Action alert! Sign up for a bus – Rally & hearing at the statehouse for the Senate Climate Committee Hearing

This is important and serious, but it’s also going to be fun!  We need a count on whether to reserve a bus to get to Boston May 3rd!   If you want to go on the bus, click on this link

tinyurl.com/May3rd-res

Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change Hearing: Commonwealth’s Clean Energy Future

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

We have won a great victory- and it’s time to celebrate. It’s also a time to build on our strength to win more! We need to stop all pipeline expansions. We must stop the pipeline tax. And we must get our legislators to support smart, renewable energy and climate legislation to reduce emissions and support clean, renewable energy!

11:30 Rally, Celebration & Pizza
12:00 Training/Opportunities to Visit Legislative Offices and Push Hard on the Pipeline Tax
1:00 Global Warming Committee Hearing

One or more buses to Boston are available on a sliding scale from $5 to $30.

tinyurl.com/May3rd-res

 

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Stopping A Pipeline: The Power of the Grassroots

Protesters walk in rain

By Susan Theberge,  Editor of CAN newsletter

Neighbors, students, farmers, conservationists, children, elders, affected land owners, small business owners, politicians, artists, faith leaders, musicians, lawyers, climate activists, builders, poets, climate justice organizers and hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals came together united around one common goal: The Kinder Morgan NED fracked gas pipeline will never be built! From day one our community in Western Mass knew something that Kinder Morgan could not see: our long and storied history of successful resistance to injustice and exploitation by corporate outsiders.

United by a love of the land and a passion for a livable future and in powerful collaboration with others across the state and region, people organized on every front: legal, political, educational, and regulatory; at the local, state and federal level; through direct actions including walking the proposed pathway, organizing rallies, overflowing the halls of numerous hearings, building a Thoreau Cabin in the pathway of the pipeline, ongoing vigils and active preparation for massive non-violent civil disobedience with the support of a brilliant legal team.

While remaining mindful of new twists and turns, we know that for now one toxic and completely unnecessary fossil fuel infrastructure project has been blocked. While celebrating our success, we need to continue to focus our energies on the bigger picture: the need to stop the many other proposed fossil fuel projects that remain. This includes our fight to protect public lands threatened by the CT Expansion pipeline in Sandisfield, to block the Spectra pipeline in the eastern part of Massachusetts, and to stand together with those in New York who are resisting the Constitution Pipeline.

Preventing climate catastrophe binds us together as never before in human history. It is only by working together on a global scale that we will prevent the extinction of life on earth. This, the call of our times, contains a paradoxical gift: to prevent climate catastrophe we must find new ways of occupying planet earth that are grounded in equity, justice, respect and love.

photo credit: Rene Theberge

BOTTLE REFUND LAW THREATENS RECYCLING GAINS Urgent Action Needed: DEFEAT House Bill 646

By Steve Herman

House Bill 646 has been christened the Universal Recycling Bill, a title suggesting a lofty and sweeping vision of an omnibus recycling program for the Bay State. It should have your bull detectors tingling. In just three years this legislation, if adopted, will begin the unraveling of recycling in Massachusetts. Here are some highlights:

  1. H646 repeals the current 5 cent refundable container deposit;
  1. Instead it imposes a 1 cent tax on all drinks, carbonated and non-carbonated, to be paid by the beverage producers and distributors;
  1. With the revenue generated from the 1 cent tax, H646 creates the “Municipal Recycling Enhancement Fund” during a period of transition to a more comprehensive recycling program for the state;
  1. Then on June 30, 2019, H646 sunsets the one cent tax on recyclables altogether.

For many people who may not be very committed to recycling, H646 could look like a gift horse although maybe one of Trojan pedigree. (1) above makes shopping more convenient; (2) – (3) raise an estimated $135 million dollar fund for modernizing town and municipality recycling, all on the beverage producers and distributors’ dime; and (4) ensures that the free ride lasts for three years of the common good.

