March 30, 2018

 
 
 
 
Governor Baker’s new “Climate Change” Bond Bill is a Trojan Horse
 
 
The premise of this bill sounds promising and it contains many sound and needed proposals including municipal vulnerability preparedness and improvement to mitigating coastal flooding. However, beware, this legislation proposed by Governor Baker contains some deeply concerning wording.
 
“Clean peak energy resources”, any clean energy resource, as determined by the
department of energy resources, that may be utilized to satisfy the clean peak standard established by the department under subsection (j) of section 11F, including, but not be limited to, Class I renewable energy generating sources as defined in subsection (c) of said section 11F, demand response resources, and energy storage systems, as defined in section 1 of chapter 164.

The “Clean” Peak Standard:
— Leaves the door open to define natural gas
    as a clean energy option

— Could pave the way for a new tax to fund new pipelines
 
Please contact your legislators today and voice your concern over the “Clean” Peak Standard provision in Governor Baker’s bill (H.4318). The Omnibus Clean Energy Bill proposed by Sen. Pacheco (S. 2302) addresses the same issues and many more in a much more comprehensive and truly environmentally sensitive way, without leaving combustible fuel sources such as natural gas or large scale biomass as an option.
If Governor Baker’s Bill H.4655 is going to pass, it can only be with the “Clean” Peak Standard removed. We cannot allow this Trojan Horse through the gates.
 
» Look for more ways to TAKE ACTION Below «


NEWS REGARDING THE BILL:
What's Wrong With Gov. Baker's Climate Bill
MA State Senator Marc Pacheco
Commentary on WGBH
March 26, 2018
 
A couple of weeks ago, as Massachusetts endured serial nor'easters, some of the state’s environmental vulnerabilities became painfully obvious. The absence of a comprehensive climate adaptation management plan in statute – passed by the Massachusetts State Senate and currently being looked at by the House of Representatives – was palpable. A few days later, in response to community crisis and outcry, Governor Baker decided to release an environmental bond bill that would include “strategic investments” and funding authorizations for climate, deferred maintenance and recreation, environmental protection and community investment. While such funds are important, we would be doing our communities a severe disservice by characterizing this bond bill as a comprehensive management plan in response to climate change – this legislation falls remarkably short of that.
 
(A) serious concern with this bond bill involves the administration’s language on energy resources. As it stands now, the bill’s new “clean peak standard” would allow the administration to define natural gas or dirty fuel as a “clean peak energy resource.” This is an alarming development, one that flies in the face of true proaction, protection and transparency. Fossil fuels are what got us into this mess in the first place, and we should not use them as a pillar of our climate strategy. If we leave this language on the table, it is a clear win for the fossil fuel industry.
 
In keeping with a holistic approach, the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change Committee submitted bill S.2302, An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future, which is a bi-partisan, unanimously supported piece of clean energy legislation that focuses on renewable energy, energy storage, our renewable portfolio standard and more. It is now in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, and I look forward to it being on the Senate floor very soon.
 
And in case you think your legislators are only listening to their constituents,
keep this scenario from this week in mind:
 
(Massachusetts) State Lawmaker Secretly Sends Constituent’s Emails to Gas Pipeline Lobbyist: The lobbyist may have outed himself by hitting “reply all.”
By Itai Vardi, Huffington Post
03/29/2018
 
A Massachusetts state legislator emailing with a citizen concerned about new gas pipelines surreptitiously shared those emails with a lobbyist who runs a fossil-fuel front group advocating for more pipelines, according to the messages that HuffPost obtained.
 
The constituent wrote to state Rep. Steve Howitt (R) to express concern that a pending climate change bill could actually pave the way for a tax to fund new pipelines in Massachusetts and allow the state to treat natural gas as clean energy. Howitt thanked the constituent, and the two exchanged follow-up emails about specific language in the bill.

But the emails indicate that Howitt also blind-carbon-copied another person ― William Ryan, a veteran lobbyist who owns the Boston-based firm Pilgrim Strategies and was recently hired to run the newly formed Mass Coalition for Sustainable Energy … an astroturf group with funding from Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge and gas-based utilities Eversource and National Grid ― all of which are currently trying to expand the regional Algonquin Pipeline. Ryan also consults for Enbridge on its Atlantic Bridge Project, another pipeline upgrade in the area.
 
