SUGGESTIONS FOR ACTION – Pick one or many!
WHAT YOU CAN DO
• Support the Mass. Next Generation Climate Bill (S.9) •
The long saga of the Massachusetts Next Generation Roadmap for Climate Policy bill continues! This bill contained just about every provision environmental groups have been advocating for for the last couple of years: strong benchmarks in emissions reductions across multiple sectors, environmental justice provisions, language allowing for a net zero stretch code and many more.
The bill came out of committee and to Governor Baker’s desk very late, in the last days of last legislative session. Baker then let it sit and expire in a “pocket veto” citing concerns from some of his strongest lobbyists.
As soon as the new legislative session started, the bill was refiled as-is and was passed back to Gov. Baker, who has now suggested amendments that would weaken it.
• Take Action Against Eversource’s Pipeline in Springfield/Longmeadow •
*From Climate Action Now
Sign the petition asking Eversource to abide by their commitments and withdraw support for the construction of their pipeline project from Longmeadow to Springfield. As Eversource assumes the mantle from Columbia Gas in providing gas utility service to much of Western Massachusetts, we welcome the opportunity to work with Eversource to transition away from fossil fuels and move toward energy conservation and non-combustible clean energy sources, goals proclaimed publicly in the company’s public document, “Commitment to Clean Energy & Carbon Neutrality” by 2030. *a
In order to meet those goals, the company needs to begin reducing natural gas distribution services provided by NStar and actively pursue non-combustible clean options like electric heat pump technologies and geothermal district heating. Eversource Energy, unlike Columbia, has the distinct ability to transition both its ratepayers and its workers to the clean energy future you have already identified as a corporate priority because it oversees local electricity distribution as well as gas provision. That transition specifically precludes investment in new gas infrastructure like the Longmeadow-Springfield project.
• Tell Your Legislators: Cut Energy Waste in Massachusetts •
One of the easiest ways to reduce energy and water waste is to set higher efficiency standards for the appliances and plumbing fixtures in our households and businesses. Massachusetts has a chance to embrace this commonsense solution to climate change by passing appliance standards. Join Environment Mass in urging the Massachusetts Legislature to include appliance efficiency standards in any climate legislation passed this session.
» Use Environment MA’s online letter to send to your legislators
• Help to Shave the Peak! •
Peak energy is the period of time in the year when the electric grid experiences its highest demand for energy. These peaks correlate with very high temperatures or very low temperatures and usually occurs in the late afternoon when buildings are using the most electricity to power air conditioning and other loads.
When demand for energy peaks, dirty fossil fuels such as kerosene, coal, and natural gas are deployed to the electric grid through the powering up of peaker power plants – energy generators that are only used when demand is significantly higher than usual. As a result, peak energy results in higher than usual emissions of toxic chemicals and greenhouse gases.
The good news is that there is that something we can do about it! If we work to lower our personal energy use at times when there are demand peaks, we will directly reduce emissions during these peaks as well as the need to power up dirty peaker power plants. Here’s how you do it!
Step 1: Sign up to receive alerts from the Green Energy Consumers about when energy demand is peaking. We recommend that you sign up to recieve both text and email results to make sure you are notified
Step 2: When you receive alerts, take steps to reduce your energy consumption during peak energy times. Examples of what you can do include:
- Don’t use appliances unnecessarily during peak times.
- Avoid using TV, computers, and other electronic devices during peak hours
- In the winter, you can warm the room up a little extra, then turn the heat down or off during the peak hours
- In the summer, cool your room down a little extra before the predicted peak, then turn your air conditioner thermostat up during the peak
It sounds small, but making these changes make a real difference. To learn more, visit our page about shaving the peak
• Take Action to Make Our State House More Transparent •
Join Act on Mass’s Transparency Campaign! At the start of every two-year legislative session, the State House writes its own rulebook. A new session begins in January. Over the next few months, Act on Mass and their allies are organizing constituent power in every corner of the state to demand that our legislators change the broken, anti-democratic rules in the State House.
Massachusetts has one of the least transparent State Houses in the country. With few exceptions, our legislators vote in secret. This fosters a corrupting system in which legislators are more accountable to corporations and special interests than to their own constituents. The devastating end result is a State House that fails us by prioritizing modest, incremental changes, instead of truly reflecting our values. Decisions about which bills pass are made in backroom deals. The State House operates more like an old boys club than a pillar of a vibrant democracy.
