May 7 BBRS Hearing on Massachusetts Building Code
On Tuesday, May 7th, from 10 am-1 pm, the Board of Building Regulation and Standards (BBRS) is holding a public comment opportunity to hear from the public about the changes we want for building codes in MA.
We are using this opportunity to continue our fight to make building codes better for everyone - which starts with advocating for a Net Zero stretch code in Massachusetts. A Net Zero building code is not only an important step towards achieving our climate goals, but will also make buildings safer, more comfortable, and more equitable for communities across the Commonwealth.
What: Board of Building Standard and Regulations (BBRS) Hearing
When: Tuesday, May 7th, 10 am-1pm
Where: 1000 Washington St, Boston MA 02118
CLEAN ENERGY REGULATIONS - MASSACHUSETTS HEARINGS
Hearings on Proposed Draft Changes to RPS Class I & II, and Emergency APS Regulations Filed
Many of us in the clean energy advocacy community are concerned that the proposed changes to these Massachusetts regulations amount to loosening of the definitions for qualifying biomass, and other weakening of restrictions, that will be environmentally detrimental.
Hearings, all at 1pm:
May 13, 2019
100 Cambridge Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room
Boston, MA 02114
May 16, 2019
Olver Design Building, Room 162
551 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003
May 17, 2019
Mt. Wachusett Community College
Arthur F. Haley Academic Building, Multi-Purpose Room #115
444 Green Street
Gardner, MA 01440
Verbal and written testimony will be accepted at the hearing(s); however, parties are requested to provide written copies of their testimony.
Written comments will be accepted on the APS regulation until 5 PM on May 13, 2019. Please submit written comments on the APS regulation to Samantha Meserve electronically to Thermal.DOER@mass.gov or via mail to the Department of Energy Resources, 100 Cambridge Street, Suite 1020, Boston, MA 02114.
Written comments on the RPS Class I and RPS Class II Regulations will be accepted until 5 PM on May 24, 2019. Please submit written comments on the RPS Class I and RPS Class II regulations to John Wassam electronically to DOER.RPS@mass.gov or via mail to the Department of Energy Resources, 100 Cambridge Street, Suite 1020, Boston, MA 02114.
Groups ask Baker to back off wood-burning initiatives
By Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle
March 20, 2019
The state's effort to jump-start a local wood-fuels industry is misguided, a coalition of environmental groups and scientists said Wednesday, and contributes to climate change despite being represented as renewable energy.
In a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker, the groups call for an end to financial incentives to commercial projects that encourage wood-burning to produce heat or electricity. One such program recently steered $1 million to a wood-chip processing endeavor run by Windsor resident Tim Crane.
The letter, organized by a Western Massachusetts research outfit and also sent to members of the Legislature, says the state should invest in better alternative energy sources. It calls Baker's support for wood as fuel "inconsistent with your publicly stated positions on climate change."
"The commonwealth should not be incentivizing technologies that will accelerate climate change, worsen air quality, and use our forests for fuel," the letter said.
Among the groups signing are the Sierra Club, Environment Massachusetts, MassPIRG and Clean Water Action. Local groups include the Berkshire Environmental Action Team of Pittsfield and Green Berkshires of Great Barrington.
One of the scientists who signed is William Moomaw of Williamstown, a Tufts University professor and expert in climate change. Moomaw says it is "absurd" for the state of Massachusetts to endorse the use of a fuel source — wood — that results in the release of greenhouse gases while cutting back on the ability of forests to remove carbon dioxide through photosynthesis.
A spokeswoman for the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs said the Baker administration will review the letter, which was organized by the Partnership for Policy Integrity, based in Pelham.
COMMENT PERIOD ON NATIONAL GRID PIPELINE E37
Opposition Mounts to Fracked Gas Pipeline Proposal in the Capital District, NY
from Community Advocates for a Sustainable Environment
April 19, 2019
On April 17, 2019 the Town Board of East Greenbush, NY voted unanimously against the proposed Bethlehem, East & North Greenbush, NY E37 Resiliency & Reliability Pipeline. Many concerned citizens have come out fighting and thanks to Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline members for supporting the East Greenbush Town Board.
Our fight against this fracked gas pipeline proposal was begun late in the process. National Grid is propagandizing to have the required certificate to begin construction of this fracked gas pipeline by the end of this summer.Learn more about how to stop this environmental threat by contacting Becky Meier at CASE.
