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        Updated 8/11/2018

So, what happened at the end of the legislative session?

Below is the Mass Power Forward Press Release

8/1/2018

Climate, Justice and Health Advocates Not Happy About Watered Down Energy Bills

 

With only two months left in  this legislative session, the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee has reported out a series of energy bills, including one related to the generation of clean, renewable energy through the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), and another related to solar energy. These proposals now will be considered in the House Ways and Means Committee as separate, more comprehensive energy policy is being considered in the Senate. A coalition of climate justice, faith and health organizations, Mass Power Forward critiqued the bills.

The previous version of the solar bill filed by Rep. Holmes and Senator Chang-Diaz of Boston would have renters and low-moderate income residents receiving a compensation rate equal to that received by homeowners when buying into low-income solar or solar in environmental justice communities, and would have encouraged developers to build community, low-income solar by creating a carve-out in any future solar incentive program.

Andrea Nyamekye from Neighbor to Neighbor reacted,“A major piece of this bill was to reverse a last minute decision made by the legislature during the 2014-2016 legislative cycle in which the equity component of the clean energy legislation was omitted, and our low-income, renters, and communities of color paid the price. We see that the legislature has again omitted the most critical piece of the bill, equity: ensuring that solar is working, and can be accessed by all communities in the Commonwealth by supporting: 1) diverse models of solar development, 2) elimination of barriers to the development of community and low-income solar, and 3) meaningful savings for low-to-moderate income solar customers and renters.”

Reverend Mariama White-Hammond remarked, “”As the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow in our state, it seems unconscionable that our most recent solar bill has again failed to incorporate any meaningful support for low-income people and communities. The sun shines on us all and the benefits should flow to up, especially those who are most vulnerable.”

In addition, the coalition has been calling for a much stronger increase of renewable energy to strengthen our economy and improve our health. The Renewable Portfolio Standard is a current law mandating on all investor-owned utilities (e.g., Eversource, National Grid, Unitil) and competitive retail suppliers to source a certain percentage of their annual electricity supply from qualifying renewable resources. In 2018 the RPS is set at 13%.

“Despite a proliferation of self-congratulatory announcements, Massachusetts is falling behind our peer states in the transition to renewable energy and has failed to address inequities in our energy policies that disadvantage low-income residents, renters, and communities of color,” said Joel Wool of Clean Water Action. “We should accelerate the Renewable Portfolio Standard to reach at least 50% by 2030 and ensure that all communities can benefit from clean energy resources like weatherization and solar. The House proposals fall far short on both climate and equity.”

“The bill reported by this committee is absolutely insufficient and an utter embarrassment, placing us way behind neighboring states like CT and RI,” said Claire Miller from Toxics Action Center, “We should always be leading the way. I’m glad we’re moving on offshore wind, but we’re not done till we’re on track to 50% renewable energy by 2030. At this rate, Massachusetts will not reach 100% renewable energy until 2105, sixty years after the state of Hawaii.”

 

The energy bill passed in 2016 required utilities to solicit and purchase 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind by 2027, as well as several hundred megawatts of additional Class 1 renewable energy resources.

“The RPS has been integral to our greenhouse gas emission reductions. It has also been a vital part of clean energy job growth in the Commonwealth,” said Jane Winn from Berkshire Environmental Action Team,  “According to the Mass Clean Energy Center, over 100,000 Massachusetts residents are employed in the clean energy industry and it is our fastest growing sector. However, with stifling laws on solar, in 2017 the Commonwealth lost over 3,000 jobs in the solar industry.”

“Failing to adequately raise the RPS rate threatens the state’s economy in jobs as well as stable energy prices. We urge the Legislature, at the very least, to adopt a minimum 3% rate of increase in the RPS in this session, “ said Rosemary Wessel from No Fracked Gas in Mass, “as has been requested in a number of bills filed in this session. Combined with a strong raising of the net metering cap, it could set us on a strong path to 100% renewables and the jobs growth that could bring.”

“Constituents are extremely disappointed, if not surprised, by this offering from the House,” said Andrew Gordon from 350 Massachusetts. “My hope is that leadership will heed community voices across the commonwealth to improve these bills so that we can actually return to leadership on clean energy. Quite simply, that means increasing the RPS to 50% by 2030,  opening up solar to low-income communities, and ending any flirtation with the pipeline tax.”DONE?