Ryan appears to have accidentally outed himself on the thread by replying all, using the same email address he has previously used to register as a lobbyist with the state. “Perfect response to her, Steve,” he wrote, adding a link to a study that he said “really does a good job if [sic] explaining the power problem we have and how problematic the inadequate supply of natural gas is to our region.”
 
TAKE ACTION
TO DROP THE CLEAN PEAK STANDARD!

TUESDAY — APRIL 3, 2018 — BOSTON, MA
Gov. Baker: Take Gas Off the Table!
- Hearing and Stand In

1 PM - 4 PM

Massachusetts State House

24 Beacon St,
Boston, MA
 
Governor Baker recently filed an Environmental Bond Bill. While the bill has many positive proposal to advance climate adaptation and resiliency, it has a poison bill that leaves the door wide open for subsidizing more fracked gas in our state. This is unacceptable. Join us at the state house for a hearing on the bill to make your voices heard.
 
The bill creates a “Clean Peak” standard that requires a minimum level of energy to supply the grid during the most expensive times of the year. There is, however, concern that the bill’s current language may lead to new natural gas consumption. As it reads, it is up to state officials to define what a clean peak resource is, “including, but not limited to” storage, renewables, and demand response. Based on previous public statements from the Baker administration, it is likely this policy is intended to backdoor fracked gas as a "clean" resource.
 
The bill also omits critical components on environmental justice. If the governor is serious about protecting vulnerable communities, he should use the opportunity to codify EJ principles into law.
 
MassPower Forward is organizing for Boston with people getting there by 9 am. For questions and help coordinating with MPF, contact Claire Müller, claire@toxicsaction.org .
 
Review Workshops for the MA State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan offer another chance for direct action input

OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:
Massachusetts State Hazard Mitigation
and Climate Adaptation Plan


"These workshops are designed for stakeholders from Federal, Local, non-governmental, and private sector organizations. We are hosting a separate workshop for the State Agencies, which has been advertised to key staff earlier this month. However, all are welcome to attend the April workshops. We hope you will join us!

These workshops will focus on action and strategy development for adaption and hazard mitigation across the Commonwealth, building on the goals and problem statements that have been developed as part of the planning process.

 

Though these workshops are not about Governor Baker’s Bill, this Plan would be greatly affected by it’s allowances for natural gas development."
Please turn out to comment during the meeting or to stand out outside, demanding that the “Clean Peak Standard” in Gov. Baker’s Bond Bill is not compatible with climate mitigation. We need to make the message clear that Natural Gas is NOT a clean energy option. We need to reduce “Natural” Gas use to mitigate climate change.

WORKSHOP DATES & LOCATIONS:
Boston: Monday April 9, 2018, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Hopkinton: Thursday, April 12, 2018, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Lanesborough: Friday, April 13, 2018, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
 (This is a rare opportunity for Western MA to give direct input close to home. Please attend to speak or stand out against the “Clean” Peak Standard in Gov. Baker’s bill and against fossil)
 
RSVP is required for your attendance in the workshop**.

**Registration not required for stand-out protests.


» Written comments on this plan may also be submitted by April 20th. See the department’s “READ ME” file on Google Drive for instructions on filing comments.


Mass Save Listening Sessions
More Mass Save Listening Sessions to Come, Comment Period Ends April 9

 
Mass Dept. of Energy Resources (DOER) has scheduled a series of listening sessions, offering the public a chance to comment on the Mass Save program. This is a great time for the public to give input on ideas as well as concerns they have with the program.
 
