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! 

Protect MA forests in DCR comment period

The comment period for the 10-year review of Mass. state land designations ends September 28, 2022.

Click here to access a sign-on letter with this simple message, “We, the undersigned, call for state-owned lands administered by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, including all woodlands, reserves, watersheds, and undeveloped parklands, to be designated and permanently protected as Carbon and Biodiversity Reserves.” If there are specific DCR lands that you know and love, you can add comments to this online letter.

And view the video Calling for Carbon and Biodiversity Reserves on Our State Lands: Serving the Public Interest (9/6/22) with Michael Kellett, Executive Director of RESTORE: The North Woods, climate scientist Dr. Bill Moomaw, and biologist Bill Stubblefield.

For more information, visit Save Massachusetts Forests and read on…

To write your own letter, comments may be submitted online at www.mass.gov/dcr/public-comment. The public can say directly to DCR the same things that were said during the hearing for the forest protection bills– H912 and H1002: all DCR land, including the watersheds, should become either “parks” or “reserves,” where land management is similar to our National Parks.

The current DCR plan, written in 2012,  is here: https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2016/08/qq/management-guidelines.pdf

The full sign-on message: “We, the undersigned, call for state-owned lands administered by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, including all woodlands, reserves, watersheds, and undeveloped parklands, to be designated and permanently protected as Carbon and Biodiversity Reserves. These Reserves would protect intact ecosystems, which are influenced primarily by natural processes, with only minimal human interference. Limited management activities would be allowed if proven to be necessary to protect public safety, endangered species, or the environment.”

In the video, Calling for Carbon and Biodiversity Reserves on Our State Lands, Michael Kellett, Bill Moomaw and Bill Stubblefield provided background to help the public better understand the issues and how to frame comments to the DCR during this ten-year review of its landscape designations.

Carbon & Biodiversity Reserves on Our State Lands: Serving the Public Interest

Landscape designations re-imagined to capture carbon and preserve biodiversity

Register HERE for this online event to learn the issues and how to frame comments to the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation during the comment period that ends September 28, 2022.

This backgrounder comes from experts in their fields:

  • Michael Kellett, Executive Director of RESTORE: The North Woods,
  • Climate scientist Dr. Bill Moomaw,
  • Biologist Bill Stubblefield.

There will be time for Q & A after the presentations.

Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYpf-iprzsiHtdF_gXhWKNvJjklvQupZOMb . If you register, you will get a recording sent to you when it is available. 

DCR’s listening sessions allow the public to weigh in on the first 10-year review of the Landscape Designations and Management Guidelines developed in 2012.

The current DCR plan  is here: (https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2016/08/qq/management-guidelines.pdf ).
The public can now say the same things that were said to the legislature during the hearings for the forest protection bills  (H.912 and H.1002). Now the comments can go directly to DCR.  And we are saying the same things that we said when working on the bills: all DCR land, including the watersheds, become either “parks” or “reserves” where land management is similar to our National Parks. These measures would protect intact ecosystems from logging and most other active management — a level of protection that now exists for only 1% of the state’s land base..

To take action: Click HERE to sign a petition asking the DCR to create more permanent, protected reserves.

Here is the text of the petition:

 We, the undersigned, call for state-owned lands administered by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, including all woodlands, reserves, watersheds, and undeveloped parklands, to be designated and permanently protected as Carbon and Biodiversity Reserves.

These Reserves would protect intact ecosystems, which are influenced primarily by natural processes, with only minimal human interference. Limited management activities would be allowed if proven to be necessary to protect public safety, endangered species, or the environment.

cover image: DCR report Landscape Designations for DCR Parks & Forests:
Selection Criteria and Management Guidelines

Eversource proposes massive tree cutting along transmission power lines!

Eversource wants to cut all trees within 100 feet of transmission power  lines running from the Northfield Substation, through the towns of Erving, Wendell, Montague, Leverett, Shutesbury, Pelham, Belchertown, Amherst and Granby, to the Ludlow Substation in Ludlow, crossing two Environmental Justice communities: Wendell and Amherst.

Eversource has filed with MEPA (Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office) in order to move forward with its plan to cut over 370 acres of trees along the transmission power line corridor.

Take action by sending a comment to MEPA!  Go HERE for an action guide which will give you all the info you need. Please share with family and friends. 