“We need to get to 50% renewable energy by 2030 to stay on track, said Paul Dale from the Sierra Club, “The Renewable Portfolio Standard, RPS, is a key policy in Massachusetts that has helped drive demand for renewable electricity. But right now, the RPS  is ramping up far too slowly. Currently the RPS increases only 1% per year.”

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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.

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More on what happened…
Ben Downing: End Of Session
WAMC, JUL 31, 2018

I had planned on preparing a summary of the soon to be finished Massachusetts legislative session. However, as I researched the various pending pieces of legislation being debated, I couldn’t help but focus on the broader dynamics driving the process. Increasingly, each two-year session has been defined by the long, slow build up to a final days’ logjam. To some degree, this is unavoidable. Timelines dictate activity. However, the trend is noteworthy, not just for its hectic nature, but for who it benefits.

First, a compact calendar in the final months, weeks, days and hours of legislative session is entirely avoidable. In recent editions of the legislature it is not odd for committees to take months to simply organize, set rules and hearing dates. By the time administrative rules are agreed to and committees have begun their work, the majority of legislators have turned their attention to budget deliberations, depriving large-scale reforms of the key ingredient they need for careful consideration and success: attention.

After the budget is settled, an opportunity exists for some legislative activity. Between Labor Day and Thanksgiving had, traditionally, been a time where major proposals were advanced by committees, the administration and/or one of the two legislative branches. Increasingly, this time has been filled with committees’ first hearings on proposals and advancing of noncontroversial matters. At this point, if it wasn’t abundantly clear, a pattern emerges. There are fewer and fewer opportunities to debate, discuss, research and negotiate proposals. Fewer opportunities for public input and feedback. All of which is especially important on complex controversial matters. This is not to say it ensures passage or success, but at the very least, the public is made aware of the various positions in a debate and can form a more educated opinion about the matter.

The power of the pattern only grows as the total days left in session shrink. Senators and representatives pushing for broad, sweeping changes – fixing our education funding formula, combating climate change, reducing healthcare costs and more – are ultimately presented with an impossible choice – take a watered down version of their proposal or get nothing at all. The same dynamic plays out on a larger scale when one branch of the legislature disagrees with the prioritization of an issue. Add in a skeptical governor, and the opportunity for change shrinks.

This trend would simply be an interesting administrative problem to solve were it not for one undeniable fact. This haphazard process benefits one group and one group only – entrenched special interests. Without time for public debate and input, special interests defending the status quo have an outsized voice. They are able to kill or water down some of the very proposals which could help tackle the major issues Massachusetts is facing, simply because the legislature waited till it was too late. Instead of having to defend their position multiple times under the harsh light of public scrutiny they are able to do so once or twice, if at all, in hushed conversations in the State House halls.

Some good work will be done at the end of this session, but it will be in spite of a process that is broken and serves special interests and the status quo. Voters should ask why.

Ben Downing represented the westernmost district in the Massachusetts Senate from 2006 to 2016. He is currently a vice president at Nexamp, a Massachusetts-based solar energy company, and an adjunct faculty member at Tufts University.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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Your calls are important!

We are in the home stretch of the legislative session, so it is crucial to keep the pressure on the Massachusetts House of Representatives!

Please call House members of the energy Conference Committee:

Rep. Tom Golden 617-722-2263

Rep. Patricia Haddad 617-722-2600

Rep. Bradley Jones 617-722-2100

Tell them you are calling them in their role on the Conference Committee and that you urge them to increase the RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) to 3%, and eliminate the cap on solar net metering credits.  That is the least they can do to meet the urgency of our climate crisis and the need to transition away from fossil fuels rapidly.

You can call Speaker DeLeo directly:617-722-2500

And your own state Rep. 

For Rep Kulik constituents: 617-722-2380

For Rep Scibak constituents: 617-722-2030

If you can come to Boston this week, sign up for a vigil slot at the Statehouse here.

THURSDAY AFTERNOON at the statehouse- the culminating action is a DROWN-IN.  Wear rain gear, and bring an umbrella (Paint or tape  “climate SOS” on it if possible)

Support the #Wewillnotrest Vigil by attending or sharing on social media.  Find more info here.

Make calls now.

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Here are phone calls you can make to your Representative, and to Speaker DeLeo and Chairman Sanchez:

If calling your Representative:

My name is …………… and I am calling to ask the Rep to speak to House Leadership and the members of the Conference Committee to urge them to strengthen clean energy legislation before the end of the legislative session.