Comments may also be submitted by email by April 9, 2018 to:
DOER.RCS@state.ma.us

 
For questions and to check on when and where the Greenfield Listening Session will happen, DOER’s Energy Efficiency contact person is:

Matt Rusteika
Coordinator, Energy Efficiency
Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 1020, Boston, MA 02114
617.626.7340
 
REMAINING LISTENING SESSIONS:
SPRINGFIELD – April 5, 2018
University of Massachusetts Center
1500 Main Street
Springfield, MA
6:00 – 8:00 pm
 
LOWELL – April 12, 2018
Lowell Senior Center
276 Broadway Street
Lowell, MA
6:00 – 8:00 pm
 
GREENFIELD
TBD


NEWS:
WEST ROXBURY PROTEST TRIAL
Anti-pipeline campaigners found not guilty by judge because 'protest against climate change crisis' was legal 'necessity'
 
By Andrew Buncombe, The Independent (UK)
March 28, 2018
 
More than a dozen protesters who clambered into holes dug for a high pressure gas pipeline said they had been found not responsible by a judge after hearing them argue their actions to try and stop climate change were a legal “necessity”.

Karenna Gore, the daughter of former Vice President Al Gore, was among more than 198 people who were arrested because of their 2015 actions protesting the pipeline in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, a neighbourhood of Boston. Thirteen people were to go on trial this week, though prosecutors downgraded their original criminal charges to one of civil infraction.

On Tuesday, Judge Mary Ann Driscoll of West Roxbury District Court, found all 13 defendants not responsible, the equivalent of not guilty in a criminal case. She did so after each of the defendants addressed the judge and explained why they were driven to try and halt the pipeline’s construction.
 
"We're part of the the movement that is standing up and saying we won’t let this go by on our watch"


FEDERAL REGULATIONS
Judge: Trump Admin. Must Consider Climate Change in Major Drilling and Mining Lease Plan

By Neela Banerjee, Inside Climate News
Mar 26, 2018

The plan covers 15 million acres in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming. The ruling on it is the latest to cite risks of fossil fuels and global warming.


EVENTS

FRIDAY — APRIL 13, 2018 — PITTSFIELD, MA
The Madhouse Effect: A Post-Election Climate Change Update - Presentation and book signing with Dr. Michael E Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University.

“I offer a somewhat lighthearted take on a very serious issue—the threat of human-caused climate change and what to do about it, based on my collaboration with Washington Post editorial cartoonist Tom Toles. We target the ongoing campaign to deny that threat through satire and where appropriate, ridicule, built around Tom Toles’ famously insightful, edgy, and provocative climate-themed cartoons in the Washington Post. Using Tom’s cartoons (existing ones and some new ones exclusive to the book) as a template, we review the scientific evidence of climate change, the reasons we should care, and the often absurd efforts by special interests and partisan political figures to confuse the public, attack the science and scientists, and deny that a problem even exists. Despite the monumental nature of the challenge this poses to human civilization, we find a way to end on an upbeat and cautiously optimistic note.” 
12:15 PM - 1:15 PM





Robert Boland Theater, reception and book-signing to follow
Berkshire Community College
1350 West St
Pittsfield, MA

 
Dr. Mann will also be speaking Dalton, at the Stationery Factory that evening, as part of the month-long activities for the Berkshire Earth Expo / Environmental Action Fair

7 PM - 8 PM
The Stationery Factory
63 Flansburg Ave
Dalton, MA


EVENTS ALL THROUGH APRIL 2018!
BERKSHIRE EARTH EXPO / ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION FAIR











Ceremonial Stone Landscape Speaking Tour

Doug Harris, Deputy Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office, will be coming to a town near you in April or May to present his talk - Let the Landscape Speak.

The Indigenous Ceremonial Stone Landscape surrounds us in New England, often hidden in plain sight in the forests and fields. Most people who come across enigmatic stone structures don't know that some are remnants of a network built by Indigenous Americans for ceremonial and other purposes. Doug Harris, Deputy Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office, has been Tribally certified in the identification of ceremonial stone features for 16 years. He will present an illustrated talk showing various types of Indigenous ceremonial stone features. Ample time will be provided for questions about structures audience members know of. The event is accessible to children 12yrs+ and adults.

Most of these presentations are supported by grants from Municipal Local Cultural Councils, local agencies which are support by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Speaking Schedule:

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See many more Upcoming Events on our  Events Page

For news on various pipelines, FERC and the industry, check out the
Latest News Tab on our site
 
 
 
 
Continuing our work, thanks to you!
Thanks to your support, we're continuing our work to keep fossil fuel expansion at bay, helping you stay informed to take action for a cleaner, healthier environment and more just energy system.

Every contribution, large or small, helps.
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.

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