Legislative Agenda 2017-2018

The Mass Power Forward coalition is pleased to announce our 2018 legislative priorities.

Our progress to date should be celebrated, but it’s clear that we cannot rest on our laurels. In 2017, Massachusetts needs to be bolder than ever on climate and energy policy. We are still falling behind states like HI, NY and CA that have committed to at least 50% clean energy by 2030 and taken steps toward 100% renewable power. At the national level, we’re facing an unprecedented attack on critical laws that protect our climate and environment, making leadership at the state level more vital than ever.

As a coalition, we are calling for bold and historic commitments to clean energy over the coming legislative session. At the same time, we need to make sure that we continue to reduce our use of fossil fuels and support communities in the transition from dirty energy and towards clean power.

Top Priorities

Accelerating Renewable Energy

Mass Power Forward supports achieving at least 50% clean energy by 2030. To do so, we must accelerate the Renewable Portfolio Standard by at least 3% each year, driving demand for renewable power and growing our local clean energy industries. Achieving at least 50% clean energy by 2030 will put us on a strong path toward 100% Renewable Energy, economywide. Read a fact sheet on the Renewable Portfolio Standard here.

We also support eliminating the solar net metering caps and incorporating municipal light plants into the state’s clean energy goals.

 

Energy and Environmental Justice

Solar Access for All:  Mass Power Forward urges the legislature to ensure all communities can benefit from solar energy. This legislation ensures fair compensation to low-income solar and to community shared solar net metering with a minimum threshold of low-moderate income customers, incentivizes projects that expand access to communities facing barriers, and directs the Department of Energy Resources to address barriers like income, housing type and language in their program design. Read a fact sheet on the solar for all bill here

 

Environmental Justice (EJ): EJ is based on the principle that all people have a right to be protected from environmental pollution and to live in and enjoy a clean and healthful environment. EJ is the equal protection and meaningful involvement of all people with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws. We support codifying environmental justice definitions and protections into law as this law would do, and altering the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act to incorporate environmental justice concerns into its reviews. Read a fact sheet on the Environmental Justice Act.

 

Reforming the Department of Public Utilities and Ramping Down on Fossil Fuels

We cheered the August ruling by the MA SJC that pipeline taxes are illegal, but we know the fight against new gas pipelines is not over. We support bills by Rep. Kulik and Senator Eldridge to ensure the public’s ability to intervene at the DPU and hold local distribution gas contracts to high standards regarding the capacity they are allowed to buy. We also support legislation filed by Sen. Jehlen and Rep. Gordon to ensure that electric and gas consumers can never be forced to subsidize new interstate gas pipelines. Read a fact sheet on gas pipelines and the DPU reform bill here.

 

Acting on Climate Change - and Planning For It

Massachusetts became a leader in climate action in 2008 when it set binding emissions reductions targeting 2020 and 2050. Yet our Commonwealth does not have – and desperately needs – a comprehensive and detailed plan to achieve the 2050 emissions reductions required by our nation-leading climate law, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 (GWSA). Without such a plan, and supporting data and analysis, we cannot ensure that our actions today (currently aimed at 2020) are putting us on the most effective and lowest-cost path to achieving our 2050 goals. We are in – and need to break – a cycle of myopic, near-term planning lurching forward either under the threat of litigation or periodic legislative command. We do not have – and absolutely need – iterative, win-win regulatory and investment strategies for deeply decarbonizing our complete energy system (buildings, transportation, electricity, industry) by 2050 while simultaneously ensuring the health and vibrancy of the Commonwealth’s economy. Read a fact sheet on the Global Warming Solutions Implementation Act here.

  • H2149/S479  - Global Warming Solutions Implementation Act - Rep. Smizik / Sen. Pacheco

 

Other Supported Policies and Legislation:

 

  1. Carbon Pricing: Mass Power Forward supports pricing carbon emissions to reflect the cost to society from climate and public health damages, and the coalition will prioritize equitable investment and rebate programs that protect consumers and encourage communities to thrive regardless of income, geography, density or dependency on transportation.

  2. Modernize the Electric Grid, H1725/S1875, Rep. Benson/Sen. Pacheco - Mass Power Forward supports policies that modernize our electric grid, prioritize local clean energy over expensive transmission, & protect consumers.

  3. Community Empowerment: H1745/S1834, Rep. Haddad/Sen. Cyr - Enables municipalities to contract directly with renewable energy projects. Bill endorsed by former Chair of Department of Public Utilities.

  4. 100% Renewable Energy ActH3395/S1849 - Reps. Garballey, Decker and Sen. Eldridge