In particular, please support the following Mass Power Forward priorities :

  1. 50% Renewable Energy by 2030 – increase the RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) to no less than 3%.  The current House bill does not do enough to combat the climate crisis or support Massachusetts’ clean energy industries. Please contact House Leadership to push for a stronger bill!
  2. Save our solar industry by passing H.4577 (raising the net metering cap) and amend it to ensure low-income residents and renters can benefit from solar energy.  Please contact House Leadership and the Conference Committee to to be sure this is included in the final bill!
  3. Environmental Justice H.2913- there is no reason not to pass this bill and codify into law an Executive Order that has existed for years!

It is crucial to stand up for the people of Massachusetts who overwhelmingly favor more clean, renewable energy.  The utility industry should not dictate policy! Thank you.

If calling Speaker DeLeo (617 –722-2500) or Chairman Sanchez (617-722-2990):

I am calling to urge (the Speaker, or Chair Sanchez) to support the following crucial Mass Power Forward priorities now that we are nearing the end of the legislative session :

  1. 50% Renewable Energy by 2030 by increasing the RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) to no less than 3%.  The current House bill does not do enough to combat the climate crisis or support Massachusetts’ clean energy industries. Please push for stronger RPS provisions in Conference Committee!
  2. Save our solar industry by passing H.4577 (raising the net metering cap) and amend it to ensure low-income residents and renters can benefit from solar energy.  
  3. Environmental Justice H.2913- there is no reason not to pass this bill and codify into law an Executive Order that has existed for years!

There is no time to lose.  The people of Massachusetts want more clean, renewable energy. Please heed the people and not the utility industry that has its own interests at stake.

Thank you.

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Updated 7/16/2018

Support Clean Energy & Justice: Call Today!

Make a call to support clean energy and justice today!

Last week, the State House leadership stripped important measures from our clean energy and climate legislation, despite the valiant efforts of more than 50 representatives championing progress. Now the bills are in committee and our representatives need to know that we want them to be as strong as possible.

Please call your House representative and tell them to support clean energy and justice.

If you don’t know who represents you, look up your state elected officials at wheredoivotema.com or malegislature.gov/StateHouse/Contact.

Script:
Hello, my name is ____ and I am calling from _______. May I speak with [__your representatives__]’s office about energy legislation?

I am calling in reaction to the energy bills that came out last week. I want to urge [__your representative__] to support the Mass Power Forward 5-point agenda in Conference Committee. The agenda is to meet at least 50% of our energy needs with clean energy by 2030, advance environmental justice, reform the Department of Public Utilities, ensure all communities can access solar energy and fully implement the Global Warming Solutions Act.

You can support these priorities today by writing to House Leadership and the members of Conference Committee. Several pieces of energy legislation have recently moved in the House, but they are NOT STRONG ENOUGH today!

I am going to tell you what I want for each priority.

    1. 50% clean energy by 2030. The energy committee has released a bill on the Renewable Portfolio Standard, but the bill does not do enough to combat the climate crisis or support Massachusetts’ clean energy industries. Please contact House Leadership to push for a stronger bill that would reach at least 50% clean energy by 2030 which the Senate did and which Rep. Khan filed an amendment for with 50 of your colleagues.
    2. Solar Access. Massachusetts needs to ensure all people can access clean energy and save money on their energy bills. Unfortunately, the House’s energy bills do not address inequity in our solar policies. Please urge the House Leadership to amend the bill to adopt the changes in the Solar law that were in the Senate bill to ensure low-income residents and renters can benefit from solar energy.That is 2 of our 5 point agenda. Can I tell you the other priorities?
  1. Environmental Justice – Original bill # H2913/S426. The House Ways and Means Committee is currently reviewing a strong environmental justice bill. Please reach out to House Leadership to support this bill and codify something that has been an Executive Order for years.
  2. Binding Global Warming Targets for 2030/40. This is known as the Global Warming Solutions Implementation Act and adds emissions goals for 2030 and 2040. Right now the only goals we have are 2020 and 2050 and we need a pathway for our Massachusetts to meet our ambitious 2050 goal.
  3. DPU Reform. We need to ensure the public’s ability to intervene at the DPU and hold local distribution gas contracts to high standards regarding the gas capacity they are allowed to buy. This legislation is contained within the Senate language and is necessary to not lock Massachusetts ratepayers, including businesses, into 20-50 year long investments in fossil fuel infrastructure.