The Transparency Is Power Campaign is a grassroots campaign that works with advocacy groups, labor unions, and individuals to build constituent power across the state. Together, we pressure our state legislators through engagement and escalation to change the rules of the State House. By standing up for rules today, we can more effectively fight for bold, transformative policies tomorrow.
The demands of the campaign are that the House adopt the three following rules to increase transparency:
- All votes held in legislative committees are publicly disclosed
- Bills are made public for 72 hours prior to a final vote
- The threshold for a vote to be publicly recorded in the State House is reduced from 16 representatives to 8 representatives.
No Fracked Gas in Mass fully supports these rule changes because we know they will greatly increase our ability for strong environmental legislation. Visit Act on Mass’s Website to learn more.
• Support our Friends in New York •
Our friends at Community Advocates for a Sustainable Environment (CASE) are working hard to transition the state of New York to a green economy. Here are five things you can do to support them if you are in New York or just want to help!
- Make a call to Governor Cuomo!
- File a comment in the National Grid rate case
- Attend an online teach-in about the viability of 100% renewable energy
- Get a teacher (or yourself if you are a NYS teacher) involved in the movement to divest the NY State Teacher Retirement Fund from fossil fuels
• SPEAK OUT ON BIOMASS •
from Partnership for Policy Integrity (PFPI) and the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition
Action Alert! Call your state senator and urge/him her to reach out to Senators Barrett, Creem, O’Connor on the MA climate bill
Two weeks ago the House voted on a climate change package that includes, among other things, a proposal to increase the amount of “non-carbon emitting” energy that municipally-owned electric utilities must sell. The catch? The bill defines “non-carbon emitting” to include, among other things, biomass power plants.
We have been down this road before, it is yet ANOTHER attempt to provide sufficient financial incentive for the Palmer biomass power plant to be constructed in Springfield. The Springfield groups are organizing on this. The Springfield City Council recently called on the House and Senate to fix the climate bill during the upcoming conference committee process.
City Council member Jesse Lederman has also set up a
petition on Change.org.
Our best hope of correcting this language is through a conference committee that has been set up to resolve differences between the House and Senate climate bills.
Please contact your state senator and ask him / her to reach out to their peers on the conference committee -Senators Barrett, Creem, and O’Connor – with the following request:
• Amend the House’s proposed new greenhouse gas emissions standard for Municipal Light Plants (Section 15 of the House climate bill) to include only resources that are qualified under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard or the new Clean Energy Standard. (This means no biomass or trash incineration – we need to #StopBurningStuff)
Please share with them this powerful letter from the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition about how this proposal will harm Springfield residents who are already suffering disproportionately from air pollution.
Please also sign the petition.
• GET A HOME ENERGY ASSESSMENT – YES! EVEN DURING COVID-19 •
Cut Emissions, Save Money!
There are several changes to Mass Save triggered by COVID-19. One is the advent of Virtual Energy Assessments, a no-in-house visit by video conference for carrying out energy efficiency assessments.
They’re also offering increased no-cost options in connection with these new assessments.
– RESIDENTIAL – Fill out the Online Home Energy Assessment to see if you qualify for 100% free insulation work. (Even if you don’t, discounts of at least 75% are available).
» Visit EEPittsfield.org for links for scheduling (this website is for the Pittsfield initiative, but the Mass Save program is state-wide).
Help us help Pittsfield reach increased Energy Efficiency Goals!
EE Pittsfield is our initiative to bring awareness of energy efficiency options to the people of Pittsfield. We started in 2019 with door to door outreach in downtown neighborhoods and this year, we’re working with the City to help them reach increased efficiency among residents and small businesses. Visit eepittsfield.org for more info.
• Would you like to engage your community group, small business association, neighborhood association or employees in participating in the MassSave program? Talk to us! We’re happy to help get your group stared.
Let us know what method works best for you during this time of social isolation: info for your regular organization newsletters, conference call, Zoom presentation or workshop or even virtual sign-up guidance for individuals? Let’s talk.
Contact Rose at BEAT, firstname.lastname@example.org
• SUPPORT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EQUITY on COVID-19 •
If you represent an organization, please consider supporting the recommendations of the Massachusetts Public Health Association’s Emergency Task Force on Coronavirus and Equity.
• SIGN THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S PETITION TO ISO NEW ENGLAND •
Tell ISO New England that you want rules to promote affordable clean energy, healthy communities, and climate protection.
