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Invitation to a community conversation

Climate Action Now invites you to a virtual community conversation on May 13 about the future of our Regenerative Farming, Forests and Food Systems Group (RF3). Our intention is to bring together people who have worked with us over the years and to encourage new voices and leadership as we envision the next chapter of our work.

Regenerative Farming, Forests and Food Systems Community Conversation Monday May 13,  7:00-8:30pm Zoom registration here

Community Conversation in March — Reconvening RF3

Dear friends of the Regenerative Farming, Forests and Food Systems Group (RF3) of Climate Action Now and other earth loving humans:

Let’s gather to envision the next chapter of our work together. Join us for a virtual community conversation on March 18, 2024 at 7pm.

Please complete a short survey, whether or not you can make it to the meeting.

Bring your ideas, passion, and skills as we usher in a new generation of leadership and feel free to forward this invitation to your networks.

We look forward to being with you. Lenore Bryck, on behalf of RF3 

Register here

Survey link

Subsidies for Solar – Comment period open til 2/2/24

Mass. DOER (Dept. of Energy Resources) has opened a public comment period regarding the solar subsidy program, SMART and is requesting responses to questions on this document.

Because we know that most large-scale solar developments in forests, on agricultural land, or threatening the environment receive a SMART subsidy, our voices need to be heard if we hope to change the SMART regs . A large response rate might make them pay attention. If nothing else, our recommendations will be documented. 

Thank you to Michael DeChiara for offering these guidelines and attachments to help make this simpler for us to respond.  The following are attached.

  1. Selected questions and possible responses (talking points). Choose what makes sense to you. You can add other thoughts they don’t ask about for question #14.
  2. Michael’s responses, in case this is helpful
  3. Sections of the SMART regs that he thinks are most relevant to comment on
  4. Blank Word file with the questions that DOER’s consultants are asking 

The deadline for submitting written comments on the questions for the SMART review is Friday, February 2, 2024 by 5pm.

Instructions to submit:

Send your edited document via email to:   

Climate Oriented Forest Management Guidelines

The Healey-Driscoll Administration released the report of the Climate Forestry Committee on Jan. 4, 2024 — Recommendations for Climate Oriented Forest Management Guidelines — and related materials.

Here is the link: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/forests-as-climate-solutions#overview-

Here is their “invitation” to respond:

“We invite public comment on this report to inform the state’s implementation of the recommendations. To provide written comment on this report, please do so via the following form: share comments. Comments submitted by January 24th at 5pm will facilitate consideration. If you are limited by length or wish to share attachments, please send materials to guidelines@mass.gov.”

Stopping the Eversource Springfield-Longmeadow Pipeline

Springfield Climate Justice Coalition’s Comment Letter to the MA Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Comment sign-on deadline is Friday July 7, 2023 at noon.

Organizations and individuals can use this form to sign on to the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition’s comment letter.

SCJC’s very readable and thorough text is here. It addresses the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) written by Eversource Gas for their proposed Springfield-Longmeadow pipeline.

More from the Climate Action Now Western Mass. newsletter:  Urgent action needed to stop the Eversource Pipeline

The Conservation Law Foundation also has a comment letter that the public can sign on to here.

Valley Green Energy

From the Newsletter, June 25, 2023:

Residents of Amherst, Pelham and Northampton have been working together for years to bring Valley Green Energy, a group electricity buying program, to their city/town so that residents and businesses will have new choices and greater control over the cost and environmental impact of the electricity they use. You can learn more about this program at the Valley Green Energy website and by viewing this recording

Valley Green Energy needs regulatory approval from the state before the program is able to launch. One meaningful action residents can take to green our electricity is to write a comment to the Department of Public Utilities before June 30. Go here for details.

http://climateactionnowma.org/help-launch-valley-green-energy/

 Comments will accompany the application materials to DPU, so they are key for showing community support for the aggregation. See example comments here written by Local Energy Advocates.

Comments may be submitted to:

  • Carolyn Misch at cmisch@northamptonma.gov (for Northampton residents) 
  • Stephanie Ciccarello at ciccarellos@amherstma.gov (for Amherst residents) 
  • Bob Agoglia pelhamadministrator@comcast.net (for Pelham residents)

Be sure “ In Support of Valley Green Energy” appears in the subject line of the email. You can attach a pdf of your comments, or include them in the text of the email.

Protect a critical northeast forest corridor: save Vermont’s Telephone Gap from logging plan

The Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont is under threat of logging of nearly 12,000 acres. Add your comments to tell the U.S. Forest Service to let the forest do its work without the interference of “timber harvesting.”

From Zack Porter of Standing Trees: Telephone Gap On the Chopping Block

On Friday, January 27th, the US Forest Service announced its Proposed Action for the Telephone Gap Integrated Resource Project in the Green Mountain National Forest, initiating a 45-day public comment period that will extend through Monday, March 13th. This comment period is the first formal opportunity for the public to weigh in on the project after a year of delays. Please use our fact sheet for help with comment writing.