Submit public comments to the Public Service Commission, the lead agency herein, by visiting this link.The deadline for public comments is April 24, 2019.
To date, most of the comments are "pro-pipeline" by economic development forces who are pushing aside the non pipeline alternatives for clean energy and the many ways to reduce demand response.
NATIONAL GRID E37
Protestors condemn proposed natural gas pipeline in East Greenbush
April 10, 2019
The Public Service Commission sponsored the hearing on the plan for a 7.3 mile fracked natural gas pipeline that would start in Bethlehem, cross under the Hudson river and cut through East Greenbush on its way to North Greenbush. National Grid says it will improve service and reliability.
Protestors say National Grid applied for and got a $70 million rate increase two years ago to build the pipeline but they only learned of it 2 weeks ago. Their concern is the controversial fracking process that would be used. Opponents say it's time to go renewable.
COLUMBIA GAS - CONNECTICUT RIVER VALLEY
Springfield city leaders meet with Columbia Gas to discuss current projects
by Caroline Powers and Andrew Masse, Western Mass News
Apr 17, 2019
Members of the city's Environment and Sustainability Committee are meeting with Columbia Gas to receive an update on the accelerated repair of gas leaks across Springfield.
They are also asking questions about the proposed greater Springfield reliability project.
City officials continue their talks with Columbia Gas, focusing on the environmental impact, safety, and security.
"As folks might be aware," Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman tells us. "Gas infrastructure across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is extremely dated, and so, several years ago, they began a campaign to bring awareness to the number of gas leaks that existed across the city of Springfield."
» Read the full story
Columbia Gas called to Monson, Palmer for over pressurization of gas lines
By Nancy Asiamah, WWLP
April 16, 2019
Residents of Monson and Palmer were notified by Columbia Gas of an over pressurization of their gas lines early Tuesday evening.
“While Columbia Gas is currently stating that there are no on-going safety concerns, you may see their employees throughout town for the next two to four hours inspecting their infrastructure,” Monson town officials stated.
Palmer Police confirmed with 22News that Columbia Gas has also reached out about a spike in their gas pressure reading for Palmer.
» Read / view the full story
TENNESSEE GAS 261 UPGRADE / LONGMEADOW METER STATIONOpponents of Tennessee Gas Pipeline plan speak out at Longmeadow hearingBy Elise Linscott, MassLive
March 28, 2019
Citing health, safety and environmental concerns, public officials and residents Wednesday night voiced their opposition to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s plans to expand a natural gas pipeline in Agawam and build a meter transfer station on the Longmeadow Country Club property.
The hearing was facilitated by members of the state Energy Facilities Siting Board and a representative from the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office.
But both residents and public officials said they want more information from Tennessee Gas demonstrating the need, and Select Board Chairman Mark Gold said he would like to see “timely and accurate communications” about the project.
Columbia Gas has also not provided information about the causes of recent of gas leaks in town, including one last year that affected dozens of households, despite requests from the Select Board, Gold has said at Select Board meetings over the last several months.
Select Board member Thomas Lachiusa said he’d prefer to see investments in renewable energy like solar and wind power rather than building more natural gas infrastructure.
State orders more sampling at proposed compressor site
By Jessica Trufant, The Patriot Ledger
April 16, 2019
State regulators are requiring more environmental sampling at the proposed site of a 7,700-horsepower natural-gas compressor station on the banks of the Fore River after determining hazardous waste cleanup there may not be adequate.
The state Department of Environmental Protection completed its own audit of the cleanup of the site and determined that the steps taken by Algonquin Gas Transmission, a subsidiary of Spectra Energy-Enbridge, did not fully comply with the state’s hazardous waste cleanup regulations.
“MassDEP is now requiring additional steps be taken to protect public health and the environment,” Ed Coletta, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said in a statement.
The decision to conduct an audit was made after Weymouth Mayor Robert Hedlund and other officials raised concerns that consultants for the natural-gas company made errors in an assessment of the site conducted two years ago.
Gov. Charlie Baker had ordered the study in July 2017 amid strong local opposition to the project from officials and residents in Weymouth, Quincy, Braintree and Hingham who say the plant would vent pollution and toxic gases and that it could explode in the densely populated neighborhood.
The state also issued wetlands and waterways permits, which are under appeal.
