Tina Ingmann

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What is our campaign for Carbon Pollution Fee and Rebate?

CAN-logo-finalWe’re working to make Massachusetts one of the first states in the Nation to pass a fair price on carbon. We’re members of the Massachusetts Campaign for a Clean Energy Future, a coalition of environmental, business, labor, and civic organizations that are working to insure that carbon pricing policies reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the Massachusetts economy, protect vulnerable populations, and are fair to households, businesses, and institutions.

 
The 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act committed our State to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020; but right now we’re not on track to hit that target. There’s a simple way to get on track: put a fair price on carbon dioxide emissions. That way we can preserve our environment and strengthen our economy.
 
Economists agree that a carbon fee and rebate is an efficient way to reduce emissions. It works like this: the state adds a fee to every ton of greenhouse gas emitted. This fee raises the price of polluting and encourages everyone to shift to cleaner energy sources, without complicated regulations. Instead of keeping the money, the state returns most or all of it to us, the taxpayers. That keeps the economy healthy. The state can also set aside a portion of the money to do things like encourage clean energy, build green infrastructure, or repair public transportation, all of which create more jobs. Other countries have done this. For example, the Canadian province of British Columbia introduced an economy-wide carbon fee and rebate program in 2008. Since the program started, emissions in B.C. have dropped by 16%, while rising by 3% elsewhere in Canada. Since 2008, B.C.’s economy has also grown faster than the rest of Canada.
 
If Massachusetts puts in fair carbon pricing, we would be among the first states to do so. As in many other policies, we would be a model for the rest of the nation to follow. Two carbon fee and rebate bills have already been proposed in the legislature this session, by Senator Michael Barrett and Representative Jennifer Benson. Read on to see how you can help turn these into law.

Click here to find info on Carbon Pricing for Farmers 

Climate Action combined with Joy – this is how we do it

Every time you see one of these flags,you are looking at a spot where methane is being wasted, and also speeding up climate change. Join us on Saturday when we fan out all over Northampton to mark these leaks, after the INTERdependence Day Parade! This is going to be a beautiful, community-building Local Climate Action. Gas companies want their new pipelines even as they are allowing old pipes to waste. Fix those leaks! Sat, Jul 2 at 1 pm downtown Northampton.gasleakFlag

Parade, performance, and CLIMATE ACTION!  The action after the celebration:  spread around Northampton tagging the gas leaks. Build awareness about the cost to the planet of leaking methane, which is a greenhouse gas 20 time more potent than co2. We want the gas companies to fix their leaks before they try to build new pipelines!

This is going to be a great day of celebration and positive, meaningful action. Perfect for the family!

2016July2Noho

More info on leaks here:  http://www.mothersoutfront.org/we_re_working_to_fix_gas_leaks

 

Action Alert! Last Chance to Shape MA Energy Bill Until 2018.

Help MA become the  leader in the Green Energy Revolution: get these amendments passed!

greenStatehouseM

The Senate votes on its Energy Bill (S.2372) this Thursday, June 30. This is our chance to shape the debate. The stronger the Senate Bill the better chance that the final Bill negotiated with the House will include our priorities.

To find contact information for your Senator go here and request support for the following amendments.
Script

 

“I am a constituent of Senator _______ and I’m calling to let them know that I support the Senate’s energy bill S.2372.  I would also like him/her to vigorously support the following AMENDMENTS:

*Sen. Jehlen’s amendment to ban the pipeline tax – Please prohibit electric companies from charging us for gas pipelines we don’t want.

*Sen. Creem’s amendment to strengthen our gas leaks laws- We need better gas leaks repair policies such as those included in the House bill by adding worker safety provisions.

*Sen. Eldridge’s amendment to restore retail net metering rate for low-income solar arrays- We need to assure that low-income families have equal access to the benefits of solar energy.

*Sen. Eldridge’s amendment to raise the solar net metering cap- We have already reached the new cap in some areas— we need to allow solar energy to grow and prosper!

*Sen. Barrett’s amendment to institute a carbon pricing policy (carbon fee and rebate)- This policy will move us to a cleaner environment, create jobs and be socially just.

Thank the Senator for supporting these important issues.”

Thank you for picking up the phone and making this one call now!

Phone calls needed before June 30: Urge these Amendments to MA Energy Bill

canPhoneCall your MA State Senator.  

Action needed now. Senate to act before 6/30.

In order to further support local clean energy resources, keep energy dollars in our communities, create good green jobs, and protect us from pollution and further damage to our climate, we ask the Senate to approve amendments to its good new energy bill that would:

  1. Prohibit electric utilities from charging ratepayers for new gas pipelines, and require them to repair existing pipeline leaks.

