On Friday, October 20th, I went back to to the Governor’s office to deliver a petition, and to sit/stand in support of Mass Power Forward’s coalition action that is going strong over a month in. A refresher:
Environmental groups stage sit-in at Governor Baker’s office
Their letter to Baker is here:
My note to Governor Baker:
Gov. Baker and his administration have a LEGAL obligation to follow MA’s 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act (aka GWSA). For those that aren’t familiar with this Act: GWSA’s key mandate, reinforced by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in May 2016, requires our state to reduce greenhouse emissions by 2020, to be down 25 percent from 1990 levels.
Another important part of the GWSA is Section 7, which reads: “In considering and issuing permits, licenses and other administrative approvals and decisions, the respective agency, department, board, commission or authority shall also consider reasonably foreseeable climate change impacts, including additional greenhouse gas emissions, and effects, such as predicted sea level rise.”
Governor Baker and his administration are not taking the GWSA seriously, despite his Executive Order #569 issued Sept. 16, 2016 ordering the state to, among other things, to “coordinate and make consistent new and existing efforts to mitigate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to build resilience and adapt to the impacts of climate change”.
In March 2017, MassDEP issued a draft Air Permit to Spectra/Enbridge for their gas compressor proposal in Weymouth. In May 2017, MassDEP issued an intent to permit Chapter 91 Waterways for that same project despite Spectra/Enbridge’s application being incomplete on 9 major requirements. As it stands now, all MA permitting is on hold. Why?
Governor Baker issued a letter in July of this year called on MassDEP and MassDPH to do health impact assessment studies, promised to ask the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to do a public safety threat review, and asked Coastal Zone Management to do a climate resiliency review before issuing or denying any state permits. Governor Baker’s orders in this letter are incredibly appreciated.
However, the appreciation is bittersweet:
Gov. Baker only reacted after being forced by three years of citizen activism, after being criticized for his inaction regarding the proposed Weymouth compressor by Democratic Governor Candidates, after seeing a growing number of Boston Globe articles asking why he wasn’t taking action, and after being cornered on Boston Public Radio’s segment, Ask The Governor, did Gov Baker finally act on behalf of the safety of his constituents. If the GWSA goals and public safety was one of the administration’s priorities, the environmental studies and reviews called for in his letter would have been done before issuing ANY permits or draft permits.
Why is following the GWSA important for MA? It will reduce or eliminate the un-needed new gas infrastructure that’s on the table now, and in the future. MA doesn’t need the gas. Any gas running through any new interstate pipelines is for export, and not for the benefit of New England. New gas infrastructure is not compatible with meeting the greenhouse gas emission goals set out by the GWSA, and I have 1441 signatures asking Gov. Baker to follow the law. I have 398 comments begging for the law to be followed.
Governor Baker, it’s time
I accompanied this wonderful group on Friday. It’s their week to stand up for all of us: