Act Now!

SUGGESTIONS FOR ACTION – Pick one or many!

WHAT YOU CAN DO

• COMMENT PERIOD on WEYMOUTH COMPRESSOR •
from Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station (FRRACS)

Dear Friend of FRRACS,

We are reaching out again to ask you for a favor. This is very important as we are putting every effort into stopping the nearly finished compressor station from ever operating.  Enbridge knows this is likely to be a “stranded asset,” and, sadly, one that will be paid for by the gas ratepayers.  Please help us to make this a very painful lesson for this greed driven company.

On September 8, comments are due to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on the vacated air quality permit. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the permit based on one thing–that Enbridge and the DEP did not do the full BACT (Best Available Control Technology) analysis as required.  In this case, they should have explored the use of an electric motor drive (EMD) as opposed to a gas fired turbine.  Enbridge (Algonquin) has had to go back and explain themselves, and the DEP simply rubber stamped their new BACT explanation.

It’s all very complicated, but we have prepared a list of possible questions/comments for you to send into the DEP.  » Go here to see the list of comments and a sample letter.  Choose one or several–it’s up to you!  Instructions on emailing and snail-mailing are at the top of the document. If you are feeling motivated and adventuresome, here are all of the documents pertaining to this vacated permit at this point.  You can read and make your own questions and comments.  You might even catch them in something we missed!

In 2017, YOU sent over 1500 comments on the original air quality plan approval. This was amazing! We would love to see you do this again–or even top your last effort!  You are all truly incredible.

Remember, comments must be in the hands of the DEP by 11:59 on September 8, 2020.  Emailing is essential, and you can send a back up copy via snail-mail if you want as well. We are counting on you!

Thank you, as ever, for all that you do.

 In Solidarity,
The FRRACS Team

• 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.

Take Action:

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.

• PETITION TO STOP CONSTRUCTION AT WEYMOUTH •

Tell Baker to stop Weymouth Compressor construction to protect the safety of workers & communities

Gov Charlie Baker is trying to make Weymouth shoulder the burden of stopping a multi-national, billion $ company’s construction of an unneeded gas transmission compressor. Baker is the one who can and should stop this superspreader site. This project doesn’t just affect Weymouth: the workers are staying in Braintree and Rockland extended stay facilities, putting staff at those facilities at risk.

There is video and image proof of safety protocols not being followed (see @elfOnSite on Twitter).


COMMENT PERIODS

• SMART PROGRAM GUIDELINES •
Comment period deadline June 18, 2020
Changes to the SMART Program have been rolling out since last fall, one portion at a time, each with their own comment period. This latest comment period is on Guidelines regarding the Emergency Rulemaking that was just closed for comment on June 1, 2020
» Background info, links to DOER information

• NET METERING IN DANGER at FERC •
Comment period deadline June 15, 2020
» Information on the FERC filing and how to Comment

» Webinar from Advanced Energy

• 2050 ROADMAP COMMENT PERIOD on EMISSIONS GOALS •
» Background info, written comment submission and talking points here


• 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.

WorkersHome

They’re also offering increased no-cost options in connection with these new assessments.

RESIDENTIAL – Folks who schedule a Virtual Home Energy Assessment by July 31, 2020 can qualify for 100% free insulation work.

BUSINESSES – Small businesses who undertake a Virtual Energy Assessment and sign a contract by August 31 can qualify any of multiple efficiency offers that apply to their business. 
If ever there was a time to take advantage of the Mass Save program, it’s now!
» Info slide show
» Visit EEPittsfield.org for links for scheduling (this website is for the Pittsfield initiative, but the Mass Save program is state-wide).


In Pittsfield?
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, rose@rose@thebeatnews.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.



From Solar Neighbors United

Share your Solar! in the National Solar Tour

With the planning for this year’s National Solar Tour in full swing, we wanted to reach out and thank you again for being a host on a previous Tour as well as update you on the 2020 Tour.

This year, the National Solar Tour will likely look different due to the COVID-19 epidemic. We are not exactly sure what to expect in October, but in the meantime, we are excited to share a fun way for you to get involved while social distancing and spending time at home.

» Record a Virtual Solar Tour!
We promise – it isn’t as scary as it sounds and we have resources to help make it fun and easy. The video can be simple – just you on your phone selfie-style totally works! During your video, you introduce yourself, talk about why you went solar, walk around and share your unique solar system. We have a video guide with tips and tricks to help make it easy.Need some inspiration?
» Check out an example Virtual Solar Tour video!
Will you record a Virtual Solar Tour Video of your solar system?
» SIGN UP HERE

• 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


• SHOW SUPPORT FOR OTHER GOOD ENERGY LEGISLATION •
View current Massachusetts legislation that would help move Mass forward on Environmental Justice, DPU Reform, 100% Renewables, Net Zero Stretch Code and more.


• SOLARIZE AND SOLARIZE PLUS •
These are state programs to bring solar to towns (smaller towns can band together to hit the minimum population requirement). With multiple community members signing up during the campaign, the program is able to offer bulk discounts, putting solar within reach of lower to middle income homes that might not otherwise be able to afford it. Solarize Plus allows the campaign to combine with an additional technology, like home battery storage or high efficiency heat pumps.
MassCEC has opened up the limitations a bit, so if your town previously had a Solarize campaign, you can now sign up again through SolarizePlus!
» More Information


• CONSIDER A LOCAL GAS BAN BY-LAW •
Follow the example of Brookline – Watch and learn from the Brookline co-petitioners about how they built power in their town meeting to vote for a bylaw that bans gas pipes in new construction projects. This is a tool to help reign in fossil fuel development on a local scale that is still being vetted by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. Once approved, it will be ready to adoption by municipalities across the state! http://www.massclimateaction.org/past_webinars


• GET YOUR LOCAL BOARD OF HEALTH TO CHIME IN •

BOHheader
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!

» Learn how to participate



• LOCAL ACTIONS FOR GREENING YOUR TOWN / CITY •
There are state programs to help push your city or town toward more clean and efficient power use, including making solar and conversion to clean household heating systems more affordable through aggregate purchasing.

» Learn about HeatSmart, Solarize Mass and the Green Community Designation and Grant Program



OTHER INDIVIDUAL ACTIONS

• JOIN A NATIONWIDE PUSH TO DE-FUND FOSSIL FUEL •
Check out StopTheMoneyPipeline.com

• Learn About Massachusetts State Energy Efficiency Programs •
EEfrontbutt
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.

TakeAPassHEAD

— 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.

» WHAT BUSINESSES CAN DO
» WHAT YOUR COMMUNITY CAN DO

DONATE to help keep our efforts moving and expanding!

• Plant a Tree!
In Pittsfield:
— Free Trees from BEAT! Neighborhoods in Pittsfield are now a part of a statewide program to increase canopy cover, reduce energy costs for heating and cooling, and make our neighborhoods healthier. Come visit our table and find out more about getting FREE TREES, PROFESSIONALLY PLANTED, FOR FREE! Hosted by Pittsfield Greening the Gateway City – Free Trees and Berkshire Environmental Action Team.
»  Contact Jane Winn of Berkshire Environmental Action Team


» 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.
thebagshare.org

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 )