Hosted Sen. Jamie Eldridge – “Green” Initiatives

At the October 2016 Green Acton meeting, State Senator Jamie Eldridge spoke on “green” initiatives and bills pending at State House.

  • Positive steps, if underwhelming, from last session

  • In Aug., Gov. Baker signed the omnibus energy bill, which included 1,600 MW of offshore wind and 1,200MW of hydropower.

    • Eldridge’s gas leaks language was included in this law., which requires that Grade 3 (low level) gas leaks be evaluated not only for safety risk, but also, for significant environmental impact, and must be addressed.

    • Not in the bill: an increase in the RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard)

    • Not in the bill: a ban on ratepayers funding new natural gas pipelines

  • Solar net metering bill (a compromise) passed and was signed

    • Increased the cap on commercial solar, but not for community solar; helps the well off with big roofs, but not the less–well off.

    • Reimbursement rate was reduced

  • Water

    • Stopped the government from moving wastewater monitoring from EPA to DEP. DEP staff has been decimated, so moving to DEP would have been, de facto, a move to less monitoring.

  • Working on now

    • Zero emission vehicle bill. Will encourage by allowing to drive in HOV lanes and other advantages

    • Plastic bag ban. Didn’t pass, but will be back. Cities and towns are passing such bans, and the Massachusetts Grocers Association may soon prefer a statewide ban to piecemeal bans.

    • Gas leaks. Whenever the roads are ripped up for any reason, the utilities would have to go in and repair/replace old gas lines.

    • Pipeline issue. Prohibit companies from charging ratepayers for costs of new pipelines (Spectra pipeline still alive).

    • Droughts, and measures for response to future droughts.

Leave a Reply