The original MEPA comment deadline was set for Monday August 22nd. We have heard that an extension to that deadline is being negotiated. Watch for updates!

Check out this video of a meeting with Eversource called by Senator Jo Comerford

Tell DCR to protect state lands

DCR Landscape Designations and Management Guidelines 10-Year Review

The Department of Conservation and Recreation is holding a series of public meetings from late August to mid-September to discuss their review of the 2012 DCR Landscape Designations and Management Guidelines. These meetings offer the public a chance to provide feedback on the review, comment on evolving climate concerns, and discuss designations for properties acquired since 2012.

There will be 5 opportunities for the public to participate in live meetings, presenting the same material in each, and a field walk.

  • In-person sessions:
    • Thursday, September 8th 6:30pm-8:30pm MassWildlife Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581
    • Tuesday, September 13th 6:30pm-8:30pm Pittsfield Athenaeum, One Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield, MA 01201

DCR encourages the public to share additional feedback, with a deadline for receipt of comments by September 28th, 2022. Comments may be submitted online at www.mass.gov/dcr/public-comment. Please note that the content of comments you submit to DCR, along with your name, town, and zip code, will be posted on DCR’s website. Additional contact information required when commenting, notably email address, will only be used for outreach on future updates on the subject project or property.

(NEW INFO 7/31!) ONE DAY ONLY! ACTION GUIDE for Thursday 7/30/2020

UPDATE JULY 31 (there is still time):

7/31 Amendment work on the climate bill is ongoing today. You can send you rep an email during the procedings to ask to co-sponsor and some of them will respond…that’s how quickly this is changing. For updates please see the Mass Power Forward LIVE document

IN A NUTSHELL: 7/30 4 pm deadline to recruit your MA State representative to sign onto important climate amendments. Sample emails, calls, social media go HERE

Mass Power Forward ACTION GUIDE: Recruit your legislator to co-sponsor late-breaking amendments. We only have to around Thursday Afternoon – GO GO GO

For Environmental Justice, 100% Renewable Energy and more

RAPID ACTION GOAL: Get your legislator to co-sponsor important amendments to the climate bill.

Urgency: Wednesday July 29th, the House released a climate bill. We will only have one day to gather co-sponsors for our amendments. The timing is hard because once the climate bill is released we have to 1) read it and see what is missing 2) activate sponsors for amendments 3) gather co-sponsors for those amendments. 

Outcomes we prioritize

  • Environmental Justice – Include communities impacted by climate change and fossil fuel pollution as participants in crafting new, equitable policy
  • 100% Renewable Energy – Set an ambitious goal to equitably reach 100% renewable electricity by 2035 and 100% renewable energy for heating and transportation by 2045
  • Equitable Investment in Green Infrastructure – Use mechanisms such as equitable carbon pricing or the transportation climate initiative to invest today to create the future we want

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Bill Summary
  2. How to contact your Rep
  3. The Amendment List with Numbers
  4. Sample Email
  5. Sample Call Script
  6. Sample Online Action Post
  7. Tracking- see if your legislator has co-sponsored yet
  8. What to do after you contact your Representative
  9. Background Context
  10. Live updates from Tim Cronin if you want the blow by blow
  11. Link to the Bill Language
  12.  FAQ and Help
  13. Who is Mass Power Forward?

______________________________________________________________________________

Bill Summary

On Wednesday, July 29, the Massachusetts House of Representatives released their version of the MA Senate’s Next Generation Climate bill that passed earlier this year. However, this bill is significantly different from the original Senate version. This new bill, H.4912, most closely resembles Rep. Meschino’s roadmap bill, but there are some substantial changes worth noting.

What’s included in this bill:

  • Emissions targets for 2030 and 2040, which require the state to reduce emissions by 50% and 75% below 1990 levels respectively.
  • A commitment to a statewide net zero emission target by 2050.
  • Establishes a “clean energy equity workforce and market development program” within the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC).
  • Creates a low-income home retrofit task force to make recommendations to the energy efficiency advisory council to increase access to energy efficiency and electrician programs for low income residents.
  • Establishes a greenhouse gas reporting standard for Municipal Light Plants (MLPs) that requires 50% non-emitting energy by 2030, 75% non-emitting energy by 2040, and net zero emissions by 2050. “Non-emitting” is broadly defined.
  • Various improvements around net metering and the SMART solar incentive program
  • Establishes a future utility grid commissions to make recommendations to better connect renewable energy and storage to the grid.

