The Gov. Baker afternoon sit-in/stand-in mantle has been passed to 350 Mass For A Better Future and Mass Power Forward! They approached me to ask about my action and could they get information so they could do the same. I was incredibly flattered as well as excited for them and what they want to accomplish.
Their action started yesterday and is already garnering some press! Right on, I am so happy!
Announcement article on SHNS:
STAND-INS PLANNED TO PRESS BAKER ON FOSSIL FUELS
Massachusetts is pursuing clean energy sources through its 2016 offshore wind law and its 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act, as well as a recent executive order signed by Gov. Charlie Baker and its membership in a ten-year-old regional compact that extracts emissions reductions from the power sector. And after President Trump dropped the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Baker pledged to work with states aiming to exceed that accord’s goals.
But members of a broad coalition on Wednesday will visit the Corner Office and press Baker to do more.
According to Joel Wood, an energy advocate at Clean Water Action, Mass Power Forward plans to launch a series of lunchtime stand-ins outside Baker’s office aimed at urging Baker to release a new executive order to cease all new fossil fuel infrastructure projects in Massachusetts.
While state officials say Massachusetts is on track to exceed legally required emission reductions, Wood says meeting reduction requirements beyond 2020 will be jeopardized if new natural gas projects are permitted. Wood says Baker can use the state’s permitting powers, more aggressively pursue power grid changes to accommodate clean energy, and follow the lead of states he said are more hospitable to clean energy like California, Hawaii and New York.
In the face of local concerns, the Baker administration agreed to conduct a public health review of a planned natural gas compressor station after Weymouth resident Andrea Honore repeatedly visited Baker’s office. The coalition, which includes 350 Mass, the Toxics Action Center and the Mass Sierra Club, cite Honore’s advocacy as the reason they decided to adopt the stand-in approach. The stand-in begins at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday.
– Michael P. Norton/SHNS
9/11/2017 12:26:55 PM
(my bold below)
NATURAL GAS, SOLAR DISPUTES RAISED AT SEPARATE EVENTS
By Andy Metzger, STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, SEPT. 13, 2017….Environmentalists celebrated last year when the state’s highest court blocked a Baker administration proposal to charge ratepayers for natural gas pipeline costs. On Wednesday, in the middle of “Climate Week,” environmentalists raised the alarm about future means of pipeline financing and asked the governor to put a stop to it.
A small group of people aligned with the environmental coalition Massachusetts Power Forward showed up outside Gov. Charlie Baker’s office Wednesday asking that officials in his administration “do everything in their legal authority to avoid the construction of new gas infrastructure such as pipelines and power plants” – which would be a departure from the Baker administration’s support of natural gas as part of a larger strategy they view as balanced.
“This is meant to be a sneak preview of what’s to come,” said Craig Altemose, who promised environmentalists will show up regularly outside the governor’s office to demand climate-friendly actions.
Better Future Project executive director Craig Altemose spoke to constituent services director John Tapley (left) outside the governor’s office Wednesday. Altemose is pleased Baker wants to exceed commitments in the Paris Climate Treaty but says “we need to immediately stop digging the hole deeper, and not allow any new major fossil fuel infrastructure projects to move forward.”
In his two-plus years in office, Baker has pursued renewable energy, including solar, hydropower and offshore wind, while maintaining the state’s commitment to gradual emission reductions. But the governor has also pointed to the major role that natural gas plays in the state’s energy mix as state officials ponder a future without a nuclear power plant in Plymouth and the capacity for renewable energy to serve as an affordable and reliable alternative.
On Tuesday, Baker announced his administration is poised to develop a strategy to extract pollution reductions from the transportation sector.
Opponents of increased reliance on natural gas point to a study from Attorney General Maura Healey’s office disputing the need for new gas infrastructure, and say holding the line on natural gas will help the state meet its binding emission reduction requirements.
Also on Wednesday, the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus promoted legislation intended to make it easier for apartment building tenants to tap into the utility savings available from solar panels.
The bill (S 1831/H 3396) sponsored by Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, of Jamaica Plain, and Rep. Russell Holmes, of Mattapan, would “ensure that renters and low-moderate income residents receive a compensation rate equal to that received by homeowners when buying into low-moderate income community solar projects and solar projects in environmental justice communities,” according to a bill summary.
Sen. Jamie Eldridge, an Acton Democrat, said the net-metering rates that apartment dwellers are eligible to receive from solar panels on their building roofs was cut in last year’s solar law from the retail rate enjoyed by homeowners.
“That was embarrassing that the Legislature passed that,” Eldridge said Wednesday, noting that the legislation was a “compromise” with the House. The final version passed unanimously in the Senate with Eldridge’s vote. He said, “We’re all paying into these incentives on our electric bills yet more often than not, middle class communities – many communities in my district – are benefitting far more financially than those low-income communities of color.”
Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, of Bethel A.M.E. in Jamaica Plain, said she had to downscale ambitions for a solar project on her church’s roof after the bill became law. She said the legislation filed by Chang-Diaz and Holmes is the first environmental bill that has been sponsored by the Black and Latino caucus.
“The Legislature baked in income inequality into their solar net-metering policy,” said Arline Isaacson, a lobbyist who represents BCC Solar. “They didn’t intend that but it was the net result of it, because essentially they said if you live in a wealthy suburb we will pay you a full retail rate for every unit of energy you generate, but if you’re a tenant in a city and you don’t have much money, we’re only going to give you 60 cents. We’re going to cut it back by 40 percent for the exact same unit of energy.”
Their letter to Baker is here: