SAFE has been collaborating with 350MA and is happy to express support for this year’s legislative agenda. This year’s priorities are renewable energy, improving infrastructure to stop methane gas leaks, and stopping the expansion of gas pipelines that will carry fracked gas to coastal communities for export:
Stop the Pipeline Tax ✧ Oppose any legislative effort to restore the pipeline tax and pursue other legislative avenues to resist fossil fuel infrastructure
Make Utilities Buy More Renewables ✧ Raise the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) so that electric utilities must more rapidly increase the percentage of electricity sourced from renewables to get us on a faster track to 100% renewable electricity.
Put a Price on Carbon ✧ Levy a price on carbon pollution and redistribute the revenue back to taxpayers.
Expand Solar Energy ✧ Raise or eliminate net metering caps, restore the net metering retail rate for all project types including community and large-scale solar, and provide funding for community and low-income solar initiatives.
Fix Gas Leaks ✧ Require that consumers not pay for leaked gas, incentivizing companies to fix leaks faster.
To learn more, and see the bill names and numbers of 350 Mass priority legislation, visit 350 Massachusetts 2017-2018 Legislative Agenda (PDF).
Ratepayers will not have not pay a special tax so that new natural gas pipelines can be built in Massachusetts.
From Bruce Mohl (Editor, CommonWealth Magazine) —
THE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT ruled on Wednesday that the Baker administration can not authorize the state’s electric utilities to tap their ratepayers for the money to finance a new natural gas pipeline into the region…
A new pipeline was expected to bring more cheap gas into the region and reduce electric prices, but opponents said a new pipeline would only increase the region’s over-reliance on a fossil fuel that is contributing to global warming…
The ruling means efforts to build a new natural gas pipeline into the region are effectively dead, although pipeline backers have said they will find another way to get the job done…
Attorney General Maura Healey joined the plaintiffs in opposing the DPU order. In a statement, she said “we know from our 2015 electric reliability study that there are cleaner and more affordable options for meeting our energy needs. The court’s decision makes clear that if pipeline developers want to build new projects in this state, they will need to find a source of financing other than electric ratepayers’ wallets.”
One of the ads against the pipeline tax. From www.NoCompressor.com
Go to SAFE’s YouTube channel to watch the recording of the June 28th event.
Video published on Jul 9, 2016
Avoiding Flint – Protecting the Climate
Sponsored by SAFE
Part I (0 to 32 minute marker)
Introductions by Jeff Barz-Snell, Co-Chair of SAFE
“The Voice of the River,” by Wayne Castonguay (Executive Director of the Ipswich River Watershed Association)
Part II (32 minute marker to 1 hour and 44 minute marker)
“Glyphosate 101: What is this stuff & how does it behave in the environment?” by Erin Bennett, PhD, (Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, University of Windsor)
“Update on Gas Pipelines,” by Cathy Kristofferson (Liaison for Stop Northeast Energy Direct: StopNED) and Paula Terrasi (also with StopNED)
Ends with a question-and-answer period.
Go directly to “Gas Pipelines and Salem’s Water Supply,” Parts I and II.
The Flint, Michigan water crisis
[Below are detailed ideas on what to ask for in the bill, and a link to find out who your Mass. elected officials are.]
Massachusetts has been a national leader on clean energy, but now are at a crossroads: we are poised to invest billions of dollars to replace retiring power plants and make energy choices that will shape our future.
Comprehensive energy policy is now advancing through the state legislature. Please urge your elected officials to invest in clean energy like wind and solar, and to ban any public financing of fracked gas pipelines!
Will you contact your respresentative and senator today?
When you call, meet with, or email your Representative and Senator, here is what you can say:
“I want to urge you to strengthen clean energy provisions in the House energy bill, H4336 – an Act Relative to Energy Diversity. Please work to pass an energy bill that reduces our reliance on imported gas and harnesses our state’s abundant renewable energy resources like wind and solar. The energy bill should:
- Stop the “pipeline tax.” Ratepayers should not foot the bill for new fracked gas pipelines. The cost and risk to consumers and the environment are too great and the legislature has a role to play in protecting the public by banning this practice. Please amend this legislation to head off the DPU’s plan to charge electric ratepayers for gas pipelines.
- Be bold with offshore wind: Legislation should establish long-term contracts for at least 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy. The current bill calls for 1200 megawatts – a good start, but increasing this will allow our state to grow wind jobs and capture a cost-saving economy of scale.