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It’s Now or Never

Update: July 12, 2018

Call Rep Sanchez (Chair of House Ways and Means) and urge him to release from the solar net metering bill H 4577 to the floor for a vote-

Call Senator Spilka and ask her to support Amendment 42, the Environmental Justice amendment, to the Bond Bill (S2591)

If we are going to pass good climate policy in Massachusetts this year, it’s now or never.   CAN is teaming up with Mass Power Forward and 350 Mass for statewide action NOW.

Last month, the MA State Senate unanimously passed a fantastic bill that would (among other things) price carbon, divest the pension fund from coal, triple the rate of increase of renewable energy generation within Massachusetts, set binding interim caps for our climate pollution, and codify environmental justice into law. This is the exact type of response a state like Massachusetts needs to offer in the face of extreme weather events – like this heatwave – beginning to batter society – and in the face of the total absence of federal leadership.

Yet the MA State House is now considering their own legislation that is shaping up to be less ambitious. With the legislative session ending July 31st, we have a handful of weeks to motivate action, and we need your help to push them to do what the times demand.

Specifically, we are calling for:

  • Tripling the Renewable Portfolio Standard 
  • Opening up solar to low-income residents 
  • Banning the Pipeline Tax 
  • Codifying Environmental Justice into law
  • Setting binding emissions caps for 2030 and 2040. 

We really need your help on this. If you’ve ever wanted to make a difference on climate change with a relatively low-investment of your time, this is a great opportunity to step up and act!

Here’s our game plan: (If your

  1. Get our reps to pledge their support. Call your representative and ask them to take the Mass Power Forward policy pledge. (Don’t know who your Rep is? – click here). Please call now or mark in your calendar when you will call in the next 24 hours. Once you do call, log it here.  (From our area, Reps. Gonzalez, Scibak, Tosado, Kulik, and Goldstein-Rose have already signed. If you live in the late Peter Kocot’s district or Rep. Velis’ district (who is currently out of the country), please contact Rep. Sanchez,  Chair of House Ways and Means Committee at 617 722 2990 and ask him to support the five priorities listed above.) 
  2. Flood the State House with phone calls. We are going to generate multiple call storms over the course of the next month. We need you to contribute to those call waves, so sign up here. We will provide everything you need in the exact moment.  (Again, if you live in the late Peter Kocot’s district or the Rep. Velis’ district (currently out of the country), please stand by for further directions.) 
  3. Canvass in Leadership Districts to help generate more engagement in key communities like Winthrop and Lowell (home of the Speaker of the House and the House Energy Committee Chair, respectively). Sign up here!

I know there’s a lot going on right now, and many things are competing for your attention. But this is probably the most important email we are sending this year, so please please do what you can to act on it. This one’s for the future.

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Crunch time! We have until July 31 to get our climate bills passed in this legislative session!

Now that the Senate has passed a really good omnibus energy bill (S.2564) we need to press the House to act fast so there is time for a conference committee to produce a meaningful compromise.

Please call Representative Sanchez (Chair of House Ways and Means, phone number: 617 722-2990) and ask him to adopt the provisions contained in S. 2564 either by adopting the Senate bill as a whole or by passing other legislation containing the same provisions,  starting with the following policies that will foster a clean energy future for MA:

1.  Ask him to do everything he can to increase the Renewable Portfolio Standard by at least 3%, support environmental justice, prohibit new fossil fuel infrastructure and create a plan to meet our emissions reductions goals in 2030 and 2040.

2.  Ask him to do everything he can to help our solar industry by supporting the elimination of all solar net metering caps, and the elimination of the new, unprecedented demand charges and MMRC (Minimum Monthly Reliability Charge) on solar customers.  These policies will kill our solar industry and result in the loss of even more good solar jobs.

If you can make two more calls, you can give the same message to:

House Speaker Robert De Leo (617 722-2500) and

Rep. Tom Golden, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy ( 617 722-2263).

Also, if your Rep. has not yet signed the Mass Power Forward pledge to support the CAN/MPF priority bills and issues, ask him/her to sign it, to urge support of those bills by the House leaders listed above and to do everything s/he can to help us realize a clean energy future.

Thank you very much!

