May 22nd Roundup: Will State Use $13B for Climate Priorities?

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– The state has $13 billion it didn’t expect. Will the state spent some of it on climate, environmental priorities? (Tim Cronin): When all is said and done, Massachusetts is expected to have more than $13 billion (according to reporting from the SHNS) in unexpected money heading its way from Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). With so much money flowing into state coffers, there is a good chance some of it will make its way towards environmental priorities, and projects that could potentially contribute to emissions reductions in the state.

This is not only more money than previous stimulus programs, like the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, it also has more flexible spending guidelines. Money could go towards new spending on public transit like the MBTA, but also to improving state and local services relating to water, sewage, and broadband. And as Robinson Meyer writes in the Atlantic, “Because many water systems are vulnerable to climate change and must be adapted, this is de facto climate funding.”

How much of the money will end up going towards projects that have climate co-benefits is not clear. State lawmakers are waiting on Governor Baker to propose how he’d like the money spent, and are contemplating setting up a parallel quasi-budget process (possibly annually) to decide how they want the money spent.


– Weymouth compressor shuts down for the fourth time in less than a year (Tim Cronin): For the fourth time in less than a year, the controversial Weymouth compressor station was forced to shut down unexpectedly. First reported by WBUR, on Thursday Enbridge filed a document declaring a ‘force majeure,’ also referred to as an ‘act of god’, indicating that the shutdown was for unplanned reasons.

Like the previous three shutdowns, this one prompted a swift response by opponents and local leaders, who called for the compressor to be closed permanently. State Senator John Keenan tweeted, “Tempting fate and risking lives. Shut it down.” US Senator Ed Markey voiced concerns too, saying, “The Weymouth Compressor Station’s fourth shutdown in a matter of months is a sign that it should not be operating now or ever. It’s dangerous, unnecessary, and a clear and present threat to public safety.”

[Read more about the shutdown from WBUR’s Miriam Wasser here]


– “Without grid investments, clean power goals may not be met” by Brian Gemmel, via Commonwealth Magazine

– “Biomass is false solution to climate change” by Philip Duffy and Alexander Rabin, via Commonwealth Magazine

– “On a path to sustainability” by Dan Doyle, special projects planner Martha’s Vineyard Commission, via MV Times


– “’Vital for the future of Brockton’: City gets $250,000 to clean up downtown Corcoran site” (Cody Shepard, The Enterprise): [read the article]

– “A Climate Resilient Community In Newburyport Rises From Toxic Ashes” (Bruce Gellerman, Earthwhile): [read the article]

– “Large Brush Fire Scorches Western Massachusetts” (AP via Earthwhile): [read the article]


– “An ‘Army of 16-Year-Olds’ Takes On the Democrats” (Ellen Berry, New York Times): [read the article]

– “State Energy Secretary Explains How Massachusetts Became A Leader On Climate Change” (Yahoo News): [read the article]

– “Massachusetts gas facility needed to meet New England climate goals, backers say” (Kate Wilson, Energy News Network): [read the article]


– “‘The community deserves better’: Shattuck closure in Franklin Park stirs fight over green space vs. social services”(David Abel, Boston Globe): [read the article]


– “Following Vineyard Wind’s final approval, Mayflower Wind is next up seeking permits”(Colin Young, SHNS via Cape Cod Times): [read the article]

– “Vineyard Wind approval injects fresh optimism into offshore wind industry”(Lisa Prevost and Sarah Shemkus, Energy News Network): [read the article]


– “Why the Northeast Could Be America’s New Energy Capital”(Paola Rosa-Aquino, NY Magazine): [read the article]

– “Scientists predict an ‘above normal’ Atlantic hurricane season”(John Schwartz, New York Times via The Boston Globe): [read the article]


– “Study: Climate change added $8 billion to Sandy’s damages”(Seth Borenstein, AP): [read the article]

– “Nations must drop fossil fuels, fast, world energy body warns”(Brad Plumer, New York Times via The Boston Globe): [read the article]


– “How natural gas propaganda made it into elementary classrooms in deep blue America” (Ysabelle Kempe, Grist): [read the article]

– “Mass Audubon ‘Followed The Rules’ And Earned Millions From Carbon Offsets. But Was It ‘Real’?” (Carrie Healy, New England Public Media via Earthwhile): [read the article]


– “Supreme Court Gives Big Oil a Win in Climate Fight With Cities” (John Schwartz, NYT via Boston Globe): [read the article]

– “Environment-Focused AGs Find Their Place in Post-Trump World” (Ellen M. Gilmer and Emily C. Dooley, Bloomberg Law): [read the article]


– “Seeing the environmental issue, brewers and their allies craft a way to recycle plastic beer can carriers” (Janelle Nanos, Boston Globe):[read the article]



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

  1. “State gets green light for first large-scale offshore wind farm in U.S.”
  2. “Eversource Attempts to Highlight the “Wonders” of Natural Gas in Cambridge School”
  3. “Airport speaks out against pending climate bill”

Read the full Roundup here from May 14th, 2021 here.

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