- Accelerate the Renewable Portfolio Standard to increase 2% per year: Maryland, California and Hawaii have all set ambitious RPS targets. To meet cuts the scientists say we must make in our climate change causing pollution, we can and should do the same. Please increase the RPS and accelerate the growth of local renewable power and the growth of clean energy jobs.
- Restore low-income and community solar: To ensure all communities can access solar power, the legislature should restore compensation for low-income and community solar projects.
Thank you for your support of clean energy, and please urge your colleagues to support these provisions.”
If you don’t know who your elected official is, you can find out here. Once you are ready to call, you can call them directly or you can call the state house switchboard at (617) 722-2000. And once you call, please let me know what your Representative and Senator says. It is super helpful to helping us strategize!
Carol Oldham, Executive Director [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Massachusetts Climate Action Network
Film focuses on efforts to discredit climate change, other issues
Almost every seat was filled at the National Park Service Visitors Center last night, for a screening of the film, Merchants of Doubt (the story referred to above ran in the Salem News on May 5th). The film showed how the struggle to expose the tobacco industry’s practice of hiring “experts” to discredit the dangers of smoking is happening all over again with climate change. However, that battle took 50 years, and we don’t have the luxury of that many decades this time around, according to James Hansen and other scientists focused on the hard science of what is happening to our atmosphere.
Here is a YouTube clip of the question-and-answer session with Congressman Moulton, filmed by SAFE Advisory Board Member, Stan Franzeen. The Salem News article that ran on the 5th before the screening can be read here.
Congressman Seth Moulton
From SAFE Advisory Board Member, Stan Franzeen:
On Friday May 6, Congressman Seth Moulton will be hosting an audience Q&A after a free screening of the film MERCHANTS OF DOUBT at the NPS Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty Street, Salem. Doors open at 6:00 pm, screening at 6:30 pm. Released in 2015, this satirically comic documentary exposes the deceptive tactics (borrowed from the tobacco industry’s playbook) that well-paid lobbyists have been using to create doubt and obscure the facts about climate science.
Salem Sound Coastwatch and SAFE (Salem Alliance for the Environment) are sponsoring in partnership with the National Park Service.
We are very excited about this unique opportunity to reach new audiences and help dispel some of the myths perpetrated by the anti-science crowd.
In Georgia, the citizens just defeated a Kinder Morgan pipeline from being installed; in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts, they’re currently fighting one; and WE ON THE NORTH SHORE need to fight the extension of it that they want to build right alongside the Ipswich River. It’s partly due to the fact that they’ll be tearing down fragile ecosystems in the Ipswich Watershed (part of our drinking water supply on the North Shore), but perhaps more urgently due to the fact that they’ll routinely and indefinitely have to spray very strong herbicides for 12 feet on either side of the pipeline to prevent tree roots from growing into it and damaging it. We can’t let them do that so close to our drinking water, nor in a protected ecosystem!
Furthermore, the Kinder Morgan pipeline will be carrying fracked gas. The process of fracking releases so much methane (a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2) into the atmosphere that it makes it a moot point that burning fracked gas releases less carbon dioxide than burning coal.
From Christian M. Wade, Statehouse Reporter, in the Eagle-Tribune on April 5, 2016:
State officials are planning six hearings over the next two weeks, including one Wednesday at Lynnfield Middle School and another at Andover High School on Thursday, April 14. Both begin at 7 p.m.
“We don’t want this company to run a destructive and potentially dangerous high-pressure, fracked gas pipeline across our community,” said Bob Croce, who heads an opposition group in Peabody. “And we certainly don’t want the state to give them permission to trample over property rights and conservation land for a pipeline project that wouldn’t benefit us at all.”
Kinder Morgan and its subsidiary want to pump gas from the Marcellus shale region across Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire.
Its pipeline would connect with other proposed and existing lines through Haverhill, Methuen and Andover. Smaller, lateral pipelines are proposed through Peabody, Danvers and Lynnfield…
Wayne Castonguay, executive director of the Ipswich River Watershed Association, said environmentalists are particularly concerned about a section of pipeline that would run along the Ipswich River — a drinking water source.
Besides the impact on wetlands and wildlife, he worries about the use of herbicides to clear the pipeline of brush.
“More than 300,000 people drink water from the Ipswich River every day,” Castonguay said. “There’s no way to mechanically clear the vegetation, so they have no choice but to use herbicides, which raises serious public health concerns….”
Project opponents — including Attorney General Maura Healey — contend that the demand for natural gas is exaggerated.
Read the whole article.
Image from marketrealist.com