Speaker Mariano and President Spilka announced their committee assignments for the new two-year session. This included those for a number of committees relating to climate change and clean energy.
In the Senate, Senator Barrett was re-named the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, a position he’s held since 2017. Meanwhile, Senator Rausch was selected as the new chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, replacing Senator Gobi. Senator Creem, who is also the Senate’s Majority Leader, was named to the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. She replaces longtime chair Senator Pacheco, who served in the role since 2007.
In the House, Rep. Roy was named as chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, replacing Rep. Golden who was elevated to be one of House’s four division chairs. Rep. Dykema was named chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. And Rep. Garballey was named chair of the House Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change.
Speaker Mariano made a number of other changes to his core leadership team, selecting Rep. Cronin to be the House Majority Leader and Rep. Hogan as Speaker Pro Tempore. See a full list of 2021 committee assignments here.
– “Mass. Climate Change Undersecretary Resigns After Comments Come Under Fire” (Katie Lannan, SHNS via WBUR): “A top Baker administration official resigned his post Thursday night after coming under fire for comments he made about pushing consumers to reduce their carbon emissions.” [read the article]
– Ben Downing, former State Senator & current clean energy VP, launches campaign to be Governor (Nik DeCosta-Klipa, Boston.com): [read the article]
– “Lawmakers urged to reject changes to climate bill” (Christian M. Wade, Gloucester Times): [read the article]
ALL POLICY IS LOCAL
– Developing story: Feds to re-examine safety concerns at Weymouth compressor (Tim Cronin): In an announcement on Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said it would establish a process to further examine the public safety concerns associated with the Weymouth Compressor Station. [Learn more and stay up to date on the compressor at the FRRACS website]
– “We Can’t Stop Climate Change, But We Can (Still) Avoid The Worst-Case Scenario” by Christian Morris, via Climate XChange.
– “Will developers block clean energy standards?” by Joan Fitzgerald and Greg Coppola, via Commonwealth Magazine
– “The climate crisis still needs Congress” by The Boston Globe Editorial Board
– “Did state enviro official say anything that outlandish?” by Michael Jonas, via Commonwealth Magazine.
– “Burning fossil fuels kills an estimated 350,000 Americans a year, including 7,600 in Massachusetts, study finds” (David Abel, The Boston Globe): [read the article]
OUR LOCAL ENVIRONMENT
– “Company Accused Of Violating Clean Air Act At Lexington Facility” (Samantha Mercado, Patch): [read the article]
– “Mass. Residents Will Now Be Alerted When Sewage Is Dumped Into Local Waterways” (Katie Lannan, SHNS via Earthwhile): [read the article]
–“As the oceans become more acidic, threat to sea life and industry grows, new study finds” (Gal Tziperman Lotan, The Boston Globe): [read the article]
– “Members of Congress Seek Funds To Clean Up Merrimack River” (The Associated Press via Earthwhile): [read the article]
– “Ocean acidification endangers local aquaculture” (Lucas Thors, Martha’s Vineyard Times): [read the article]
– “MetroWest environmental enthusiasts say Biden presidency is breath of fresh air” (Cesareo Contreras, The Milford Daily News): [read the article]
– “National Grid seeks approval to expand access to solar energy for low-income customers” (Sofía Hernández Carrillo, WWLP): [read the article]
– “Environmental injustice remains prevalent in low-income and minority populations” (Rose Pecci, The Huntington News): [read the article]
– “When power most needed, ‘peaker’ polluters fire up in Berkshires. Should that continue?” (Danny Jin, The Berkshire Eagle): [read the article]
– “Shalanda Baker On Advancing Racial Justice In The Transition To Clean Energy” (Morgan Springer, WNPR): [read the article]
– “Mass. may go bigger in next offshore wind round” (Colin A. Young, SHNS via Taunton Daily Gazette): [read the article]
MORE SAD NEWS
– “A mission to rid the state of nips and other discarded trash ends in tragedy” (David Abel, The Boston Globe): [read the article]
THE LEGAL ENVIRONMENT
– “Environmental Groups Sue Federal Regulators Over Western Mass. Pipeline Plan” (Miriam Wasser, Earthwhile): [read the article]
– “Groundbreaking Climate Lawsuit Challenges Commission’s Failure to Factor Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Fossil Fuel Approvals” (Food and Water Watch): [read the press release]
– “Seeger Weiss Launches Environmental Practice With Trailblazing Litigator Matt Pawa, Opening Its First Massachusetts Office” (Seeger Weiss): [read the article]
– “Delegate Samirah on pursuing justice through progressive environmental action” (Ava Gallo, Climate XChange): [read the article]
THE GREEN ECONOMY, STUPID
– “Electric Vehicle Rebates Expanding To Larger Vehicles” (Colin A. Young, SHNS via Earthwhile): [read the article]
CLIMATE ON CAMPUS
– “Ameresco Selected to Support Wellesley College In Its Carbon Reduction Efforts” (Business Wire): [read the article]
BEYOND THE BAY STATE
– “Prominent Environmentalists To Testify In Favor Of Landmark Climate Bill” (Wandra Ashley-Williams, Climate XChange): [read the article]
– Phil Giudice is joining the federal government as a special assistant on Gina McCarthy’s team to advise President Biden on climate policy. Guidice was previously a Massachusetts undersecretary of energy and commissioner of energy resources, as well as serving as board chair for FirstLight Power.
– Michelle Manion will join the Massachusetts Audubon Society as their Vice President of Policy and Advocacy. Manion previously worked as a senior economist at the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C.
Missed the last CXC Roundup? Here are the top three climate headlines from the previous weeks:
- When can we expect a final climate bill? Soonest looking like last week of February
- “Gov. Baker sees potential in regional approach to wind energy
- “Baker take note: Net zero buildings make sense”
Read the full Roundup here from February 4th, 2021 here.