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  • Writer's pictureClaire Miller

Press Release RE: Senate Climate Package

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Tuesday, June 25, 2024


Contact 

Jess Nahigian, Sierra Club Massachusetts, jess.nahigian@sierraclub.org, 617-460-6351

Claire Karl Miller, UUMass Action, claire@uumassaction.org, 781-775-1429

Daniel Zackin, 350 Mass, dan@betterfutureproject.org, 203-802-7464



Community Members and Advocates Cheer On Statewide Climate Action

Mass Power Forward Welcomes a Major Climate Bill 

with Reservations on Environmental Justice


BOSTON, MA. – Today, Mass Power Forward — a coalition of over 200 environmental leaders, community organizations, clean energy businesses, and more — reacted to the Massachusetts Senate’s climate bill. The more than 90-page bill was released last week, but tabled multiple times by Republicans as debate went back and forth on gas transition.


“Mass Power Forward firmly stands on the side of justice, justice for communities of color, low-income communities and workers as we transition to 100% renewable and electric energy,” said Claire Karl Müller from UU Mass Action and Mass Power Forward, “This bill has big important pieces for our transition off gas, and we call on the House to bring more elements of environmental justice and worker transition.”


A large part of the now passed bill is about the transition of gas. It requires gas companies to plan an orderly decommissioning of the existing gas pipeline system and encourages the development of alternative, non-climate pollution-producing energy, particularly networked geothermal energy. Meanwhile, Speaker Mariano has been warning that the House may not do a climate bill at all.


“As heat waves roil the country, the need for bold, strong climate action is clear. This must accompany justice for our communities and justice for workers. Our Representatives must prioritize ratepayers and the environment by fast-tracking a comprehensive, just climate bill in this last month of session,” said Jess Nahigian, State Political Director of Sierra Club Massachusetts.


“The Senate has listened to their constituents and acted on dismantling the gas system, but failed us on key environmental justice issues,” said Dan Zackin from 350 Mass. “We urge the House to pick up the baton and match the Senate with a major climate bill. Anything less than major action is unacceptable. As legislators frequently cite in their rhetoric, the climate crisis is here. We urge our Representatives to act, pass bills, and adequately fund solutions at the scale of the crisis they claim to care about. Our activists across the Commonwealth are prepared to advocate, protest, and take action until the legislature commits to climate action and justice.”


Amendments 14, 15 and 16 by Senator Gomez were withdrawn. Those amendments sought to halt the gas industry from building out their gas distribution systems at a time we should be transitioning off of gas. The Dept of Public Utilities in their 20-80-B Order in the Future of Gas asked for legislative action to help the Commonwealth achieve its 2050 emission reduction targets. 


“We are grateful to Senator Adam Gomez for championing these amendments, which would protect the EJ communities he represents from the impacts of continued gas system expansions, even as we are deeply disappointed in the Senate as a whole for failing to stand up for environmental justice,” said Naia Tenerowicz from the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition. “Now we turn to the House with our hopes that they will not fold to the interests of the fossil fuel industry, and instead take action to protect Massachusetts’ most vulnerable communities and to safeguard our climate future.”


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