Let’s consider the question of motivation. Is the problem with the current bottle bill (H2943/S1588) that it has failed in its mission and needs to be repealed? On the contrary, for over three decades the bottle bill has been Massachusetts’ most successful recycling program. Six leading organizations — Mass. Audubon, the Charles River Conservancy, Clear Water Action, the Container Recycling Institute, the Environment League of Massachusetts, Environment Massachusetts, the League of Women Voters/MA, MASSPIRG, and the Sierra Club — have collectively authored a letter praising the bottle bill for its achievements:

 

The fact remains that the single most effective recycling tool we have in Massachusetts is the 5c refundable container deposit. Approximately 70% of containers with a deposit are recycled, compared to 23% of containers without a deposit.

Is H646 a better alternative? The Container Recycling Institute (CRI) conducted an in-depth study before submitting an eight page letter to the chairs of the Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy Committee. CRI urged that H646 be killed in Committee. It wasn’t. Here’s a summary of CRI’s assessment of the outcomes of H646 if the bill is enacted:

*The beverage producers and distributors will receive $174 million in net revenue over the first ten years of the program. Over the same period of time, towns and municipalities are estimated to lose $85 million.

*Recycling rates of carbonated beverages can be expected to decline sharply based on 2010 data which showed that 80% of carbonated beverages sold in Massachusetts had been recycled, 71% having deposit labels. Remove the labels and the refunds, and the incentive to recycle could be undermined dramatically.

*The loss of an estimated 65,000 tons of otherwise recyclable trash will translate into sizable greenhouse gas emissions because beverage producers and distributors will have to replace the unrecovered bottles with newly manufactured ones.

*Massachusetts will once again become a dumping ground for unsightly recyclable waste, and communities will incur new costs of cleanup.

*As the world moves toward recycling, Massachusetts will be going backwards, damaging its national and international reputation.

H646 has so much to be said against it that one wonders why the bill made it so far. Perhaps the right question needs to be asked. Since the state will gain in the short run but lose so much in the long run, who would be the big winners if H646 were enacted? Here’s a credible hypothesis. Beverage manufacturers and distributors would have a lot to gain if the bottle bill were repealed. They would recover a sizable amount of the money or reparations they had been forced to pay over a long period of time under the bottle bill. In addition, after three years under H646, they would be free and clear of all responsibility for the clutter and damage their products inflict on the environment and be able to look ahead to a sizeable and ongoing windfall. Once relieved of governmental regulations, they can be expected to aggressively resist ever again being forced to wear their harness of good citizenship.

If passed, H646 will become a burden on Massachusetts and its citizens, who ultimately will have to bear the cost of recycling. The most significant legacy of enacting H646 will be its transfer of the responsibility and cost for recycling bottles from the beverage manufacturers and distributors to the taxpayers of the state. H646 needs to be defeated. Climate Action Now urges you to stand up for recycling in the Bay State and for keeping the burden of associated bottle costs squarely on the shoulders of the responsible parties. Please contact your legislators now. Tell them you oppose H646. In addition, if you are a constituent of a representative serving on the House Ways and Means Committee where H646 is currently under review, especially contact him or her.

 

HERE’S HOW!

 

Ø  Go to malegislature.gov/People/Search.

 

Ø  Fill in the information regarding the legislator you want to reach.

 

Ø  Click “Search by name.”

 

Ø  Click on the legislator’s picture to find his or her address, telephone number, and email address.

 

View the directory information displayed there. It should contain the legislator’s name, address, telephone number, and email addres

 

Evening of conversation in preparation for two massive mobilizations Mon Apr 18

Please join us!

 The Break Free Northeast Action Tour with
Jay O’Hara of the Climate Disobedience Center
and The Rubber Stamp Rebellion

intheground
Monday, April 18, 2016, 7-9 PM
Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst
121 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, Mass
Handicap accessible and on a bus line

Rubber Stamp Rebellion
Organized by Beyond Extreme Energy #BXE
Targeting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
Actions from May 15-22

Whether you are new to the movement or an experienced organizer, you are welcome! This is an exciting chance to act in the global movement for climatejustice.