What’s missing:

  • No commitment to 100% renewable energy or changes to the RPS.
  • No inclusion of environmental justice language.
  • No commitment than monies raised by a market-based compliance mechanism (e.g. carbon pricing or TCI) will be prioritized for low income or EJ communities.

Other proposed changes:

  • Take Action Faster: This bill gives the DPU until the end of 2023 to issue regulations around the 2030 and 2040 emissions targets. We propose that this deadline be pushed up until no later than June 2022.

______________________________

How to Contact your Representatives: phone numbers, emails, social media handles

Go to the CAN page How To Contact Your Representatives for many Western MA addresses if you know the name of your representative. For the complete list, check https://malegislature.gov/search/findmylegislator

The Amendment List with Numbers – FINALIZED 5:26pm on Wednesday

For our core outcomesAmendment #Lead Sponsor
Environmental Justice#52Rep. Madaro
100% Renewable Energy 1 : Clean Electricity Implementation#31Rep. Decker
100% Renewable Energy 2: Heating and Transportation Clean Energy Transition$46Rep. Decker
Equitable Investment 1: Investing in Working & Environmental Justice Communities#56Rep. Robinson
Equitable Investment 2: Prioritizing Rebates to Massachusetts low- and moderate- income Families#6Rep. Driscoll 
For Cleaning Up the Bill as it relates to our Vision
Accelerating Emission Target Deadlines#62Rep. Sabadosa
Clarification of Indirect Emissions (landfill emissions, gas leaks, agricultural sector)#17Rep. Rogers
Indirect Emissions Analysis#81Rep. Rogers
Definition of Non-Carbon Emitting#21Rep. Erhlich

Sample Email

Sample Email

Dear Rep. ___________

As your constituent, I want to thank you for your leadership on supporting aggressive climate legislation.   I am emailing with the Mass Power Forward coalition which has 3 priorities:  environmental justice, 100% clean and renewable energy for all, and equitable investments through carbon pricing.  We urge you to co-sponsor the following amendments to H.4912 An Act setting next-generation climate policy

#52 Environmental Justice (Madaro)
#31 Clean Electricity Implementation (Decker)
#46 Heating and Transportation Clean Energy Transition (Decker)
#56 Investing in Working & Environmental Justice Communities (Robinson)
#6 Prioritizing Rebates to Massachusetts low- and moderate- income Families (Driscoll )
#62 Accelerating Emission Target Deadlines (Sabadosa)
#17 Clarification of Indirect Emissions (Rogers)
#81 Indirect Emissions Analysis (Rogers)
#21 Definition of Non-Carbon Emitting (Ehrlich)

Sincerely, [Name]    

Sample Call Script

Sample Call Script

Hi,My name is [ first name], and I live in [town/city].   I am with a broad coalition of environmental groups called Mass Power Forward and we’re calling about climate legislation, specifically, H.4912 An Act setting next-generation climate policy and amendments that have been filed to that bill.   I sent an email to your office with the amendment numbers that achieve our goals of Environmental Justice, 100% clean and renewable energy for all, and creating equitable investments through carbon pricing.   

***If you are talking to staff:  If there is a staff email that I can CC, please let me know what it is so I can forward the list.***

As a constituent, I ask that you co-sponsor these important climate justice amendments.  
Have a nice day/night!  

Sample Social Media Post

Sample Social Media Post

Twitter and facebook are excellent alternative ways to get your Representative’s attention! Especially if their voicemail is full.
First, Find your legislator’s social media accounts here: https://www.progressivemass.com/ma_legislators_contact
Second, using the sample email/call script- write a short post from the heart and tag your legislator.
Dear @ legislator Please co-sponsor amendments to the climate bill for Environmental Justice, 100% renewable energy and equitable investment. These amendments are core to the future we need now.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What to do after you contact your Representative