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Hampshire-Franklin Senate Forum on Climate and Energy

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

7:00-9:00 PM

JFK Middle School Cafeteria

100 Bridge Road, Florence, MA 01060

State Senate candidates for the Hampshire, Franklin & Worcester Democratic primary discuss how they would curb greenhouse gas emissions and the worst e ects of climate change

Jo Comerford • Steven Connor • Chelsea Kline David Morin • Dave Murphy • Ryan O’Donnell

Bring questions for the candidates on climate, transportation and energy policy or submit them to http://bit.ly/hfwclimate

Sponsored by Climate Action Now and the Northampton Democratic City Committee

Cosponsored by the town Democratic committees of
Amherst, Bernardston, Colrain, Deer eld, Leverett, New Salem, Pelham, South Hadley, Sunderland & Wendell; Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, the Massachusetts Sierra Club, the Hitchcock Center for the Environment, Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution, Greening Green eld, Mothers Out Front Pioneer Valley, Northampton Blue Community, Northampton Community Television, the Northampton High School Environmental Club, Pioneer Valley Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Traprock Center for Peace & Justice, 2Degrees Northampton,
the USNF Climate Action Group, and the Western Mass Green Consortium

www.climateactionnowma.org

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June 6, 2018

Clean energy and environmental justice are on the move! Please email and call the legislature now and during the week of June 11 as requested by the Mass Power Forward Coalition:

Dear Friends,
Clean energy and environmental justice are on the move! Please email and call the legislature now and during the week of June 11.

The HOUSE is poised to take up the environmental bond bill, which currently contains important environmental justice reforms. Please contact the MA House as soon as possible to support environmental justice in the bond bill (H4558).

The SENATE is poised to take up major clean energy legislation. Please contact the MA Senate as soon as possible to support a strong clean energy bill (S2545) and urge support for amendments to promote equity.

SENATE ACTION ALERT
The Senate is moving to take up S.2545, An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future. This is a bold clean energy bill with strong provisions for the Renewable Portfolio Standard and offshore wind. However, it is missing several critical priorities: solar access for all,reforms to push back against pipeline expansion, community empowerment, and a comprehensive plan to combat climate change.

Please call your Senator and Chairwoman Karen Spilka, Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov, 617-722-1640. Urge them to support the bill with amendments to (1) promote solar access, (2) push back on pipeline expansion, (3) empower communities and (4) combat climate change. If you do not know who your state senator is, you can find them here.

SAMPLE SCRIPT/MESSAGE:
Thank you for your dedication to clean energy and our environment. I support S.2545, An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future which is strong on the environment and climate.
Today, I am asking you to support two amendments to the bill. First, the bill must expand solar access to renters and low-income communities. Second, the bill should reform our state’s energy policies to push back on gas pipeline expansion into the Commonwealth. Amendments are being filed to address these issues.

I am writing to urge you to fight for equity and justice in our environmental policies.
The Massachusetts House and Senate are each preparing to take up important environmental policies. The Senate has advanced bold clean energy legislation (S2545) and the House is soon to vote on the Environmental Bond bill (H4558).

Our Commonwealth needs comprehensive energy reforms. I support An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future, S2545, but the bill needs to be amended to ensure fair access to solar, promote community empowerment and to reform the Department of Public Utilities and push back on pipeline expansion. We must ensure all communities benefit from clean energy. We must give all communities tools to advance our clean energy future. We must ensure Massachusetts does not burden ratepayers or our environment with costly investments in polluting gas pipelines.
Amendment 43 would ensure all communities can access solar energy.
Amendment 22 would empower communities and give new tools to promote renewable energy.
Amendment 44 will set binding climate targets for 2030 and 2040.
Amendments 6 and 60 will push back on pipeline expansion.
Amendment 25 would divest the MA pension fund from coal.

Thank you for your support of our environment. Please support these amendments.

HOUSE ACTION ALERT
The House of Representatives has indicated it will soon take up the environmental bond bill (H4558) and is considering including the Environmental Justice Act (H2913), a major priority of the Mass Power Forward coalition and Green Justice Coalition.
Please write and call  Chairman Jeffrey Sánchez, Jeffrey.sanchez@mahouse.gov,  617-722-2990Speaker Robert Deleo, Robert.DeLeo@mahouse.gov,  617-722-2500(and consider copying your state rep, who you can find here)

Let them know you support environmental justice.

SAMPLE MESSAGE:
Thank you for your support of equity and our environment. I support of H2913, the Environmental Justice Act, also contained within H4558, the environmental bond bill. This legislation would codify Executive Order 552 on environmental justice, ensuring our environmental policies are fair and benefit low-income communities and communities of color.
It is critical we address environmental justice this session. Please advance environmental justice policies within the bond bill.
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5/28/2018 Action

Please send this letter to your networks:

Friend,

I  wrote a letter for the Action Network letter campaign “Urge Your Legislator to Support Clean Energy”. Can you join me and write a letter too?

