October 22, 2017
Massachusetts Legislative Hearing Oct 26th
Natural Gas Infrastructure, Tax, Leaks & more

The hearing will be for 29 (!) bills including two of our legislative priorities connected to natural gas infrastructure.
October 26
10 AM - 2 PM
Room A-2
Massachusetts State House
Boston, MA

Request for Action from PLAN-NE:
PLEASE CALL you reps and ask that they sign on

Rep. Kulik has sent out this letter to all representatives, and asked them to add their signatures in support of his DPU reform bill and Rep. Gordon's pipeline tax bill. The hearing on these bills is next Thursday (please come if you can - we want to fill the room so the committee knows this is important!)

The letter is going out with Kulik, Gordon, and Jones as initial signers, and Pignatelli has signed on (so no need to ask them).  Senators Eldridge and Jehlen also have companion bills to these.

The deadline for legislators to to sign on is this Friday, October 27th at 12:00 Noon. Have legislators contact Michael Gallant or Jared Freedman in Rep. Kulik's office to sign on.

In sum, the DPU Reform bill would:
·         Enhance the review of pipeline capacity contracts and address other needed
          reforms identified over the course of previous and ongoing proceedings related to
          gas infrastructure projects.
·         Codify the SJC’s ruling prohibiting electric ratepayer financing of gas pipelines;
·         Ensure the public’s ability to intervene at the DPU;
·         Protect ratepayers against self-dealing by energy conglomerates;
·         Enhance protections for landowners and conservation areas; and
·         Hold gas utilities to high standards regarding the capacity they are allowed
          to contract for.
The pipeline tax bill would prohibit companies from charging ratepayers to pay for the construction or expansion of interstate gas infrastructure.

REVIEW OF BILLS in October 26th Hearing
H.2698/S.1855 (protects ratepayers from pipeline expansion costs)
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)

Pipeline charges prompt lots of questions:
Who’s looking out for ratepayers?

by Kathryn R. Eiseman, Commonwealth Magazine
October 20, 2017

ACCUSATIONS AND INVESTIGATIONS are underway in response to an academic white paper posted by the Environmental Defense Fund concerning artificially created pipeline capacity constraints and resultant spikes in energy prices. The sides are lining up as usual, with the region’s ratepayer advocates expressing a need for further investigation and better rules to protect consumers, and the Northeast Gas Association seeking to discredit the analysis with an op-ed published in as many New England states as possible. This white paper comes right on the heels of another report published in September with a more pointed title: “Art of the Self-Deal: How Regulatory Failure Lets Gas Pipeline Companies Fabricate Need and Fleece Ratepayers.”

It’s too soon to understand the full ramifications of Eversource and Avangrid’s pipeline capacity scheduling practices, but the findings of the white paper compel many questions that must be answered.

• Were excessive capacity withholding practices a critical factor in moving forward Kinder Morgan’s Connecticut Expansion project in the Berkshires and the AIM and Atlantic Bridge projects of Spectra (now Enbridge)?

• Who is looking out for ratepayers, anyway? Apparently not our current regulators in Massachusetts.

• Will the report’s findings impact ISO New England’s regional fuel security study and overall approach to the realities of a grid in transition?

Town Hall with Senator Markey
Senator Ed Markey will host a Town Hall in Pittsfield next Sunday, October 29th.  He wants to be sure that all those who have a particular interest in the environment are invited. We will be there and we hope you are, too! 
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Barrington Stage Company Theatre
30 Union St., Pittsfield, MA

MA Legislative Hearings on Transportation
Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy
October 24, 2017
10 AM
State House, Room A-1

S.1952 (directs DOT to assess the status of transportation system)
S.1957, S.1958 (establishes MA and NE Regional Transportation Infrastructure Bank)

The Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) mandates a reduction of emissions by 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 (below 1990 levels). The transportation sector is a major source of emissions and must be included in the transition to 100% clean energy. Expansion and electrification of public transit (as well as private transportation), combined with a substantial increase in the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), can help us meet the goals of the GWSA.
» Read Climate Action Now's statement, favoring these bills with climate amendments

Listening Sessions on Transportation Sector Emissions
October 31 - November 9. Sessions across the Commonwealth to discuss solutions to the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, hosted by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). These listening sessions highlight the collaborative approach the Baker-Polito Administration is taking to work across state government and with our cities and towns to reduce emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change.
» More info on dates / times / locations of listening sessions

MA Sierra Club Transportation "Cap & Invest" Webinar
This free webinar will offer an overview of an approach that has worked well in the electric sector in terms of reducing costs and yielding revenues to be re-invested wisely, and could offer a model for the transportation sector as well.
Daniel Gatti, Union of Concerned Scientists
Emily Norton, MA Sierra Club
Jordan Stutt, Acadia Center
Joel Wool, Clean Water Action
Cost: Free
7:30 - 9:00 PM 
October 24, 2017  

• Signup Instructions: Register here, and webinar instructions will be emailed to you.

Climate Action Now Monthly Gathering
Featuring focus on Community Solar Power with Malcolm Bliss from Co-op Power and the #StandUpCharlie Campaign with Cathy Kristofferson from Stop NED &  Alan Palm, New Director of Organizing with 350 Mass for a Better Future.
7 to 9 PM
Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence
220 Main Street, Northampton
Accessible and on a bus line


» More information or to make online contributions
» Facebook Event

Indigenous Water Protectors and Environmentalists
Call on TD Bank to Divest From Fossil Fuels

9:00 AM
Southern Berkshire District Court
Great Barrington, MA

» Facebook Event for 7 Days of Action — October 23-29

Presentation by Dr. Curt Nordgaard on Proposed Weymouth compressor station
6:30 PM
Fore River Clubhouse
16 Nevada Road, Quincy, MA

Rally at Hartford, CT Eversource Office
4:30 pm
56 Prospect Street, Hartford, CT

WATER Prayer Service
10 AM – 1 PM
Lower Spectacle Pond, Sandisfield, MA

» Facebook Event Pag

Many more events including weekly vigils
and protests on our Events Page

We're fighting the CT Expansion pipeline, Atlantic Bridge and others, keeping an eye out for possible resurrection of NED or other new projects. We're also working with PLAN-NE, Mass Power Forward and other organizations to help ensure bold steps away from fossil fuel dependency continue and grow!

No Fracked Gas in Mass is a program of Berkshire Environmental Action Team. Donations made through our direct online Donation button or mailed in check are tax deductible.