  1. Raise the solar net metering cap and restore retail net metering credits for low-income solar arrays.  The latest cap has already been reached in some places.

  1. Improve siting requirements for hydropower transmission projects and require local renewable energy inputs into the transmission lines, to effectively protect natural resources and to increase the availability of electricity from more local clean energy.

  1. Create a ‘Green Bank’ to jumpstart private investment in energy efficiency and clean energy in Massachusetts. In six states including CT and NY, Green Banks have proven to attract ten times more money from the private sector than the state provides as leverage.

  1. Adopt a Carbon Fee and Rebate policy to charge wholesalers of fossil fuels for the pollution their product creates. This has been instituted elsewhere and shown to reduce carbon pollution and create economic growth.

  1. Divest the state employee pension fund (PRIT) from fossil fuels over five years. It is antithetical to invest in fossil fuel companies that consistently act to preclude a transition to renewable energy when such a transition is exactly what we need to facilitate. Such investments are also a losing proposition as the world turns away from fossil fuels.

    CONTACT INFO FOR YOUR SENATOR HERE: Find your Senator https://malegislature.gov/People/Search

We Stopped Kinder Morgan; On June 28th We Stand with West Roxbury to Stop Spectra

wrox

Photo credit: Resist the West Roxbury Pipeline

Houston-based Spectra Energy is building a pipeline carrying fracked gas in West Roxbury, a densely populated residential area in Boston.This high-pressure pipeline would run within a hundred feet of an active blasting quarry, through residential neighborhoods, and past several schools. Opposition to the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline (WRLP) has been fierce and falls into two categories: Local Concerns and Climate Change.  Beginning on June 19th, pipeline fighters from across New England will join together for multiple, all-day, mass actions that will completely shut this project down.

This Tuesday, June 14th, Marla Marcum from Resist the Pipeline is coming to Northampton to help build for the June 28th Western Mass Day of Action to shut down the Spectra Pipeline in West Roxbury.  She will tell the story of the powerful community of resistance that has come together, and talk about how we can offer support. Marla will provide context and details about the June 28th Action in West Roxbury to help us to prepare for the day. Everyone is welcome to join us to learn more about the growing movement to resist the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline. RSVPs appreciated to sugarshackalliance@gmail.com

Resist the Pipeline’s Marla Marcum
Tuesday, June 14th at 7 PM
Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence
220 Main Street, Northampton, Mass
Accessible and on a bus line
On Tuesday, June 28th Western Mass will play an important role in the Stop Spectra Day of Mass Day of Action. Everyone is encouraged to join in this action. We ask you to RSVP to sugarshackalliance@gmail.com so we can plan carpooling, housing and estimate how many of us from Western Mass will be there.
 Western Mass Day of Action in West Roxbury to Stop Spectra
Tuesday, June 28th  (begins at 8 AM)
West Roxbury construction siteExact location to be announced
Everyone is strongly encouraged to join the day of action whether or not you plan to engage in non-violent civil disobedience. If you will be doing civil disobedience and you have not been through a Sugar Shack NVDA training please sign up for the next training on June 25th.  See details at the bottom of this newsletter.

Saturday! Join the local segment of a state-wide action to say NO WAY to the pipeline tax

 Saturday, June 4 in HOLYOKE at Veteran’s Field at 1 pm!  One pipeline down, but many more at our doorstep. Help spread the word that we will NOT pay for corporations to build last century’s infrastructure!

PTaxHolyoke

Here are the fake bills we’ll distribute

FakeElecA_Page_1 (648x1024) FakeElecA_Page_2 (638x1024)

Press Release: Northampton Pipe Leaks

Link to .docx file: press release noho gas leaks

 

“Neighborhood environmental group demands action on natural gas leaks”

 

Northampton. A newly-formed Northampton neighborhood environmental group has demanded action on 91 ongoing natural gas leaks, some unrepaired for over fifteen years, from local natural gas distributor Columbia Gas. Calling the leaks dangerous, unhealthy, expensive to ratepayers and a threat to the climate, twenty Northampton residents requested that a plan be created immediately to fix them, that neighborhoods affected by them be informed, that their cost over the years be assessed, and that ratepayers be recompensed for that cost.

 

The group Twodegrees@Greenneighbors.earth, formed in the fall to respond to the threat of climate change, sent the letter today to Stephen H. Bryant, president of Columbia gas.