Blizzards? Flooding? Climate denial?
Massachusetts must act to combat climate change and we need YOU to contact your State Representative and State Senator to urge them to advance clean energy this year. With climate deniers in Washington, it’s more important than ever that Massachusetts leads on clean power like solar and wind, and pushes back fossil fuels like fracked gas pipelines.

Click here to write your letter: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/countdown-for-climate-energy-and-justice?source=email&

Thanks!

Your name
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‘New 5/7/2018

ALERT: New bill needs your support:

Call Senator Karen Spilka (Chair of Senate Ways and Means and incoming Senate President) at 617-722-1640 to request rapid approval of S.2314, a bill that would nullify the MMRC (minimum monthly reliability charge) for solar customers.
(The bill would require the utility companies to assure customers had equipment to allow them to monitor energy usage so that they would not be blindsided by the new Demand Charges included in the MMRC.
Once customers had the appropriate equipment, the utilities would have to submit a whole new proposal.)

And don’t forget your regular weekly calls…

Call Your Representative and Speaker DeLeo

to Demand Passage of Clean Energy Legislation

This is a unified Mass Power Forward Coalition Action
From now through the end of the session, we need to be escalating the pressure on our legislators in order to ensure that the bills we want will pass. That’s why every Monday we are encouraging you to make two calls:
1. Your state representative  (617-722-2000, and ask for your Rep.)
2. The Speaker of the House, Robert Deleo (617-722-2500)
You can find that contact information here: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator
Here’s what you do for each call:
First: Contact the office and identify yourself as a constituent and identify the reason you are calling:
My name is ____ and I’d like to ask [the representative to urge leadership] or [Speaker DeLeo] to implement the clean energy policies found in the Senate’s new omnibus energy bill, S.2302, which I strongly support.  S.2302 contains many of the same bills and policies being considered in the House.  Let’s keep the momentum rolling at this critical moment – including, but not limited to:

1. (H. 2700) Increasing the renewable portfolio standard to 3% per year

2. (H.3400) Reforming the Department of Public Utilities
3. (H.3396) Implementing solar policies to benefit low-income communities
4. (H.2913) Codifying Environmental Justice regulations from the Patrick administration
5. (H.2149) Setting new emission standards for 2030 and 2040 under the Global Warming Solutions Act
for curbing emissions.
Next, give your personal reason for why you are supporting these policies. Thank the staffer for their time.
Then log your response here.
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2/26/2018

Please call the Department of Public Utilities Hearing Officers who are presiding over the relevant cases:

and ask of each that there be a Northampton public hearing on the Columbia Gas Expansion Plan (as well as Berkshire Gas contracts that are under review).  Here is a call script with all of the relevant information:

I am calling to request that a public comment hearing be held in Northampton on the Columbia Gas expansion plans, which includes Docket Numbers 17-166 and 17-172.  I’d also like the DPU to take comment on 17-145 at that hearing, pertaining to Berkshire Gas’ proposed contracts.

BONUS ACTION: SPEAK UP FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION!

The PVTA is being forced to cut services and raise ticket prices throughout the Pioneer Valley in order to make up for what is essentially a cut by the legislature translated into level funding for years despite rising costs for wages and health insurance.

These steps lead to a spiral for public transit. If buses are not frequent enough to take people where they need to go on time, and charge poor people $1.60 per ride rather than $1.25, they will have to find worse alternatives. Ridership will fall further and the analysts will decide that further cuts must be made.

This is a climate justice issue: buses provide transportation for working and low-income people while they prevent greenhouse gas emissions.

Saving PVTA means expanding PVTA.

  1. Please go to one of the following meetings to weigh in for A STATE BUDGET SOLUTION – MORE THAN THE $8 MILLION ADDITIONAL NEEDED TO PREVENT THE CUTS.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 – Hearing
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Bangs Community Center
70 Boltwood Walk, Amherst

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 – Hearing
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Holyoke Transportation Center
206 Maple Street, Rm 104, Holyoke

  1. Call your state reps and demand the state budget be revised so that the regional transit authorities’ budget be expanded.
  2. You may also comment TO PVTA at
By mail:

 

Sandra Sheehan, PVTA Administrator
2808 Main Street
Springfield, MA 01107
By email: comments@pvta.com
By phone: Call (413) 732-6248 x239 and leave up to a 3-min message
Comment online: Click here to take our survey.
All comments must be received by March 14, 2018.

