Our Carbon Pollution Fee and Rebate Group had a busy and productive year…Read about our group on the Climate Action Now (CAN) webpage (See http://climateactionnowma.org/carbon-fee/).
CAN is a member of the statewide coalition, the MA Campaign for a Clean Energy Future (http://campaignforcleanenergyfuture.org). Led by Mary Jo Maffei, with assistance from Dave Roitman, Tony Rogers and Sherry Morgan, we worked with a number of other groups to contact legislators, their staffs, and their constituents.
We also helped to organize several community events to educate constituents, local officials and business leaders about carbon pollution pricing. In addition, we produced a number of documents to support these efforts — including flyers, op-eds, and letters to the editor.
We deeply appreciate collaborating with the following groups: ARISE for Social Justice, Springfield Climate Justice Coalition, Springfield Area Interfaith Climate Action Network (SAICAN), Citizens Climate Lobby, Clean Water Action, Climate XChange, Mass Interfaith Power and Light, Mass Power Forward, Mothers Out Front, Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM), 350 Central Mass, 350.org Massachusetts, the League of Women Voters, Sierra Club and the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action.
Contacts with Massachusetts State Legislators
Members of our group held almost 40 face-to-face meetings with individual Massachusetts State Representatives and Senators who did not initially support carbon pollution pricing. Working with others, we recruited constituents to participate in these meetings. Members of our group also talked with legislative staff members in person and on the phone; wrote dozens of letters; and made hundreds of phone calls. For example, in coordination with JALSA, we coordinated 1400 calls to constituents in House leadership districts.
As a result of these efforts, combined with those of many organizations across the state, we made significant progress in persuading MA legislators to support a carbon pollution pricing bill. In the final 2018 vote on the Omnibus Energy bill, Senators unanimously supported a form of carbon pollution pricing. Although the House did not pass any carbon pollution pricing bills, by July of 2018, half of the State Reps indicated their support of carbon pollution pricing.
In addition to contacting individual legislators, we also tried to influence the relevant committees. In our efforts to get the carbon pollution pricing bill out of committee, approximately 50 people associated with CAN’s Carbon Pollution Fee and Rebate group in Western MA attended a hearing on carbon pollution pricing legislation before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy (TUE) at the Statehouse in June 2017.
Our group also reached out to business leaders and local officials in several towns, including Amherst, Chicopee, Northampton, and Holyoke to try to gain their support of carbon pollution pricing. We also organized events to generate voter interest in carbon pollution pricing and to encourage people to contact their state legislators in the following communities: Amherst, Brookfield, Dalton, North Adams, Westfield, and Worcester. Members of our group also contacted candidates running for State Senate and House offices in several communities.
To educate and activate members of communities, we also developed a number of written materials including flyers about health and fossil fuels, the economic benefits of carbon pollution pricing, and talking points and strategies for different constituent groups. We also encouraged community leaders and individual voters to write op-eds and letters to the editor and, when asked, provided templates and drafts to help them to follow through. We facilitated a letter that was sent to the House Leadership and published as an op-ed in the Commonwealth Magazine, an op-ed published in the Worcester Telegram, and several Letters to the Editor in the Berkshire Eagle, Greenfield Recorder, Hampshire Daily Gazette and the Springfield Republican.
Although we were disappointed that carbon pollution pricing did not pass this past legislative session, we have learned a lot and are gratified that over the past two years, we have developed a knowledgeable and effective team of advocates, including a rapid response team of 250 members that we can alert to pending actions in the legislature. Moreover, along with fellow activists from all over the state, we have informed legislators and voters about carbon pollution pricing and, in many cases, they have become active supporters. We have laid a lot of groundwork and are optimistic that carbon fee and rebate will pass during the next legislative session.
Join Us!! Before the new legislative session starts in January 2019, we have significant work to do to ensure that we are well positioned to pass carbon pollution pricing in the next session and we need more help. If you would like to find out more or join our group, please contact Mary Jo Maffei at 413 259-1263 or 413-265-6390 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.