  1. Feel free to tell someone on the Planning Team if something notable happened
    1. Claire Miller – Claire@communityactionworks.org
    2. Jacob Stern – jacob.stern@sierraclub.org 
    3. Laura Wagner – lwagner@uumassaction.org 
    4. Cabell Eames – cabell@betterfutureproject.org 
  2. Follow up!!! We have so little time. 
  3. Check back to see if they do it, and if they do- THANK THEM

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

TRACKER

As we get confirmation of co-sponsorship, we will update here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/17I0gsacafFTxYXYmU3cScAoPzsO7jMuHq9lpbqqfT6w/edit#gid=365374171

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Context: We live in a stark climate reality that threatens us with unprecedented weather events like flooding and droughts.  The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change latest report indicates we have only 12 years to drastically upgrade our energy policies if we wish to avoid the worst effects of climate change.  Many of our communities, especially those with a majority of people of color and low incomes, have had to bear the brunt of decades of fossil fuel pollution and are most at risk from climate change.  We call upon you to prevent unnecessary pollution-related illness and death in these communities and to endorse just and equitable solutions to fix our dirty energy system. NOW is the time for bold, decisive action from our state legislature!

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Live updates from Tim Cronin if you want the blow by blow

Click here to follow live updates with ClimateXChange’s Tim Cronin

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CfQsZpEacoMASYjmm0L9YlelHrvLBOX5YQQ8–2nphE/edit

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Link to the bill language (that we are trying to amend!)

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JbFnwh2Qt8BLKgjAfUWFPckHOYYmfgxlTINTC0SWZbE/edit

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

FAQ and HELP

If you need help, feel free to email Claire Miller at claire@communityactionworks.org or text at 781-775-1429

Q: I heard they extended the session, will they still vote on this right now?

A: Yes.

Q: What do I do if their voicemail is full?

A: Get creative! Tweet at them. Facebook messege them!

Q: What happens after this?

A: it will go into a conference committee with the Senate version where they reconcile the two versions. THIS version, the House one, will be the “floor”- so we want to raise it as to be as good as possible. After that it will almost 99% likely pass, and go to Baker’s desk. These short hours are THE last real moment grassroots can change the outcome.

______________________

Who is Mass Power Forward?

Mass Power Forward is a coalition of environmental leaders, community development organizations, clean energy businesses, faith groups, neighborhood health and safety advocates, and Massachusetts families fighting for clean, affordable, reliable energy and a thriving economy.

Some tips for making Zoom work for you:

Audio:

  • If you hover over the bottom left corner of the zoom window, you can choose between calling in on your phone or using computer audio. If your internet isn’t very strong, your phone audio may be better.
  • Please keep yourself muted except when you are speaking. On a computer, click on the audio icon on the lower left of your screen to mute and unmute. On a landline phone, hit * 6 to mute and unmute. 

Video:

  • To turn your webcam on, hover over the lower left corner of the zoom window and click on “Start Video.” You do need a webcam for this to work! 
  • If your internet isn’t very strong, turning your camera off may make your connection more stable.

View:

  • In the upper right corner of the zoom window, try clicking back and forth between gallery and speaker view. Use whichever you like – this only affects your own screen!

Participation:

  • You can ‘raise your hand’ to ask a question. On a computer, click the participants icon at the bottom of your screen and click raise hand in the dialog box.  If you are on a landline phone, hit *9 to raise/lower your hand.
  • When doing a go-around (like introductions), after you have spoken, call on someone else to speak. Everyone’s view of the group is not the same, so we can’t say ‘pass to the person on your left’.
  • You can also use the chat window to share links, comments, etc.

If you would like to test this out before the meeting, click join a test meeting to familiarize yourself with Zoom.

We recommend that you join us through a computer or tablet.  If you must use a phone, please download the Zoom app, to improve your ability to participate.

Holyoke – Columbia Gas Resistance

Start Here: Climate Action 101

Good news: one person CAN do something about the climate crisis. One of the most effective actions is to spread the word!

Our task at this moment, spring 2019, is to rapidly build public backing for necessary immediate and aggressive solutions. The coming months are crucial to elevating climate to an important voter issue in the next election.

Start by understanding the basic problem, the basic reasons that global warming has been allowed to proceed, and the basic solutions.

Then talk to your family, friends, co-workers.

Clear & sharable Q & A from the New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/climate/what-is-climate-change.html

GREEN NEW DEAL information and actions

[3/21/19: page in progress…more to come]

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