For more info about #BreakFree2016, visit Albany2016.org
For more info about the FERC Rubber Stamp Rebellion go to BXE

Organizers and Hosts: Climate Action Now and Sugar Shack Alliance

Earth Jam! A Cappella and Comedy supporting Climate Justice. Saturday in Amherst

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The latest on solar legislation: CAN Statement on Solar Policy

While Climate Action NOW appreciates the time and effort the legislature has devoted to the issue of solar policy in the last months, we have significant concerns with the final bill, H.4173, that passed this week. While the bill raised the net metering cap a bit, continuing with a cap at all is counterproductive to sufficiently reduce our fossil fuel use in combating climate change, and arbitrary cuts to net metering compensation will harm low-income solar projects and  projects already in the queue awaiting the raising of the cap.

Other states such as California and New York have decided to continue with full retail net metering and to discontinue caps on net metering while they undertake a more complete analysis of the benefits and costs of solar to their communities.  Massachusetts should do no less.

Cutting the net metering compensation to 60% of the retail rate will significantly harm the development of low income solar projects.  While we applaud the legislature for maintaining the retail reimbursement rate for residential customers, we are deeply troubled by the juxtaposition of these two rates. Essentially, the bill offers wealthy and middle class solar homeowners a higher net metering credit than it offers low-income solar customers- for the same amount of energy supplied to the grid.  We do not believe the conferees intended to exacerbate economic inequality, but that is the unintended consequence .  Furthermore, by suggesting that DOER can rectify this inequality via the SREC incentive program, the bill displays a fundamental lack of understanding about low-income benefits.  Low-income residents cannot accept cash compensation (such as through SRECs) without compromising their eligibility for service and support programs they rely on.

Furthermore, facilitating the ability of the electric utilities to petition the DPU for mandatory minimum charges for solar customers without specifying a ceiling, or an exemption for low-income customers, will add a burden equivalent to a tax on all consumers that will especially harm low-income users.

Projects already in the queue were planned, financed and approved based on the prevailing retail net metering rate at the time of their development.  To retroactively change that anticipated compensation would jeopardize these projects and give Massachusetts a bad reputation among clean energy developers who will have no reason to trust policy stipulations at any point in time.

The Legislature needs to make the following fixes to our state’s solar policy this year as budget amendments, or as part of the comprehensive energy bill, in order to ensure equal access to solar for low-income communities and sustain future solar development:

  1. Eliminate the cap on net metering, given the significant cuts to net metering credit values.

  2. Restore full retail net metering for low-income solar projects.

  3. Specify that if DPU ultimately approves a mandatory minimum charge for solar customers, that charge cannot exceed $10 a month and low-income solar customers must be exempted from it.

  4. Exempt solar projects already in the queue from the reduced net metering rates.

***

Going Green Expo! Great Workshops, Demonstrations, Exhibits…

Going Green poster590

MA Fair Carbon Pricing: new website campaignforcleanenergyfuture.org

Massachusetts Campaign for a Clean Energy Future launches a new web site,  the new hub for all things carbon pricing. 

Please take a minute to check out our brand new  website campaignforcleanenergyfuture.org  
Climate Action Now of Western MA is proud to be part of this broad coalition dedicated to implementing carbon pricing in Massachusetts, the next big step in our state’s climate leadership.
Please visit our Join Us Page, and help us by signing our letter to key legislative targets responsible for passing carbon pricing legislation in Massachusetts.

Consider joining our campaign as a Volunteer District Representative, find out more and sign up to attend our summit onSaturday, April 9th, here.

Like our Facebook page: Ma Clean Energy Future

Follow us on Twitter: @macleanenergy

Important week ahead for climate action right here in our backyards.

2 important events this week, plus our monthly gathering!  Click on image to read the latest newsletter for background and event details.  Each and every one of us has a role to play in the climate action realm.

  1. Mon Mar 28 7 pm    Climate Action Now monthly gathering. Amherst. All welcome!
  2. Wed Mar 30. 6:30, outside with signs.  Greenfield DPU hearing.
  3. (POSTPONED –  Thu Mar 31 Berkshire Superior Court )

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This is the week! Western MA turns out to demonstrate our opposition to the pipeline…

Click on image to view all the details on this weeks pipeline protest walk,  and  all the evening events!!

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