March 19th Roundup: Senate, House Passes Final Climate Bill

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– Senate, House overwhelming pass the (final) NextGen Climate bill (Tim Cronin): After about a month of negotiations between the House and Senate, this week lawmakers rapidly passed a final version of the Next Generation Roadmap bill (S.9) and sent it to the Governor. The final version did incorporate some of the Governor’s technical amendments, but largely rejected major changes proposed by the Governor. Among them, modifications of the 2030 emissions limit and major changes to a new net-zero stretch building code.

On Monday (3/15) the Senate voted 39 to 1 in support of the final version of the bill, which largely rejected the Governor’s amendments. This was after the Senate GOP leader used a procedural motion to delay voting on the climate bill by almost 4 days. Then on Thursday (3/18), the House also passed the same version by a margin of 146 to 14. The Governor now has ten days to either veto or sign the bill. If he does veto it, lawmakers have pledged to override it by passing the bill one final time. After that final override vote, the bill will automatically become law. At this point, it’s not a question of if the bill will become law, it’s a question of when will it.

– “Theoharides signals admin support for revised climate bill” (Colin Young, SHNS via WWLP): According to reporting from Colin Young of the SHNS, “Gov. Charlie Baker and his administration are happy with the changes the Legislature made to the climate policy bill.” Despite this, the administration has not come out formally in favor of the bill. [read more about the admin’s stance in this article]


– “As climate change makes more droughts likely, state plans to issue controversial new policy that may increase water restrictions” (David Abel, Boston Globe): [read the article]


– “Women’s Leadership is Central to the Climate Fight” by Maria Virginia Olano, via Climate XChange

– “Boston’s next mayor must be bold on climate” by Matt O’Malley, via Commonwealth Magazine

– “Roadmap bill is a first step, but we need legislative transparency for a Green New Deal” by State Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven, via Wicked Local

– “Streets that put people first, not cars” by Jonathan Berk, via the Boston Globe

– “3 Massachusetts myths about offshore wind” by David W Cash, Michael Goodman And Jennifer J. Menard, via Commonwealth Magazine


– Environmental Groups Challenge Proposed Amazon Development in Boston’s Widett Circle (Christian Morris): In early March, the Boston Globe reported that properties in downtown Boston’s Widett Circle and Frontage Road area could be transformed into a “major shipping hub” for Amazon. Yesterday, over 20 environmental organizations from Massachusetts penned a letter to Mayor Marty Walsh and the Boston City Council in opposition to the proposed development. The signatories argue that the area would be better used for climate resiliency –– in the form of wetland restoration or similar projects to alleviate impacts from flooding and sea-level rise –– given that reports indicate the area will experience regular flooding within the next 20 years. According to opponents of the Amazon facility, developing climate resiliency efforts within the Widett Circle area would also add to urban greenspace, protect homes and businesses, and help mitigate extreme heat. [read more]

– “Triple-deckers can rise again for the 21st century” (Anthony Flint, Boston Globe): [read the article]

– “Poll: Home energy upgrades could be challenge” (Maeve Duggan, Commonwealth Magazine): [read the article]

– “A Triple-Decker For The 21st Century: Airtight And Solar-Powered” (Simón Rios, Earthwhile): [read the article]


– New England Hosts Global Climate Conference (Christian Morris): The British Consulate-General Boston, Greentown Labs, and the Consulate General of Italy in Boston are convening New England’s leading activists, business leaders, environmental justice experts, and state decision-makers for a virtual event to discuss the region’s climate efforts ahead of COP26. The event will take place on March 31st, 2021, and will feature a keynote address from Governor Baker and Maine’s Governor Janet Mills, as well as multiple panels looking at utility’s role in clean energy, transportation emissions, and building a just transition [learn more about the event and register]


– New Study Details New England’s Offshore Wind Potential (Christian Morris): A new study from Environment America and the Frontier Group highlights the massive offshore wind potential for East Coast/New England states. For Massachusetts, researchers and officials say offshore wind could produce 20x the electricity the state uses. They write, “Massachusetts has far and away the highest technical potential for offshore generation at more than 1,000 TWh, followed by Florida, the Carolinas and Maine.” [read more]

– “Offshore wind pricing plan stirs crosscurrents” (Colin A. Young, SHNS via Berkshire Eagle): [read the article]


– “Erosion topples trees, threatens weather station in Chatham” (Doug Fraser, Cape Cod Times): [read the article]

– “3 Miles from Martha’s Vineyard Is an Empty Island Full of Bombs” (James Freitas and Hakai Magazine, The Atlantic): [read the article]

– “Road Salt Can Destroy Freshwater Ecosystems — But There’s No Easy Alternative” (Jesse Remedios, Earthwhile): [read the article]

– “Right Whales Having Best Calving Season In Years, But Still Endangered” (Fred Bever, Maine Public Radio via Earthwhile): [read the article]


– “Sen. Ed Markey Pushes Climate-Focused Transportation Bills” (Eugene Mulero, Transport Topics): [read the article]


– “Kerry to Wall Street: Put your money behind your climate PR” (Zack Colman, Politico): [read the article]


– “Harvard’s Fossil Fuel Investments Are Illegal, Alleges Complaint” (Divest Harvard): [read the article]

– “With New Complaint, Fossil Fuel Divestment Proponents Shift From Moral To Legal Ground” (Jesse Remedios, Earthwhile): [read the article]


– “Here’s what experts say about the possibility of ‘frozen turbines’ in Massachusetts” (Anastasia E. Lennon, SouthCoast Today): [read the article]


– Yasmin Yacoby on Fighting for Energy Justice and Breaking Down Barriers to Collaboration (Naomi Shimberg, Climate XChange): [read the article]


– “Editorial: Climate plan an important step for CT” (CT Post): [read the article]

Featured Image: Photo by Fogster via WikiMedia Commons