The state Office of Coastal Zone Management must decide whether the project is consistent with the federal Coastal Zone Management Act, but not until the project has first obtained the waterways permit.
No Fracked Gas in Mass preparing new outreach initiative, EE Pittsfield
Staff from Berkshire Environmental Action Team’s No Fracked Gas in Mass program will be visiting homes in Pittsfield neighborhoods to talk with residents about Mass Save’s Home Energy Audits and the Solar Access program. When you see us, please take a moment to talk with us and learn how you can save money AND shrink your carbon footprint.
At our May meeting we'll welcome Rose Wessel from No Fracked Gas in Mass to talk about the EE Pittsfield program. We start gathering at 5:15 pm and our guest speaks at 6 pm for about 30 minutes. Find us in the back room. EE Pittsfield is a new initiative from BEAT and No Fracked Gas in Mass. Join us to learn about making your home cozier, cheaper, and better for the planet.
Everyone is welcome and encouraged to bring your questions! Free and open to all. What is Green Drinks? These monthly meetings are a great way of catching up with people you know and for making new contacts. The drinks aren't green but the conversations are. Come along and you’ll be made welcome.
Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 5:15 PM – 7 PM
J. Allen's Clubhouse Grille
41 North St.
No Fracked Gas in Mass Seeks Campaign Associates
for EE Pittsfield Campaign
The Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) is seeking two individuals to be a part of our No Fracked Gas in Mass program to assist with our EE Pittsfield Campaign promoting energy efficiency. These are temporary positions from May through August 2019, approximately 11 hours per week/monthly stipend.
SOLAR ACCESS NEWS
Solar for Low to Middle Income Households
by Natasha Nurjadin, Center for Eco Technology
April 12, 2019
Low to middle income (LMI) households are those that earn 80% or less of the area’s median income. LMI households represent 43% of the U.S. population and 70% of the potential solar customers in Massachusetts. However, there are still some barriers in place against LMI families in accessing solar. These barriers include high upfront cost, low credit scores, and/or renting, and solar programs and financing for these populations needs to be wider spread.
A recent study found that the median income of households that install solar panels in some states was roughly $32,000 higher than the median household income in those states. However, there is a lot of opportunity in installing rooftop solar on LMI households.
Solar capacity on LMI households could total 320 GW (roughly 30 times the amount of solar installed in 2017). Despite all this potential, however, there still need to be more programs available to encourage this growth.
Solar Access is a state-sponsored program that helps LMI households get solar panels and heat pumps. In pairing the two, homeowners can expect to save money on energy and reduce their carbon emissions. An energy expert will guide homeowners through the program, which adds a special Solar Access incentive to the already existing combination of utility, state, and federal incentives for renewable energy. The program ensures that you will own your solar panels and a heat pump and pay less than you do now for energy.
» Read the full storySolar Access program a 'game-changer' — just ask this Adams homeownerBy Dick Lindsay, The Berkshire Eagle
April 14, 2019
In September, Noyes took the next logical energy-saving step and flipped the switch on his roof-mounted solar panels to drastically reduce, in just seven months, his electric bill from National Grid.
"It went from $100 to $120 a month to zero for the current bill, and I've accrued a month's worth of credits toward the next bill," he said. "It's an experience I've never had before with a utility bill."
In all, income-eligible homeowners can end up paying $10,000 to $20,000 in upfront costs for installations priced at $30,000 to $40,000, said Majercak and Sarah Zazzaro-Williams, CET technical services manager.
"There's been very positive feedback on the incentives and making it a holistic program," Zazzaro-Williams said. CET is partners with SunBug Solar of Somerville and Girard Heating & Air Conditioning from Westfield for the solar panel and heat pump installation, respectively.
The program requires both to be installed, because the solar panels will be able to provide energy for heating and cooling, thus saving money that can then be used toward the solar panels, resulting in a net-positive cash flow for the homeowner, CET officials said.
COLUMBIA GAS - MERRIMACK VALLEY & PHMSASen. Markey unveils federal pipeline safety legislation named after Leonel Rondon, killed in Merrimack Valley
gas disaster By Zoe Mathews, The Eagle Tribune
April 8, 2019
U.S. Sen. Edward Markey has unveiled new federal pipeline safety legislation named after Leonel Rondon, the 18-year-old Lawrence man killed during the Merrimack Valley gas disaster last September.
