MA State Bills – 2017

There are many bills regarding energy, utilities, regulators and environment. It’s as important to support the bills (or sections thereof) that will lead us to cleaner and more just energy policy as it is to oppose those (or sections thereof) that lead us down the wrong climate path. Talking to your state legislators about proposed bills helps us build the future we want.

Massachusetts Legislative Hearing Oct 26th
Natural Gas Infrastructure, Tax, Leaks & more

The hearing will be for 29 (!) bills including two of our legislative priorities connected to natural gas infrastructure.
October 26
10 AM – 2 PM
Room A-2
Massachusetts State House
Boston, MA
Request for Action from PLAN-NE:
PLEASE CALL you reps and ask that they sign on
Rep. Kulik has sent out this letter to all representatives, and asked them to add their signatures in support of his DPU reform bill and Rep. Gordon’s pipeline tax bill. The hearing on these bills is next Thursday (please come if you can – we want to fill the room so the committee knows this is important!)
The letter is going out with Kulik, Gordon, and Jones as initial signers, and Pignatelli has signed on (so no need to ask them).  Senators Eldridge and Jehlen also have companion bills to these.

The deadline for legislators to to sign on is this Friday, October 27th at 12:00 Noon. Have legislators contact Michael Gallant or Jared Freedman in Rep. Kulik’s office to sign on.

In sum, the DPU Reform bill would:
·         Enhance the review of pipeline capacity contracts and address other needed

          reforms identified over the course of previous and ongoing proceedings related to
          gas infrastructure projects.
·         Codify the SJC’s ruling prohibiting electric ratepayer financing of gas pipelines;
·         Ensure the public’s ability to intervene at the DPU;
·         Protect ratepayers against self-dealing by energy conglomerates;
·         Enhance protections for landowners and conservation areas; and
·         Hold gas utilities to high standards regarding the capacity they are allowed
          to contract for.
The pipeline tax bill would prohibit companies from charging ratepayers to pay for the construction or expansion of interstate gas infrastructure.
REVIEW OF BILLS in October 26th Hearing
H.2698/S.1855 (protects ratepayers from pipeline expansion costs)
H.3400/S.1847 (reforms DPU’s pipeline approval process)
H.3391/S.1859 (mandate facilities siting board consider health effect of gas infrastructure)
H.2683/S.1845 (prohibits charges to customers for leaked gas)

No Fracked Gas in Mass is a member of Mass Power Forward.

This is their legislative agenda for 2017-2018

Accelerate the Renewable Portfolio Standard: Mass Power Forward supports increasing the Renewable Portfolio Standard by 3% each year, driving demand for renewable power and growing our local clean energy industries. We also support a statewide solar target of 25% solar by 2030. Additionally, we support a proposal by Rep. Khan to accelerate the RPS by 2% per year while incorporating municipal light plants into the state’s clean energy goals.

  • H2706/S1846 An act relative to solar power and the green economy – Rep. Mark / Sen. Eldridge
  • H2700/S1876 An Act to Increase the RPS and Ensure Compliance with the GWSA – Rep. Khan / Sen. Pacheco

Solar Access for All:  Mass Power Forward urges the legislature to ensure all communities can benefit from solar energy. This legislation ensures fair compensation to low-income solar and to community shared solar net metering with a minimum threshold of low-moderate income customers, incentivizes projects that expand access to communities facing barriers, and directs the Department of Energy Resources to address barriers like income, housing type and language in their program design.

  • H3396/S1831 An Act relative to solar power in environmental justice and urban communities Reps. Holmes / Sen. Chang-Diaz

Keep Ramping Down on Fossil Fuels: We cheered the August ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court that pipeline taxes are illegal, but we know the fight against new gas pipelines is not over. We support legislation filed by Rep. Kulik and Senator Eldridge to ensure the public’s ability to intervene at the DPU and hold local distribution gas contracts to high standards regarding the capacity they are allowed to buy.  We also support legislation filed by Sen. Jehlen and Rep. Gordon to ensure that electric and gas consumers can never be forced to subsidize new interstate gas pipelines.

  • H3400/S1847 An act clarifying authority and responsibilities of the department of public utilities – Rep. Kulik / Sen. Eldridge
  • H2698/S1855 An Act protecting ratepayers from gas pipeline expansion costs – Sen. Jehlen / Rep. Gordon

Environmental Justice: (EJ) is based on the principle that all people have a right to be protected from environmental pollution and to live in and enjoy a clean and healthful environment. EJ is the equal protection and meaningful involvement of all people with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws. We support codifying environmental justice definitions and protections into law as this law would do, and altering the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act to incorporate environmental justice concerns into its reviews.

  • H2913/S426 An Act relative to environmental justice and toxics reduction in the Commonwealth – Rep. Dubois / Sen. Eldridge

Just Transition at Pilgrim Nuclear: We support efforts by legislators on the Cape and South Shore to (a.) require the owner/operators of any existing or future nuclear reactor in the Commonwealth to pay into a post-closure trust fund until decommissioning is complete so these activities will not end up being paid for by Massachusetts taxpayers, (b.) expanding the Emergency Planning Zone beyond the current 10 mile radius,, and (c.) requiring licensee to maintain offsite emergency management until removal of all spent fuel from cooling pool.

  • S1837/H1765 An Act relative to the prompt decommissioning of nuclear power stationsSen. deMacedo – Plymouth
  • H1131    An Act increasing nuclear power plant protections to a twenty mile radius – Rep. Cantwell – Marshfield

Other Supported Legislation:

  1. Comprehensive Energy Legislation: S1880, Sen. Pacheco – Expands RPS, solar, offshore wind, storage, grid modernization, climate adaptation, and sets binding 2030 and 2040 climate targets

  2. Community Empowerment: H1745/1834, Rep. Haddad/Sen. Cyr – Enable municipalities to contract directly with renewable energy projects. Bill endorsed by former Chair of Department of Public Utilities.

  3. Modernize the Electric Grid, H1725/S1875, Rep. Benson/Sen. Pacheco – Modernize electric grid, prioritize local clean energy over expensive transmission, & enact new consumer protections

  4. Stop Charging Customers for Lost Gas: H2683/S1845, Rep. Barber/Sen. EldridgeMinimize or eliminate consumer charges for lost and unaccounted for gas, as has been done in Texas, Pennsylvania and numerous other states.

  5. Energy Facilities Siting Board reform: H3391, Rep Coppinger – Mandates EFSB consider public health impact

No Fracked Gas in Mass also supports:

An Act clarifying authority and responsibilities of the department of public utilities

By Mr. Eldridge, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 1847) of James B. Eldridge, Stephen Kulik, Frank I. Smizik, Denise Provost and other members of the General Court for legislation to clarify the authority and responsibilities of the department of public utilities.