The neighbors living in the Massasoit Street area, had gathered to plan local actions to limit greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. The year 2015 was the hottest on record, spurring action to support both individual lifestyle and government policy changes to stop the burning of fossil fuels that releases carbon dioxide. They had already planned an Earth day street fair and community yard sale on Saturday, April 23.

 

Recently, though, they became aware of a report by Home Energy Efficiency Team MA at www.HEETMA.org listing all natural gas leaks by city in Massachusetts. The report was compiled from data collected by gas distributors. In Northampton, Columbia Gas had reported 91 existing leaks in 2015, one of them on Massasoit Street in front of a group member’s house. She had been unaware of the leak, never notified by the company.

 

The main component of natural gas, methane, is highly flammable and its explosion in Springfield in 2012 flattened a two-story building.

 

Methane is also a potent greenhouse gas, eighty times as powerful as carbon dioxide in heating the climate over twenty years.

 

Further, ratepayers have been charged for the wasted gas in lieu of fixing the leaks. Separate studies assuming losses of .5% * vs. 2.7% ** per year through unrepaired leaks have estimated that in the state of Massachusetts as a whole consumers have paid from $22 million to $122 million for gas they never used.

 

In light of the company’s ability to recover this ongoing wasted fuel, the group in their letter question the need for new natural gas infrastructure, particular the hotly contested Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct pipeline being proposed to cross farmland and forest in Franklin County. Columbia Gas has placed a moratorium on all new hookups in Northampton and Easthampton until the pipeline is approved, stymying local development.

 

The group encourages residents to contact Columbia Gas and their local officials and demand action to fix the leaks as a measure in conservation, public health and reduced energy costs.

 

 

  • –  Sue Fleck. VP of Gas Safety, Ngrid, in video testimony to the Boston City Council, Sept. 2015.

** – Wofsy Harvard-University-led study, 2015, http://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2015/01/boston-s-natural-gas-infrastructure-releases-high-levels-of-heat-trapping-methane

Pipeline Leaks: Northampton Neighborhood Letter to Columbia Gas

Link to .DOCX document:   northampton letter to colulmbia gas

Stephen H. Bryant, President, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts

4 Technology Drive Suite 250

Westborough, MA 01581

 

Dear Sir:

We write to you out of grave concern for the at least 91 outstanding unrepaired gas leaks from Columbia gas equipment and hookups in the City of Northampton, some of them dating back to 1999.

We are a group of neighbors who have begun meeting to address the challenge of climate change.  We know that methane is a potent greenhouse gas, eighty times as powerful as carbon dioxide.  We also know that Columbia Gas, along with Berkshire Gas, claims that there is insufficient natural gas supply on winter peak use days, and has called for a moratorium on new gas hookups in Northampton until the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline has been approved by the Federal Energy Regulation Commission.

It was while investigating the validity of these claims concerning gas supply to our area that we discovered the research/ done by Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEETMA) with its “Squeaky Leak” Project. /http://www.heetma.org/squeaky-leak/natural-gas-leaks-maps/.  The information about the 91 gas leaks in the Northampton are from Columbia Gas records alone.  Your company has known about them and not repaired some of them for more than fifteen years.

This is startling and dismaying to us for several reasons:

1)  Gas leaks are dangerous. Natural gas is flammable and could lead to fires and explosions, like the one which flattened a two-story building on Worthington Street, Springfield in 2012.

2)  Leaks are unhealthy. The additive mercaptan is toxic to brain and nerves.

3)  Gas leaks contribute in an outsized way to climate change because of methane’s potency as a greenhouse gas.

4)  Leaks burden your customers who, for years, have been paying for gas that has been wasted. It has been estimated that the total yearly cost to ratepayers in the State of Massachusetts ranges from $22 million * to almost $122 million*.

As we were reviewing the leaks, we discovered to our collective alarm that one of the leaks is at the home of one of our members. She had never been informed. When she called your company to inquire, she had to demand that a work order be created.

We are at a loss as to why these leaks have not been repaired and require answers immediately to the following questions:

 

1)    Why have the gas leaks, some of which have been known about since 1999, not been repaired or even reported to the neighborhoods at risk?

2)    How much gas is being leaked daily into the atmosphere, and how much has been leaked over the last twenty years?

3)   Why, if the sufficiency of natural gas supply to Northampton is at issue, have the gas leaks not been repaired?

4)    What are your plans to repay Northampton customers for the years of payment for gas wastage from these known leaks?

5)   What is your specific plan for repairing all the leaks?

In the interest of public health, it behooves you immediately to inform all neighborhoods of the existence of the leaks and to start work on repairs.

In light of this long-term profligacy with the gas supply, you should also reconsider your assessment of the adequacy of gas supply to our area and the need for new natural gas infrastructure.

