BEACON HILL HAPPENINGS
– “Leaked docs: Gas industry secretly fights electrification” (Benjamin Storrow, E&E News): “In public, Eversource Energy likes to tout its carbon neutrality goals and its investments in offshore wind. But officials from New England’s largest utility struck a different tone during an industry presentation in mid-March. Instead of advocating for lower emissions, company officials outlined a defensive strategy for preserving the use of natural gas for years to come.
Natural gas is ‘in for [the] fight of its life,’ said one slide presented at the meeting and obtained by E&E News. It also called for a lobbying campaign, saying that ‘everyone needs to contact legislators in favor of NG.’ Another slide asked how the industry could ‘take advantage of power outage fear’ to bolster gas’s fortunes…” [Read the entire story by Ben Storrow here]
– Gov. Baker announces Executive Actions on Earth Day 2021 (Christian Morris): Last week on Earth Day, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed an executive order (EO) to combat greenhouse gas emissions at state agencies and facilities. The EO, Leading by Example: Decarbonizing and Minimizing Environmental Impacts of State Government, outlines numerous new standards to guide agencies towards achieving meaningful emissions reductions in line with state climate goals. It also gives special priority to transportation and building emissions, with actions targeting reductions in each sector respectively. The Baker administration also announced that they had met their commitment to allocate $1 billion in climate spending by 2022, which they plan to continue to build on to enhance both climate mitigation and adaptation.
Notably, the EO provides new guidelines for construction at state agencies and facilities that must meet more stringent energy efficiency standards. It also requires that state vehicle fleets must purchase zero-emissions vehicles starting in 2022, as well as doubling the number of charging stations at state facilities by 2030. The EO establishes emissions reductions targets for building and vehicle fossil fuels consumed by state entities. It also mandates that these goals must be baked into budgetary and planning efforts for all state agencies moving forward.
“The Leading by Example Executive Order will boost the state’s adoption of innovative clean energy strategies, and I’m grateful for the efforts of our state agencies and institutions to help us take on the challenge of climate change,” said Gov. Baker. [read more]
– Rep. “Roy lays out the Roadmap: The Climate Minute” (Ted Mcintyre, The Climate Minute): “The Next Generation Roadmap for has been signed by the Governor and is truly a law of MA. We speak with Rep. Jeff Roy on the content and implications of this new future.” [listen to the podcast]
– MA“House Approves Conservation Land Tax Credit Expansion” (Office of MA House Minority Leader Brad Jones via Patch): [read the article]
– “Climate, transportation and education: Here’s how each is addressed in the Massachusetts House $47.7 billion budget plan for fiscal 2022” (Steph Solis, MassLive): [read the article]
ALL POLICY IS LOCAL
– “Worcester City Council adopts Green Worcester Plan, aims for 100% renewable energy citywide by 2045” (Tom Matthews, MassLive): [read the article]
– “Massachusetts has a new climate bill. Here’s how it will impact your community.” (Julia Taliesin and William J. Dowd, Wicked Local): [read the article]
– Braintree, Clinton, and Falmouth officially become ‘Green Communities’ (Tim Cronin): Over the last few weeks, multiple towns achieved designation as a ‘Green Community’ by the state. Among them: Braintree, Clinton, and Falmouth (click each link for more information on each). Becoming a green community allows towns and cities access to “technical help and financial support for local initiatives that improve energy efficiency.” About 80% of municipalities in Massachusetts are green communities.
– “Green projects are the future, but government must do its part” by John Rosenthal, via Commonwealth Magazine
– “In dealing with climate change, don’t forget solar, storage” by Jessica Robertson and Daniel Berwick, via Commonwealth Magazine
– “Ditching our unhealthy car dependence is key to a healthy future in the commonwealth” by John Stout, via Milford Daily News
– “Racial Equity and Barr’s Climate Program” by Mariella Puerto, via the Barr Foundation.
– “Ensuring Massachusetts’ vulnerable communities have equal access to a clean environment” by Kathleen Theoharides, Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, via Telegram and Gazette
– “Clean energy future must start with equity investments” by Patrick C. Woodcock, via Eagle Tribune
– “Protect the waterfront as a public asset” by Deanna Moran, via Commonwealth Magazine
– “Groups pushing ‘upgrade’ in farm animal law” by Kara Holmquist, Bob Beauregard, Allison Blanck, and Bill Bell, via Commonwealth Magazine
– “Throwing up roadblocks to Quebec hydroelectricity” by Bruce Mohl, via Commonwealth Magazine
– “New climate law can help us build a greener Somerville” by Justin Klekota, Candidate for Somerville City Council At-Large, via Somerville Times
– New Tool Aims to Examine Climate Risks and Build Resilience in Construction(Christian Morris): the Resilient Massachusetts Action Team, an inter-agency state task force, has developed and introduced a new tool that seeks to provide insights into risks of climate change impacts and ways to increase resiliency in construction projects. The tool will provide state-funded projects:
- A preliminary climate change exposure and risk rating;
- Recommended climate resilience design standards for projects with physical assets; and,
- Guidelines with best practices to support implementation.