» SIGN THE PETITION
• GET YOUR LOCAL BOARD OF HEALTH TO CHIME IN •
The Massachusetts Association of Health Boards (MAHB) are asking local Boards of Health to sign on to a letter to Governor Baker, asking him to say no to further fracked gas infrastructure or, at the very least, not allow any to be approved without a full, independent study of health effects.
Over 100 Boards of Health have approved signing onto it, or written their own!
Residents of our other towns and cities to should ask their Board of Health to sign on to this letter as well. It would be a powerful message to send if every municipality in the state signed on!
OTHER INDIVIDUAL ACTIONS
• JOIN A NATIONWIDE PUSH TO DE-FUND FOSSIL FUEL •
Check out StopTheMoneyPipeline.com
• Learn About Massachusetts State Energy Efficiency Programs •
From weatherizing and making your home more efficiency through MassSave, adding high efficiency cold weather heat pumps and solar to run them through SolarAccess, to banding together with neighbors to get the power of bulk pricing on going solar with Solarize and more options, check our Energy Efficiency section.
• Spread the word!
— Write OpEds or Letters to the Editor about the pipeline issue. This especially important to counter inaccurate or one-sided reports you may see, but writing about the pipeline issue preemptively is a good way to bring the subject to the general public.
— Talk to your local selectboard, planning board, conservation commission about what their plans are or what you think they should be. Even if your town isn’t affected by fossil fuel infrastructure expansion, consider creating a 100% Renewables plant for your town (more info coming soon!), becoming a Green Community, or organizing to participate in the Solarize Mass program
— Talk to your neighbors and friends about pipeline projects near you and let them know why they’re of concern. Maybe share your favorite environmental documentaries with friends.
— Talk to your State Legislators
Here are links to the major Massachusetts Legislative Committees who would have sway over these issues. These would be key people to contact first, but definitely feel free to contact more:
» Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy
» Joint Committee on Ways and Means
»Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture
— Consider spending some time at the State House.
Nothing beats an actual person talking to you about the issues. Consider making an appointment with either your own Legislators, or with some on the Committees show above to talk to them about your concerns and present some of the evidence for why more fossil fuel expansion is the wrong direction.
— In Your Own Home or Business
• Contact MassSAVE for a free home energy audit. Find out where you can improve your energy efficiency and what incentive programs and rebates you qualify for.
• Sign up for Shave The Peak email or text alerts so you can voluntarily cut back electricity use during “peak” days, when utilities may need to draw on oil- or coal- fired power plants to meet unusually high demand. Small adjustments to air conditioning or household appliance use for a few hours can make a big difference, and help to green the grid.
• Talk to a nearby rooftop or small-scale wind energy provider about systems you could use to generate your own clean energy. If you’re not sure where to find someone, NESEA’s Sustainable Green Pages could be a good place to start.
• If your own energy system isn’t an option, consider adding New England Green Start to your utility account. For pennies more per KWh, you can ensure that the amount of energy you use is purchased by your utility company from clean energy sources.
— DONATE to help keep our efforts moving and expanding!
» Help other communities fighting similar battles against fossil fuel infrastructure expansion across the country
— Get behind solutions!
» FOCUS ON EFFICIENCY
• Encourage your State Reps. and the Governor to focus on energy efficiency as a way to close the energy gap, not bringing in more fossil fuels to feed existing and fire up more leaky gas-fired plants.
» FOCUS ON ALTERNATIVES
• Support solar, wind, micro-wind, energy efficiency and conservation measures.
REDUCE PLASTIC CONSUMPTION
Plastics aren’t only a pollution problem. Their production relies on fracking to extract ethane along with natural gas. Reducing your plastic use can reduce demand for more fracking wells in communities hosting fossil fuel extraction.
• Paper or plastics? How about neither!
Both plastic and paper disposable shopping bags use far more energy and resources than using re-usable canvas bags. Talk to your local officials about starting a bag-ban in your town, and start a local BagShare program.
• The Bag Share
— The goal of the BagShare is to transition stores to going disposable bag free. Volunteers sew and donate cloth bags to stores, libraries, farmer’s markets, and other venues that want to reduce their bag waste.
• Buy in bulk. Instead of purchasing groceries plastic packaging, find stores that offer products in bulk bins and ask if you can bring your own reusable bags or containers.
(Tiny URL for this page = http://tinyurl.com/NFGactnow )