S.1958/H2836 is a large, comprehensive bill that tackles the climate crisis with big, structural changes across all sectors of the state economy. At our November 2nd meeting Senator Jo Comerford explained why she liked this bill. Then she told us she is more excited about a big new Senate omnibus bill, still in the writing stage, that contains many of the action items in S1958, plus more. Jo had hoped that the omnibus bill would be finished this year. After the meeting, she told me that it will not be released until sometime next year.
However, I think it is very important to write in support of this bill and remind the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy that these big, structural changes must occur- with unprecedented speed. When you read the highlights in the LWVMA testimony below, you’ll see why this bill is so important. I especially like: * The creation of a Clean Energy Workforce Development Fund for training, education and job placement. Our next meeting will focus on building efficiency. Training a clean energy workforce to retrofit old buildings and to construct highly energy efficient buildings will require state resources. * The last item in the list below is important because it will work to create some transparency in agencies like the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the Department of Public Utilities. It calls for the creation of an interagency working group to evaluate all state laws and regulations that affect energy consumption and propose changes to focus on and accelerate the transition to renewable energy. This interagency working group should include scientists who can ensure that all laws and regulations will be based on current climate science. And, hopefully, all decisions will be made public and open for public comments.
Testimony submitted to the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy In support of
S.1958/H.2836 An Act transitioning Massachusetts to 100 per cent renewable energy By Launa Zimmaro, LWVMA Climate Change and Energy Specialist
July 23, 2019
The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts supports S.1958/H.2836 this session as we did its precursors in the last session, which were sent to study.
This bill is back with even stronger support from advocacy groups and legislators in both the House and Senate, with more than double the number of co-sponsors for this session’s bill. Advocacy groups supporting 100% renewable energy goals include labor, business, health professionals, faith leaders, good government, environmental justice and environmental organizations. Twelve cities and towns in Massachusetts have already committed to 100% renewable energy goals, and many more are considering adoption. Six states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico have committed to 100% clean electricity; at least six other states are considering similar legislation (as of July 2019). The growing urgency of our situation in relation to accelerated climate change, species extinction and the enormous costs of dealing with the aftermath of monster storms and drought are driving this exponential increase in support.
Establishing 100% renewable energy by 2045 is a crucial driver of change and transition away from fossil fuels. The proposed legislation is a strong, comprehensive bill that exemplifies a holistic, systems’ view approach. Key features include:
- Updates targets for reaching 100% based on current science, i.e., reality-based;
- Incorporates a system of checks and balances through ongoing and public-facing monitoring and reporting to ensure transparency and that we are on the right track;
- Incorporates strong consideration of environmental justice issues;
- Prioritizes displaced workers, low-income and communities of color so they benefit from a transition;
- Creates a Clean Energy Workforce Development Fund for training, education and job placement, funded by savings from clean energy projects installed on state properties;
- Establishes enforceable requirements for accountability and to ensure progress;
- Promotes an “all hands on deck” culture through creation of an interagency working group to evaluate all state laws and regulations that affect energy consumption and propose changes to focus on and accelerate the transition to renewable energy.
Massachusetts is proud of its history and record as a state that embraces innovation, tough challenges and landmark environmental legislation, but we are losing our lead position. As a former member of this legislature has said regarding our first-place status in energy efficiency, “Being better than ‘bad’ is not much of an accomplishment.” The science leaves no doubt: we can and must do better. Our future depends on it. Delaying and deferring serious action only makes our situation more precarious as climate change continues, unabated, on its relentless path.
The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, representing 47 local leagues from Cape Cod to the Berkshires, asks this committee and the entire legislature to support this legislation this session and move us in the right direction as quickly and thoughtfully as possible. Please do not delay.
Thank you for your consideration.
What should I do?
Write to the chairs of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy.
Michael Barrett, Senate Chair Mike.Barrett@masenate.gov 24 Beacon St., Room 109-D, Boston, MA 02133
Thomas Golden, House Chair Thomas.Golden@mahouse.gov 24 Beacon St., Room 473B, Boston, MA 02133
As a member of the League of Women Voters, I urge you to report S1958/H2836 favorably out of committee and work to ensure passage in this session. This comprehensive bill will drive action in all sectors of our economy on a scale large enough to meet the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045. “The science leaves no doubt: we can and must do better. Our future depends on it. Delaying and deferring serious action only makes our situation more precarious as climate change continues, unabated, on its relentless path.” This comment was part of the testimony at the hearing for this bill by Launa Zimmaro, the climate change and energy specialist for the Massachusetts League of Women Voters.