Farm Bill Action!

Support Agriculture as part of the solution to the climate crisis, Support Racial Justice, Support Local Food and Organic Farms

From NOFAMass

Please use this form (right now!) asking your congressional Representative and Senator to support a packet of bills endorsed by NOFA which have been proposed for the 2023 Farm Bill. Encourage your Congressional delegation to cosponsor these “marker” bills (details below from the action page). Increasing the number of cosponsors builds support for these bills and will make the provisions more likely to end up in the Farm Bill!

You have an opportunity to help create more biodiverse, equitable, and regenerative farms, increase soil health, reduce fossil fuels and pesticides in farming practices, and promote a community-based food system that is more resilient to climate change grounded in a long-term vision to transform the unsustainable and consolidated agricultural industry that is susceptible to systemic supply shocks, while extracting wealth from rural communities by asking your congressional Representative and Senator to support this packet of bills that have been proposed for the 2023 Farm Bill.

Increasing the number of cosponsors builds support for these bills and will make the provisions more likely to end up in the Farm Bill.

You can help, and it takes only moments – please use this form to encourage your Congressional delegation to cosponsor the below bills.

This form can be used by everyone in the US – it will send a letter to your member of congress.

If you are a farmer, please do indicate your farm name/location.

We are asking congress to support the inclusion of these bills in the 2023 Farm Bill:

Agriculture Resilience Act

Establishes goal for agriculture to reach net zero by 2040, while investing in agricultural research, soil health, transition to pasture-based livestock, ensuring farmland preservation and viability, on-farm renewable energy, and reducing food waste.

Justice for Black Farmers Act

Enacts policies to end discrimination within the USDA, protect remaining Black farmers   from losing their land, provide land grants to create a new generation of Black farmers.

Strengthening Local Processing Act
A comprehensive plan to increase slaughter options for local livestock and poultry producers, assist smaller facilities as they adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, and help consumers access locally-raised meat and poultry. Food and Agribusiness Merger Moratorium and Antitrust Review Act

Places a moratorium on certain acquisitions between large agricultural and retail-related businesses and establishes a commission to study and make recommendations to address concentration in the U.S. food and agricultural economy.

Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP)

Increase LAMP funding, reduce matching requirements to broaden producer participation, and expand opportunities for family-scale fisheries through a systems approach that promotes food sovereignty.

Rally & Hearing in Greenfield about Northfield Solar Project

NORTHFIELD 76 ACRE PRIME FARMLAND SOLAR SPECIAL PERMIT APPEAL 

Rally at 8:30 am, Hearing at 9:00 on Monday, November 28, 2022, in Greenfield at the Franklin County Court House, 425 Main St.

The court will hear arguments about a special permit for solar arrays in Northfield on Pine Meadow Road. The Northfield Planning Board granted the permit for three arrays on 76 acres. Here is an article from the Greenfield Recorder about the scope of the project.

The rally calls attention to the loss of farmland for the sake of solar development, as well as ratepayer funding for “dual use” solar. This project is right near the Connecticut River in the “Northfield Farms” area, considered some of the richest farmland in the world. It has been continuously used for farming for thousands of years. This proposal is being funded by the MA solar SMART program.

Please attend, bring signs, spread the word.

Rally to Stop Eversource’s Clearcutting of 370 Acres of Mature Forest

Our Revolution MA (ORMA) and others will rally on Tuesday October 18, 2022 from 4 to 6 PM at the Eversource facility in Hadley.  55 Russell St. (Rt. 9), Hadley, MA (Park in Hampton Inn Village Shops west of Eversource.) Rain Date: Wednesday, October 19, 4 to 6pm.

When Eversource originally installed a 29-mile-long electric line (running through 11 towns in the western Mass Connecticut River Valley), they were permitted to cut a 100-foot swath of mature trees. Now Eversource wants to double the width of the corridor to 200 feet by clearcutting an additional 370 acres of forest! They are also demanding the state waive the required environmental impact review!

Weighing the worth of these trees for the public good: Eversource’s plan will mean cities and towns must spend money to mitigate the costs of (1) a significant increase in stormwater runoff and flooding, (2) lose annual carbon capture, (3) incur damage to local habitats, including those of endangered species, and (4) lose tourism income from New England foliage! These losses will affect many western Mass towns, including: Northfield, Erving, Wendell, Montague, Leverett, Shutesbury, Pelham, Belchertown, Amherst, Granby, and Ludlow.

The campaign to stop Eversource has sent thousands of letters and submitted hundreds of comments demanding that the Mass. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) reject Eversource’s request for a waiver of the required environmental impact report. And in response …. We have heard NOTHING!

The rally calls for Eversource end its opposition to a  full environmental impact report, as is required by the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA), and insists that the Mass. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), do its job! 

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