The 2011-12 session included some important good news in the environmental area:
- The energy compromise provides a good foundation for a further shift towards renewable energy sources in Massachusetts.
- Improvements to and increased funding for the Community Preservation Act were included in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget.
- The Fiscal Year 2013 budget also allows the Department of Conservation and Recreation to retain a much larger share of the user fees that it generates. This should allow it to improve park operations.
In the waning days of the session, I received a number of emails like the one below — urging opposition to certain bills on environmental grounds and also urging passage of a number of other environmental bills.
As best we can determine at this time, the good news is that none of the disfavored bills passed; the bad news is that none of the favored bills passed. Because all of these bills have controversial elements in them, it is unlikely that any of them will move further during the remaining months of informal sessions — informal sessions can only pass bills with unanimous support.
Dear Senator Brownsberger,
As the current legislative session comes to a close, there are a number of important environmental bills that are yet to be decided on. Your support of these bills is crucial for their passage.
I urge you to OPPOSE these three bills:
Mass Endangered Species Act (S.1854)
Developers want to gut the state’s Endangered Species Act in order to maximize development profits. The bill would limit the authority of the MESA by taking away their ability to protect endangered species and their habitats, except in very limited circumstances. [Click here for my comments on this issue.]
Fossil Fuel Sweetheart Deal (H.4225, Sec 42″) Massachusetts ratepayers could be on the hook for subsidizing fossil fuels if a Beacon Hill insider deal is passed this session. This proposal is a significant step backwards by creating sweetheart deals for fossil fuel at the expense of consumers.
Solid Waste “Reduction” Act, H1142: Although well-intentioned and introduced in good faith, this bill would likely place the burden of waste on municipalities and taxpayers instead of the waste producers. It’s also being used by Big Business to undermine the Bottle Bill Update. A better version will be proposed next session.
I urge you to SUPPORT these:
Bottle Bill Update (Amendment to the Jobs Bill, S.2350) This would add water, sports drinks, juices, and iced teas to the existing successful nickel deposit system. It would decrease litter and increase recycling. It has already passed in the Senate and is now in “conference committee.”
Ban Plastic Checkout Bags (S2314)
Plastic bags litter our landscape, and even when properly disposed of, they blow into our waterways, parks, beaches, and streets. Many animals, mistaking them for food, ingest plastic bags, and die. The UN estimates that plastic bags kill 1 billion animals per year.
Save our Public Lands – The Public Lands Protection Act (PLPA) -H.3438
Our public parks are often threatened with development. The PLPA would provide important protection for these public lands in our communities.
This is already administrative policy, this bill just affirms it and makes it permanent. Testimony
Transition from Coal – H.2612
There’s no such thing as “clean coal,” it causes high levels of respiratory disease, mercury pollution, global warming, and environmental destruction. This bill looks to the next step, helping the remaining communities with dirty coal plants to transition to clean energy.
Three Important Bills to Protect Us and Our Children from Toxins:
Mercury has profound and permanent developmental effects on children.
The Mercury Thermostat bill H.4305 BUT ONLY WITH THE SMIZIK AMENDMENT, would help remove this toxin. * Producer Take-Back for Electronics
(“E-Waste”) S.2078- Electronics Waste is laden with toxins, which is often handled without needed precautions. This would require manufacturers to take responsibility for proper disposal. * The Safer Alternatives Bill S.2079 would require and support businesses to transition away from toxic chemicals when safer alternatives exist.
Thank you very much for your support on these important bills.