The legislation, called the Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act, calls for tighter regulations and stricter penalties on natural gas companies across the country, in the wake of the Sept. 13 over-pressurization incident that rocked Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.
“Not only did Columbia Gas not prioritize safety, it made safety an afterthought. The residents of these three communities paid the price,” said Markey. “The responsibility for safety failures does not stop with Columbia Gas and parent company NiSource. Federal safety regulations, set by PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration), are a testament to deficiency.''
Trump to announce new executive orders to speed up pipeline construction
by Miranda Green, The Hill
April 8, 2019
President Trump will travel to Texas Wednesday to announce two new executive orders that aim to make it easier for the oil and gas industry to get permits for pipeline construction, among other infrastructure needs. “The two Executive Orders the President will sign will help American energy companies avoid unnecessary red tape, allowing the U.S. to continue to be the undisputed global leader in crude oil and natural gas production for the foreseeable future,” a White House official said in a statement.
» Read the full story
Members of Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) banner-drop the entrance of FERC to propose agency reform
by No Fracked Gas in Mass
April 18, 2019
On April 18, members of BXE Drew and Ted climbed the entrance of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to drop a banner proposing that the agency revision their mission as the Federal Renewable Energy Commission (FREC) as part of the Green New Deal. See more information and their live video broadcasts from their perch above FERC’s entryway at their website for this initiative, FRECnotFERC.com
Pieridae announces start of construction preparations for Goldboro LNG in Nova Scotia
The company plans to start construction this year, with first delivery of gas to overseas customers in 2023. The Goldboro LNG project consists of an LNG processing facility, storage tanks and marine works. The facility will be located at the Goldboro Industrial Park in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, Canada. The target markets are Europe, South America and Asia. Goldboro LNG is a Pieridae Energy Canada project.
From Pieridae’s Spring 2019 Newsletter:
In late October 2018, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board issued the permit to Pieridae that will allow it to build Goldboro. Trees have been cleared but ‘grubbing’, removing the roots, stumps and soil, will happen later. Last March and April, Pieridae worked with local company R MacLean Forestry to clear just under 200 hectares of trees and bush. The LNG site will sit on 115 hectares, with 85 hectares reserved for the temporary camp site and equipment.
In late December 2018, Pieridae and Ikkuma Resources became one company. This provides Pieridae with ownership of an extensive area of gas-producing wells and reserves in the Foothills of Central Alberta. Developing all of Ikkuma’ s assets should provide Goldboro’s with 60 per cent of the gas it needs for the first LNG liquefaction facility (or ‘Train’). Pieridae continues to look to buy further assets to supply all the gas needed at Goldboro.
(*Note: The Goldboro export terminal will be connected to the Maritimes and Northeast pipeline, which connects to Massachusetts pipelines at the Dracut hub. This connection could allow excess gas from our pipeline systems to be sent for export.)
RCMP arrest three 'grandmothers' at Alton Gas protest site in Nova Scotia
Indigenous demonstrators and their supporters have maintained a two-year blockade to thwart a company's plan to create underground caverns to store natural gas
April 10, 2019
hree women described as "grassroots grandmothers" were arrested Wednesday at a rural construction site north of Halifax, where an Indigenous protest camp has long held up a company's contentious plan to build a natural gas storage facility.
The blockade was started more than two years ago to stop Alton Gas from using water from the nearby Shubenacadie River to create large, underground storage caverns. Protesters fear the 73-kilometre tidal river, which cuts through the middle of Nova Scotia, may be polluted.
It was unclear what happened when police moved in Wednesday. The RCMP had earlier set up roadblocks, preventing journalists and other protesters from reaching the site at Fort Ellis, N.S.
Protest leader Dorene Bernard, an academic and member of the Sipekne'katik First Nation in nearby Indian Brook, N.S., referred to those arrested as "grassroots grandmothers."
"We have a long fight ahead of us," she told reporters at the roadblock. "This is our treaty right. It should be our and other Nova Scotians' right to stand up to protect their water."
Critics of the Alton Gas project say it poses dangers to traditional Mi'kmaq fishing grounds, which have been used for more than 13,000 years.
The $130-million project has been largely on hold since 2014 when Mi'kmaq activists started a series of protests that culminated two years later in the creation of the camp.
Meanwhile, drilling for the first two caverns has been completed.