Mass Power Forward Press Release Regarding Senate Climate Legislation
Mass Power Forward Coalition Response to the Massachusetts Senate Legislation (S.2476, S2477, S2478)
BOSTON, MA - The Mass Power Forward coalition applauds the efforts made by the Massachusetts Senate to create comprehensive climate change planning structures. The transportation and building sector emissions have seen relatively little progress compared to the electricity sector in the past decade and this bill rightly puts the focus on how we can make the first steps towards economy-wide carbon reductions.
At the start of the session, the Mass Power Forward coalition had 3 priorities: environmental justice, 100% renewable energy, and equitable investments in the clean energy infrastructure. While the Senate’s legislation does not fully satisfy the coalition’s priorities, it makes significant strides towards environmental justice by increasing access to solar energy benefits for low income households. The legislation also increases the commitment to renewable energy by increasing the effectiveness of the MassSave program and converting home heating to renewable sources. In terms of equitable investment, the bill would allow for an economy-wide carbon price and directs carbon reductions planning to include ‘low income and other underserved communities.’
Unfortunately, the package falls short of notable policy demands from the climate justice community. It does not address the disparate health impacts from emissions in low-income neighborhoods, it does not commit to 100 percent renewable energy on a timescale that is recommended by the 2018 IPCC report, and it does not guarantee that revenue raised for climate mitigation and adaptation will be prioritized for low-income or disadvantaged communities. The coalition embraces and fully endorses the principles of a just transition and while we applaud the effort to reduce emissions, there needs to be more consideration for communities that do not have representation on Beacon Hill and making sure that good, equitable jobs are created when we create the clean energy economy. The Mass Power Forward organizations look forward to working with House leaders to pass these bills into law before the end of the 2019-2020 session.
Mass Power Forward is a coalition of environmental leaders, community development organizations, clean energy businesses, faith groups, neighborhood health and safety advocates, and Massachusetts families fighting for clean, affordable, reliable energy and a thriving economy. Please visit our site for more information on our platform and how to contact us.
Mass Power Forward’s Planning Team consists of: 350 Massachusetts, Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE), Clean Water Action, Climate Action Now Western Mass, GreenRoots, Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN), Neighbor to Neighbor, Pipeline Awareness Network of the Northeast (PLAN NE), Sierra Club Massachusetts Chapter, Toxics Action Center, & Unitarian Universalist Mass Action