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Week of February 5

Mark Your Calendar.

Plan to attend the Mass Power Forward Valentines Day Action at the State House on February 14.  Everyone is needed to show statewide support for action on climate legislation!  Sign up on the Facebook event page here.

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Make calls to push legislation before the February deadline.

The Mass Power Forward coalition has decided on its legislative platform for the rest of this term and they include FOUR of the CAN priority bills. Here’s what’s included:

Increase the Renewable Portfolio Standard by at least 2% (H.2700)
Reform the DPU and Ban the Pipeline Tax for Good (h.3400)
Community and low-income Solar Incentives(H.3396)
The Environmental Justice Act (H.2913)
Implement the Global Warming Solutions Act (H.2149)
(Read more about these bills here)

Despite the fact that these are common-sense steps to combat climate change and protect the most vulnerable populations, the Massachusetts legislature is notoriously slow to act on energy issues and we only have 5 months until this term ends. That’s why we are making our big push RIGHT NOW. Today, we need you to call your representative and senator and ask them to work to pass this common-sense climate package. Here’s what to do:

Step 1. Look up the contact information for your state rep or state senator here.

Step 2. Make the call! Identify yourself as a constituent. Ask that the legislator work to pass the following bills this session–list the bills above, and ask that they start by talking to house leadership and/or senate leadership about the importance of these bills. Here are some helpful talking points to explain why you support these bills: (click here for a Full call script)

– These bills, especially DPU reform, have broad support across the legislature
– Collectively these bills will do the following:

Create jobs and lower energy prices in Massachusetts by incentivizing more clean energy production
Increase access to renewable energy for lower income constituents
Protect ratepayers from shouldering pipeline costs
Empower communities to have a bigger say in infrastructure projects
Protect vulnerable constituents from the effects of carbon pollution

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Week of Jan. 22 – 29, 2018 Climate Action (joining Environment MA)

Across Massachusetts, the movement for 100 percent clean, renewable energy is growing.

Six cities and towns have committed to a goal of 100 percent renewable energy. Boston University, the state’s largest higher education institution, has pledged to get all of its electricity from renewable sources by the end of this year.

This week, we’re bringing together clean energy supporters from across the state for the #Go100MA Week of Action.

Our goal is for more than 1,000 people to post on Facebook and Twitter, sharing why they want to see their communities, their college campuses, and the whole Commonwealth of Massachusetts go 100 percent renewable.

How can you join the action?

It’s simple. This week, between Monday 1/22 and Friday 1/26, post a message on social media saying why you think Massachusetts should move to 100 percent renewable energy.

Make sure to use the hashtag #Go100MA so we can keep track of all of the posts. And tag anyone you think should be listening — including local officials, state legislators, and the Governor.

We have sent out some sample tweets, Facebook posts, and graphics you can use. You can also check out the Environment Massachusetts Facebook and Twitter accounts for posts to share.

Thanks in advance for taking action. If enough of us raise our voices, we’ll create a massive wave of support for 100 percent renewable energy across Massachusetts.

Ben Hellerstein
Environment Massachusetts State Director

Also, sign up here for the Mass Power Forward Lobby Day on February 14.

 

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January 15, 2018 Climate Action

Rising seas. Blizzard weather. A climate denier in the White House. It’s time for Massachusetts to act on climate change. Can you call your state legislators on Wednesday, January 17 to take urgent action on clean energy in this legislative session?

Please:
1. Mark your calendar for Wednesday
2. Share the Facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/1785995611434424/
3. Invite others to join!

If you don’t know who represents you, look up your state elected officials at wheredoivotema.com or https://malegislature.gov/StateHouse/Contact.
Please take a moment to call your legislator using the guidelines below.

Download a CALL SCRIPT here: http://bit.ly/maenergycalls

Read a CALL SCRIPT online here: http://bit.ly/macleanenergyview

Links to legislative fact sheets are here: http://mapowerforward.com/legislative-agenda-2017-2018

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January 8, 2018 Climate Action

What? Join the push to get Pioneer Valley legislators on board to support the 100% Renewable Bill, H.3281/S.1849 by the end of this month.

Why? The 100% Renewable Bill is a CAN priority, because it will accelerate the growth of clean energy (and the move away from fossil fuels), promote interagency collaboration to achieve 100 percent renewable energy economy-wide, and set out clear, enforceable goals and requirements to ensure we achieve that objective. Action is needed on the bill before a crucial bill deadline at the beginning of February 2018.

How? Help us collect legislator contacts in less progressive districts. Note any people you know in Agawam, Chicopee, Holyoke, Ludlow, Springfield, West Springfield or other Hampden County communities who might be willing to contact their legislators to promote 100% Renewable Energy and other climate bills. Ask them if you can share their names and contact information with Climate Action Now organizers and then pass them on to darcy@climateactionnowma.org. We are trying to form climate action constituent groups for each legislator that doesn’t already have one.
Thanks!

Bonus: Ongoing actions
1. Join a CAN/Sierra Club Wednesday calling party to help organize climate constituent groups in key legislative districts across the state. Click HERE for details.
2. Call Governor Baker at 617-725-4005. Ask him to prohibit new pipelines and compressor stations in Massachusetts. #StandUpCharlie
3. Click HERE to join local efforts to pursue 100% Renewable Energy (Zero Energy Buildings, Community Choice Energy, Heat Smart heat pump program, Rays the Valley community shared solar, and more) in each of our towns – efforts that could dramatically reduce greenhouse gases.

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BILLS RECENTLY HEARD THAT YOU CAN STILL SUPPORT:

Take action on legislation. Find out who your legislators are and their contact information HERE. Simply enter your address and zip code. Make sure you state your support for the bill by number in the email subject line. For example: “Testimony in support of S.1839, requiring home energy audits at time of sale”.

  • November 6 – CAN priority energy bills were heard by the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. Send emails supporting the bills to Co-Chairs Mike.Barrett@masenate.gov and Thomas.Golden@mahouse.gov and send a copy to your own Rep.
    • H.1725/S.1875 – (requires grid modernization, prioritizes local resources, offers consumers time of use electricity rate option)
    •  S.1839 – (requires home energy audits at time of sale)
  • October 26 – CAN priority gas pipeline-related bills were heard by the TUE Committee.  Email the Co-Chairs at Mike.Barrett@masenate.gov and Thomas.Golden@mahouse.gov and send a copy to your Rep.
    • H.2698/S.1855 (protects ratepayers from pipeline expansion costs)(You can urge support for this bill on this easy to use format.)
    • H.3400/S.1847 (reforms DPU’s pipeline approval process)
    • H.3391/S.1859 (mandate facilities siting board consider health effect of gas infrastructure)
    • H.2683/S.1845 (prohibits charges to customers for leaked gas)
    • October 24 – CAN priority transportation bills were heard by the Transportation Committee. Email the Co-Chairs at Thomas.McGee@masenate.gov and William.Straus@mahouse.gov. and send a copy to your Rep.
      • S.1952 (directs DOT to assess the status of transportation system – urge inclusion of climate action principles)
      • S.1957, S.1958 (establishes MA and NE Regional Transportation Infrastructure Bank – urge inclusion of climate action principles)
  • October 17 –  The Climate Justice and Toxics Reduction Bill, H. 2913/S.426, were heard by the TUE committee.  A sample brief message of support is here.
  • October 10 – Divestment bill, H.3281, was heard on October 10 by the Joint Committee on Public Service. Hearing and lobby day event page can be found here and sample testimony here. Go to #divestma for dramatic photos and videos of the hearing.
  • October 3 – Solar bills were heard on October 3 by the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee:  Use this platform to send your support letter.today.
  • September 19 – To submit testimony in support of H.3395/S.1849, the 100% Renewable MA Bill, click here. The hearing on the bill was held on September 19.
  • September 19 – To submit testimony in support of raising the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) such that MA reaches 100% renewable electricity by 2035, click here. The hearing regarding raising the RPS, and 4 other of our energy policy related bills, was held on September 19.
  • MAKE A PHONE CALL TO FOLLOW UP ON YOUR LETTERS OR EMAILS.
  • Amplify! Personally ask a friend in another part of the state to do this. Forward this page to them. State action on climate is all-important now.Thank you for TAKING ACTION! Together, we are unstoppable.

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  • For more information. Click here for list of 2017-2018 Bills Endorsed by Climate Action Now, Western MA.  Find the text of bills at https://malegislature.gov/Bills.
  • Click here to join the CAN Legislative Workgroup google group – to receive meeting notices and join a legislative district- based rapid response team.
  • We need to call our representatives early and often starting NOW, to let them know that climate must be a top priority.

Push back against fossil fuel interests nationally by supporting climate action on the state level! We will be updating you regularly on the bills needing testimony and other important request for action.