OUR LOCAL ENVIRONMENT
– Air Quality in Massachusetts Was Improving, Even Before Pandemic(Christian Morris): A new report from the American Lung Association finds that between 2017 and 2019, air quality in the Commonwealth was improving. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on traffic, air pollution was on a downwards trend. “In Massachusetts we’re on the right track when it comes to improving air quality […] I think the biggest challenge now is complacency,” says American Lung Association Director for Advocacy in Massachusetts Trevor Summerfield. [read more about the report]
– “He helps put the emerald in the Emerald Necklace”(Thomas Farragher, Boston Globe): [read the article]
– “Right Whales Spotted, Speed Restricted In Cape Cod Bay”(Colin A. Young, SHNS via Earthwhile): [read the article]
– “Warming on a local, national level leading to an increase in pollen”(Chris Michaels, WSLS): [read the article]
– “A proposed fee increase for hunting and fishing licenses raises long-term questions about wildlife conservation”(Billy Baker, Boston Globe): [read the article]
– “Clean energy roadmap not strong enough, activists say” (Colin A. Young, SHNS via WWLP): [read the article]
– “Sen. Ed Markey talks infrastructure boom for state during Hull visit” (Wheeler Cowperthwaite, The Patriot Ledger): [read the article]
– “Environmentalists surprisingly divided over clean energy projects in Mass., Maine and elsewhere” (Patrick Whittle, AP via Boston.com): [read the article]
– “Agawam hosts presentation on climate change for town residents” (Jillian Andrews, WWLP): [read the article]
– “Student activists push legislators to do more to fight climate change” (James Paleologopoulos, Mildford Daily News): [read the article]
–”Greening The Grave: Why More People Are Choosing Climate-Friendly Burials” (Hannah Chanatry, WBUR): [read the article]
– “America’s New Normal: A Degree Hotter than Two Decades Ago” (Seth Borenstein, Associated Press via CapeCod.com): [read the article]
– “On Revere’s Pearl Avenue, Residents Grapple With The Rising Tide Of Climate Change” (Miriam Wasser, Earthwhile): [read the article]
ALWAYS A MASS. CONNECTION
– “A Mini Mississippi In Mass. May Help Save New Orleans From Rising Seas” (Jesse Remedios, Earthwhile): [read the article]
– “Avangrid expects offshore Vineyard Wind in 2023, bullish on US energy transition” (Jared Anderson, S&P Global): [read the article]
– “BOEM to start environmental review of proposed wind farm off Massachusetts, Rhode Island coast” (Standard-Times Staff): [read the article]
– Boston Globe seeking climate crisis reporter (Tim Cronin): The Boston Globe is looking to hire a full-time reporter to cover the climate crisis in Massachusetts. This reporter will “help lead a new Globe initiative aimed at driving an urgent public conversation in our city and region.” [Learn more, and apply]
THE GREEN ECONOMY, STUPID
– “Local Compost Company Turns Food Scraps Into A Cycle Of Sustainability” (Sarah Wroblewski, CBS Boston): [read the article]
– “Clean Energy Technologies to develop $15M biomass renewable energy project” (Waste Today Magazine): [read the article]
– “Infrastructure bill raises preparedness questions for Mass.” (Chris Lisinski, State House News Service via Boston Business Journal): [read the article]
INSIDE THE BELTWAY
– A look at climate, energy earmarks proposed by local lawmakers (Tim Cronin): Earmarks are back! After a years-long ban, U.S. House lawmakers again have the ability to propose earmarks within the US government’s multi-trillion-dollar budget. An earmark is a provision inserted into a spending bill (usually a budget) that directs funds to a specific recipient, usually in a lawmaker’s district. Earmarks have a long history in Congress but were ‘banned’ from 2011-2021, coming under fire after high-profile cases of earmark funds going to unneeded or frivolous projects in member districts.
With earmarks back, Massachusetts lawmakers are jumping on the opportunity to send money back to important projects in their districts. Outlined by Cod Cabin co-host Jessy Han on Twitter, among the earmarks proposed by local congress-people include:
- $750k for the “Island End River Regional Coastal Flood Resiliency Project in Everett and Chelsea” proposed by Rep. Pressley
- $5M for the Offshore Wind Institute Project proposed by Rep. Keating.
- $1.5M for “North Attleborough’s Ten-Mile River Dredging Project to Mitigate Flooding” proposed by Rep. Auchincloss
These earmarks are only proposals at this point, and still must be voted into a final budget by the U.S. Senate and President Biden.
– “John Kerry Brings Years of Passion to His New Job as US Climate Envoy” (Alison King, NBC Boston): [read the article]
BEYOND THE BAYSTATE
– “More Than Half Of Nebraskans Guaranteed To Receive Clean Electricity By 2050 Thanks To Advocacy Around State’s Public Utilities” (Holly Harpel, Climate XChange): [read the article]
– “‘I Wanted To Be On Land’: A Conversation With Urban Farmer Kafi Dixon” (Barbara Moran, WBUR): [read the article]
– “SCPN Spotlight: Camille Manning Broome on Planning for Louisiana Instead of Retreating” (Sarah Xu, Climate XChange): [read the article]
– “President Biden’s Earth Day Summit: What It Means For Massachusetts” (May 6th @ 6:00 PM) [RSVP here]
Missed the last CXC Roundup? Here are the top three climate headlines from the previous weeks:
- “Green priorities under consideration in House budget”
- “White House gives Massachusetts a C- grade on infrastructure report card”
- “Baker retreats more on biomass power plants”