We expect a timely response.  Please contact us through

Marty Nathan MD at 413-531-9915 or at

24 Massasoit St., Northampton, MA 01060,

We will be speaking to our public officials and to the press about our concerns.

Sincerely,

 

Christine Olson

Kit Sang Boos

Marty Nathan

Elliot Fratkin

Hermine Levey

Peg Johnson

Hermine Levey Weston

John Yount

Giovanna Bellesia-Contuzzi

Peter Contuzzi

Jim Levey

Paul Spector

Jane Cross

Lynn Matteson

Mary Lavo Ford

Michele Wick

Barbara Tytell

Vanessa Adel

Suzanne Theberge

Denise Lello

 

 

  • – Sue Fleck. VP of Gas Safety, Ngrid in video testimony to the Boston City Council, Sept. 2015.

** – Wofsy Harvard-University-led study, 2015, http://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2015/01/boston-s-natural-gas-infrastructure-releases-high-levels-of-heat-trapping-methane

 

 

CAN / Mass Power Forward: Statement on Solar Energy Legislation

CAN-logo-final

Contact for CAN Solar Legislation subgroup:  

Solar Energy Legislation 2015/2016

Climate Action Now and its allies support the legislature in attempting to act on solar energy in 2015 prior to taking up a more complex omnibus energy bill in 2016.

However, H.3854 as written would impede progress in reducing global warming emissions by restricting the growth of solar, and would weaken the solar industry, resulting in a loss of jobs and tax revenue.

Therefore we ask legislators to carefully consider the following points and to notify the conference committee – Representatives Dempsey, Golden, and Brad Jones; Senators Downing, Tarr and Pacheco; as well as Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Rosenberg, of the need to incorporate these changes to the final compromise.

  1. Eliminate the cap on solar energy net metering*.

Rationale:  Already the existing cap is having an adverse impact on 175 affected communities by preventing them from saving on their electricity costs, and the state is losing jobs and tax revenue by reining in the solar industry.  Raising the cap slightly (by the proposed 2% in H. 3854) will only allow a portion of planned projects to be completed before the new cap is reached, likely in six months.  At that point, new legislation would be required to raise the cap yet again.

Eliminating the cap would give solar businesses the long-term assurance they need to maintain and grow their workforce, providing jobs and tax revenue.  It would also enable municipalities to pursue solar arrays to achieve their greenhouse gas reduction goals and cost savings, and encourage low-income and community shared solar projects, helping expand renewable energy in an equitable manner.

 

  1. Maintain the current retail reimbursement rate for net metering until comprehensive study of the issue is completed.

Rationale:  Slashing the reimbursement rate from retail to wholesale for sizeable arrays will make them less likely to be built, as the return on investment will be drastically reduced.  H.3854 cuts the reimbursement rate by 75%.  Municipal, low-income and shared community arrays require the retail reimbursement rate for financial viability. If a cut in the cost of solar to utilities is found to be necessary (see point 5 below), the Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC**) incentive program can be modified without harming municipal low-income, or community solar projects (see point 6 below).

 

  1. Do not allow utility companies to impose a mandatory monthly minimum charge as stipulated in H.3854.

Rationale:  Mandatory minimum charges would discourage energy conservation by raising costs for low-energy users, and discourage investment in solar arrays. As worded, H.3854 could result in annual minimum charges of $360 for residential solar customers and significantly higher bills for businesses and municipalities, negating much of their investment in solar. If any such charge is considered, it should be informed by an actual study of the benefits and costs of solar energy, and limited to a reasonable fee.

  1. Grandfather all solar projects so that their reimbursement rate remains as agreed upon when they were built.

Rationale: Transitioning to lower reimbursement mid-stream (in 20 years as stipulated in H.3854) fails to honor agreements made when project costs were calculated, undermining confidence in doing business in Massachusetts. This would have a chilling effect on new projects that require long-term payback.

  1. Initiate a transparent process to study the actual costs and benefits of solar to guide long-term policy.

Rationale:  The inaccurate and misleading claims of the utility industry about the cost of solar need to be independently evaluated. The considerable benefits of solar must be factored into the equation.  Prior analyses have shown that the actual benefits of solar outweigh its costs, for example by eliminating the need for more power plants, reducing pollution from burning fossil fuels and offering protection from unpredictable fluctuation in the price of fossil fuels.

