Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Comprehensive State Energy Plan

To help combat and mitigate the impacts of climate change, the Senate has now adopted legislation, S.2545, An Act To Promote A Clean Energy Future, which will produce measurable benefits in the health of our environment and residents.

Several of the amendments that I sponsored where adopted by the Senate including one that will generate, every three years, a comprehensive energy plan that would be based upon reasonable projections of our state’s energy demands for electricity. By better understanding what our state’s energy consumption has been, and likely will be in the future, we can be better informed as we make decisions that are good for the environment and that are cost effective.

I have advocated for this commonsense assessment tool for several years and I was pleased that Governor Charlie Baker included it as a key component of his Executive Order - Number 569, Establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth. My amendment was added to the final Senate bill with the support of my Senate colleagues. By periodically publishing a comprehensive energy plan, which will include reasonable projections of the Commonwealth’s energy demands for electricity, transportation, and building heat and air condition, we will help guide our strategies to meet our planned energy efficiency and conservation goals.


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Friday, June 15, 2018

MONTIGNY AND TARR SECURE BIPARTISAN PROTECTIONS FOR COMMERCIAL FISHING

Boston- Yesterday, Senate Assistant Majority Leader and Rules Committee Chairman Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford) and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R- Gloucester) secured bipartisan legislation to ensure protections for commercial fishing interests prior to any future increased offshore wind procurement.

Their amendment to an Act To Promote a Clean Energy Future, will require commercial fisheries impacts to be studied and considered prior to any increased offshore wind procurement.

“The pursuit of offshore wind generation holds tremendous potential for providing our state with clean and renewable energy, Said Senator Tarr. “But, that pursuit need not, and should not, ignore the concerns and interests of a commercial fishing industry that has been critically important to the Massachusetts economy since its first days.”

In 2016, the legislature directed the procurement of 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind by 2027. Earlier this month, the Baker Administration announced the first round selection of 800 megawatts of offshore wind development south of Martha’s Vineyard. Throughout the process, commercial fishermen have raised concerns regarding offshore wind’s effect on navigation and fisheries habitat. While federal guidelines require input from the fishing industry for offshore wind development, thus far fishermen have raised concerns that those federal guidelines lack specifics. Efforts are now underway through the Massachusetts Fisheries Working Group to build consensus and a detailed study plan.

In the meantime, Montigny and Tarr's work will require the Commonwealth to identify and consider offshore wind effects on commercial fisheries prior to any procurement beyond 1,600 megawatts. It further stipulates that any plan to increase procurement must also identify measures to mitigate fisheries impacts. Montigny filed the amendment, entitled Offshore Wind Effects on Commercial Fishing, to the omnibus energy bill S2545.


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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Good Morning & Happy Flag Day

Before each Senate session, members, & others, recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. We will respectfully do that this morning prior to debating bills including: S2545 Clean Energy Future and S2456 Wage Theft.

Visit MaLegislaure.gov for information about the bills, to read the amendments offered, and to watch our session webcast live.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Gloucester Harbor & Annisquam River Nets $6 Million Dredging Grant

After a strong collaborative effort from Gloucester, state, and federal officials, we can share the news that the initiative will be awarded $6 Million in funding through the Army Corps’ Army Civil Works Plan.

Dredging the Annisquam River is critical for our economy, public safety, our quality of life, and the preservation of this incomparable natural resource. Steadily increasing accretion continues to reduce the navigability of the channel, and that demands remediation as soon as possible. Getting it done requires collaboration, focus, and persistence. Our partnerships at the state, federal and local levels has driven our progress to finally get approval for this project. Here is the press release announcing the success:

Today, Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA), and United States Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), announced that the Army Corps’ 2018 Work Plan includes a $6 million federal grant for the Gloucester Harbor/Annisquam River dredging project. Moulton, Markey, and Warren have been advocating for this funding for over three years.

“Dredging the Annisquam River is a public safety priority,” said Moulton. “By making the channel more navigable, we will ensure that boaters can safely travel up and down the river. Dredging the river will also have a positive impact on commercial and recreational activities critical to Gloucester’s economic development efforts. I am grateful to our local and state leaders, who helped move this forward, and pleased to see that the Army Corps has listened to us and funded this project."”

“If we do not maintain Massachusetts’s rivers, channels, and harbors, we hitch an anchor to our economy,” said Markey. “I am proud that this federal funding will help improve the commerce, recreation, and safety of Gloucester, the harbor, and the Annisquam River. I thank Representative Moulton and Senator Warren for their partnership on this crucial project.”

“This new federal funding is wonderful news for Gloucester, the North Shore, and the Commonwealth,” said Senator Warren. “This dredging project will not only make the Annisquam River safer and more navigable, but will also help support the local economy. I was glad to partner with Senator Markey and Congressman Moulton secure this critical funding and I applaud the Army Corps for including it in their Work Plan.”

