Legislative Watch

Legislative Updates – March 2018

from Mass Power Forward

Months into 2018, urgency on climate change hasn’t dulled. In fact, with storms, blizzards, floods and power outages, the need for action is becoming ever-more visible. Fortunately, the legislature and governor are considering major action on climate and the environment. In the menatime, we need advocates to keep calling, calling, calling until the legislature acts!

A quick status report on Mass Power Forward priorities:

H2913/S426, the Environmental Justice Act, is now in the House Ways and Means committee. Funding for an environmental justice director also appears in the Governor’s budget proposal. Read more on environmental justice here.
Omnibus energy legislation, S2302, An act to promote a clean energy future is pending in Senate Ways and Means. Read a fact sheet on the omnibus energy bill here. Meanwhile, the Governor has filed an Environmental Bond Bill. The bond bill is focused on climate adaptation, but includes also policy changes on a number of energy and environmental issues. Bond bills have a long legislative process, but we’ll likely see a hearing scheduled soon in the Joint Committee on Environmental, Natural Resources and Agriculture soon.
Various bills on the Renewable Portfolio Standard and Solar (including H3396/S1831 An Act relative to solar power in environmental justice and urban communities Rep. Holmes / Sen. Chang-Diaz) are still pending in the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilties and Energy. These bills have a deadline of April 12. H3400, the “DPU reform bill,” was unfortunately sent to study, but its major components are included in the Senate omnibus legislation.

The House should be commended for acting on Environmental Justice and the Massachusetts Senate for advancing aggressive climate action. Your legislators can take action to advance both – urge them to speak up today! Let’s be sure the legislature acts before the session ends in July!


Mass. Senators Offer Plan To Accelerate
Clean Energy Growth

by Matt Murphy, State House News Service
February 12, 2018

A comprehensive and complex bill written by a leading climate change activist in the Senate proposes to accelerate the state’s transition to renewable energy by banning new natural gas infrastructure, setting new targets for emission reductions, and using the market to curb fossil fuel consumption.

The omnibus bill unveiled Monday includes a smorgasbord of proposals touching on virtually every sector of the state’s energy marketplace, specifically seeking to eliminate caps on reimbursements for solar energy production, pursue energy storage technology, and expand the state’s offshore wind power goals.

It directs Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration to use “market-based” strategies to reduce carbon emissions in the transportation, commercial and residential building sectors, which could include carbon fees or a regional cap-and-trade system similar the one Massachusetts participates in for power generation.

» Read the full story

» Onmibus Energy Bill Summary page
» Download the bill