 

  1. Reform the SREC** program to lower ratepayer costs

Rationale: The SREC program accounts for the majority of solar costs to utilities and can be reduced without tinkering with the proven worth of net metering reimbursement. Adjusting the SREC program would be more equitable for low-income communities that are not eligible for SRECs but depend on net metering reimbursement, and for other solar users who do not own their arrays.  The Dep’t of Energy Resources (DOER) can examine and adjust the SREC program.

_______________________________________________________________

*Solar net metering refers to the program that reimburses solar customers for the excess power they generate and provide to the grid.

 

**Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) provide cash benefits to solar owners who sell credits from their arrays on the market administered by the Department of Energy Reso

Here is printable, nicely formatted PDF  File with the above information:  CAN Statement on Solar Energy Legislation

 

 

 

 

 

Solar Energy Legislation 2015/2016

Solar Energy Legislation 2015/2016
Climate Action Now and its allies support the House in attempting to act on solar energy in 2015
prior to taking up a more complex omnibus energy bill in 2016.
However, H.3854 as written would impede progress in reducing global warming emissions by
restricting the growth of solar, and would weaken the solar industry, resulting in a loss of jobs
and tax revenue.
Therefore we ask legislators to carefully consider the following points and to notify the
conference committee – Representatives Dempsey, Golden, and Brad Jones; Senators
Downing, Tarr and Pacheco; as well as Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Rosenberg of the
need to incorporate these changes to the final compromise.
1. Eliminate the cap on solar energy net metering*.
Rationale: Already the existing cap is having an adverse impact on 171 affected communities
by preventing them from saving on their electricity costs, and the state is losing jobs and tax
revenue by reining in the solar industry. Raising the cap slightly (by the proposed 2% in H.
3854) will only allow a portion of planned projects to be completed before the new cap is
reached, likely in six months. At that point, new legislation would be required to raise the cap
yet again.
Eliminating the cap would give solar businesses the long-term assurance they need to maintain
and grow their workforce, providing jobs and tax revenue. It would also enable municipalities to
pursue solar arrays to achieve their greenhouse gas reduction goals and cost savings, and
encourage low-income and community shared solar projects, helping expand renewable energy
in an equitable manner.
2. Maintain the current retail reimbursement rate for net metering until comprehensive
study of the issue is completed.
Rationale: Slashing the reimbursement rate from retail to wholesale for sizeable arrays will
make them less likely to be built, as the return on investment will be drastically reduced. H.3854
cuts the reimbursement rate by 75%. Municipal, low-income and shared community arrays
require the retail reimbursement rate for financial viability. If a cut in the cost of solar to utilities is
found to be necessary (see point 5 below), the Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC**)
incentive program can be modified without harming municipal low-income, or community solar
projects (see point 6 below).
1 3 16 www.ClimateActionNowMA.org
3. Do not allow utility companies to impose a mandatory monthly minimum charge as
stipulated in H.3854.
Rationale: Mandatory minimum charges would discourage energy conservation by raising costs
for low-energy users, and discourage investment in solar arrays. As worded, H.3854 could
result in annual minimum charges of $360 for residential solar customers and significantly
higher bills for businesses and municipalities, negating much of their investment in solar. If any
such charge is considered, it should be informed by an actual study of the benefits and costs of
solar energy, and limited to a reasonable fee.
4. Grandfather all solar projects so that their reimbursement rate remains as agreed
upon when they were built.
Rationale: Transitioning to lower reimbursement mid-stream (in 20 years as stipulated in
H.3854) fails to honor agreements made when project costs were calculated, undermining
confidence in doing business in Massachusetts. This would have a chilling effect on new
projects that require long-term payback.
5. Initiate a transparent process to study the actual costs and benefits of solar to guide
long-term policy.
Rationale: The inaccurate and misleading claims of the utility industry about the cost of solar
need to be independently evaluated. The considerable benefits of solar must be factored into
the equation. Prior analyses have shown that the actual benefits of solar outweigh its costs, for
example by eliminating the need for more power plants, reducing pollution from burning fossil
fuels and offering protection from unpredictable fluctuation in the price of fossil fuels.
6. Reform the SREC** program to lower ratepayer costs
Rationale: The SREC program accounts for the majority of solar costs to utilities and can be
reduced without tinkering with the proven worth of net metering reimbursement. Adjusting the
SREC program would be more equitable for low-income communities that are not eligible for
SRECs but depend on net metering reimbursement, and for other solar users who do not own
their arrays. The Dep’t of Energy Resources (DOER) can examine and adjust the SREC
program.
_______________________________________________________________
*Solar net metering refers to the program that reimburses solar customers for the excess power
they generate and provide to the grid.
**Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) provide cash benefits to solar owners who sell
credits from their arrays on the market administered by the Department of Energy

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