“I would like to start out by saying thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to make this happen. It has been a combined effort from so many federal, state and local partners, departments and elected officials,” said TJ Ciarametaro Jr., Gloucester Harbormaster. “This truly is very exciting news, for not only the City of Gloucester but for the tens of thousands of boaters and professional mariners that navigate the Annisquam river every year. Over the last couple of years, the Annisquam River has become almost impassable during certain tides making it especially challenging for first responders to safely navigate in rescue situations, so from a safety point this is huge for us. We as a whole are looking forward to the dredging commencement and look forward to working with all the partners involved to ensure successful completion of this long awaited project”.

To better understand the significance of this project, and the awarding of funds, read the letter to the Army Corps from me, Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante​, and Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken​.





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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Clean Energy Future Bill Set For Senate Debate

Senator’s will soon be debating and voting on a major legislative initiative in the area of energy efficiency, energy emission reductions, expansion of renewable energy sources, and a lifting of the net metering cap.

Senate Bill 2545, An Act To Promote A Clean Energy Future, is scheduled for our Thursday session. You can read the bill at this link: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/S2545

Here is a summary of some of the major elements of the bill:
• Changes our state’s Global Warming Solutions Act to require the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs to adopt statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits for the years 2030 and 2040 and a plan to achieve those reductions.
• Requires the 2030 emissions limit to be between 35% and 45% below the 1990 emissions level and requires the 2040 emissions limit to be between 55% and 65% below the 1990 emissions level.
• Requires the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs to promulgate regulations establishing market-based compliance mechanisms to maximize the ability of the Commonwealth to achieve its greenhouse gas emission limits for: (i) the transportation sector; (ii) the commercial and industrial building sectors; and (iii) the residential building sector.
• Clarifies that municipal electric departments and municipal light boards are subject to the provisions of the Global Warming Solutions Act, but allows the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs to exempt them if it will not negatively impact the state’s ability to achieve its greenhouse gas emissions limits.
• Increases the percentage of Class I renewable energy that must be purchased by retail electric suppliers under the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard from an additional 1% annually to an additional 3% annually.
• Requires the Department of Energy Resources to establish an energy storage system target program for the deployment of energy storage systems by distribution company customers, distribution companies and municipal lighting plants to achieve a statewide energy storage deployment target of 2,000 mega-watts by January 1, 2025.
• Directs the Department of Energy Resources to promulgate regulations to allow a distribution company or municipal light company to reach its energy storage deployment target by making an alternative compliance payment.
• Removes the net metering cap for non-governmental solar net metering facilities.
• Clarifies that a distribution company may not assess a demand charge on a Class I net metering facility unless it is a charge based on demand during a pre-determined portion of the hours of a day defined as peak hours of system demand and the distribution company informs all customers of the manner in which any such demand charges will be assessed.
• Clarifies that that a distribution company may assess such a demand charge only in instances in which metering functionality or technology is available to the customer, at a reasonable cost, to allow the customer near real time access to electricity usage data.
• Allows the Department of Energy Resources to recommend offshore wind energy generation solicitations and procurement of up to 5,000 megawatts of aggregate nameplate capacity by December 31, 2035.
• Allows the Department of Energy Resources to recommend solicitations and procurement for more than 9,450,000 megawatts-hours of clean energy generation.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety, Is Now Adopted By The House.

At the start of the session I filed a bill: Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety II, or PAWSII. I am very happy to report that the House adopted a version of the bill today.  

 The 'Puppy Doe' animal torture case inspired strong legislative action designed to increase protections for animals and prevent animal cruelty and neglect. I filed PAWS II to builds on the foundations of our original PAWS law. It will ensure that abuse is reported and enforced and that our animal control laws reflect the seriousness of animal torture and abuse.

Over the years, we have worked with a tremendous coalition of animal protection organizations and very individuals and lawmakers who understand the importance of enhancing humane treatment of animals. I thank the House members for their support.

The Senate has already adopted the bill which is now on a path to reach the Governor's desk after a conference committee.

#PAWS #PuppyDoe #PAWSII





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$10 Summer Weekend Commuter Rail Fares

The T has announced a special $10 summer weekend fare, valid for unlimited travel through all zones on Saturdays and Sundays, beginning June 9, 2018. This initiative is designed to attract weekend ridership and get you to great places on the North Shore.

This pilot program will be offered every weekend through September 2, 2018 - the $10 weekend fare will be valid for all Commuter Rail zones from the first scheduled Saturday trip through the last scheduled Sunday trip.

The $10 fare will be available on mTicket, onboard trains, and at ticket windows at North, South, and Back Bay Stations. The special fare applies to customers age 12 and above; paying adults can bring two children under 12 for free.

During the summer pilot, MBTA staff hope to learn more about weekend Commuter Rail ridership demand, receive customer feedback, and evaluate the pilot's impact on overall ridership and revenue balance through data collected from mTicket and retail windows. You are encouraged to email comments and inquiries about the special fare pilot at weekendpass@mbta.com.

With the exception of the CapeFlyer, operated through a partnership with the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, and special event trains, this pilot applies to all MBTA Commuter Rail services.




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