Please support these clean energy amendments

Thanks for writing with suggestions about possible amendments for the energy bill, Senate 2372.

The bill is already a very strong renewable energy bill. And I’m definitely OK with adding prohibitions gas pipeline subsidies and with adding incentives for gas companies to fix leaks.

I’m not so sure about some of the other amendments.

I view climate change as an urgent and central challenge of our time. I have been working for years to strengthen our response to climate change. You can browse posts about my work on carbon and climate at this link.

Many have written commending the current Senate bill for the steps it takes to reduce carbon emissions, but asking for amendments to make it “EVEN BETTER”. I’m not sure that is a good idea. If we attempt to convert this solid renewable energy bill into an omnibus climate bill — by adding issues like air pollution control, climate adaptation, fuel content tracking, electric vehicles, solar net metering and carbon pricing — it may backfire. There are only a few working weeks left in the legislative session and my instincts say that this is not the time to try to broaden the scope of the conversation.

At this time of the year, we should narrow the scope and focus on the most important things that we can reasonably expect to get done. Adding more moving parts into the negotiation can be counter-productive. You may see me vote against some of these amendments, not because I oppose them substantively, but just because I don’t feel that we should put the Senate’s energy chair in the position of being obliged to attempt to negotiate with the House about issues the House is not prepared to negotiate about.

The Senate’s energy chair, Ben Downing, is someone who fully appreciates the gravity of climate change as an issue and, in considering amendments to the bill, I will be heavily guided by his sense as to the appropriate scope for negotiation.

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Will Brownsberger
State Senator
2d Suffolk and Middlesex District