During the 2013-2014 session, Jamie filed the following pieces of legislation to protect our environment:
An Act protecting the natural resources of the Commonwealth
This bill clarifies and regularizes the process used to evaluate legislative proposals for the Commonwealth and/or municipalities to take parcels out of conservation protected status (so-called Article 97 lands) in order for them to be used for other purposes, either public or private. It ensures that land is transferred out of conservation protection only as a last resort and only if alternatives have been duly considered. If land is released from Article 97 protection, this bill ensures mitigation of that release, or “no net loss” of protected land in the Commonwealth. The “no net loss” bill has been filed in some form for many legislative sessions. Earlier versions of the bill have been reported favorably by the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture, and have passed in the Senate during three legislative sessions. The bill has been redrafted and refiled this session. This bill includes the following components: (1) requirement that a person or entity seeking to dispose or change the use of Article 97, except in the case of a de minimus conversion, mitigate the loss of Article 97 land by providing for replacement land and prior to filing a petition with the general court, notify the secretary of EEA land notify EEA about the proposed disposition to EEA, including an alternatives analysis; (2) requirement that the disposition of any municipal-owned Article 97 land be subject to a two-thirds town meeting vote; (3) annual reports by EEA of all Article 97 dispositions; and (4) instruction that EEA adopt, amend, or repeal regulations, as necessary to aid in the administration and enforcement of the law.
An Act promoting zero net-energy buildings in the Commonwealth
In Massachusetts, our buildings use 54% of the energy we consume. This bill will improve buildings codes in Massachusetts to reduce energy consumption from residential and commercial buildings. This bill amends section 94 of chapter 143 of the Massachusetts General Laws which establishes the authority of the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS). This bill designates the BBRS to establish definitions of residential zero net-energy buildings and commercial zero net-energy buildings. The changes would also direct the BBRS, in consultation with the Department of Energy Resources, to promulgate regulations establishing a residential zero net-energy building standard to take effect January 1, 2020 and a commercial zero net-energy building standard to take effect January 1, 2030.
An Act to require producer responsibility for collection, reuse and recycling of discarded electronic products
This bill requires producers of electronic waste (e-waste), i.e. computers, televisions and printers, to be financially responsible for the proper disposal of their products. This bill aims to vastly reduce the amount of hazardous chemicals leaching into landfills from e-waste disposal by increasing public accessibility of e-waste recycling, while also taking the financial burden of collecting and recycling e-waste products off of municipalities and placing it instead on the manufacturers.
An Act relative to plastic bag reduction
Plastic carryout bags constitute a high percentage of litter, which is unsightly, costly to clean up, and causes serious negative environmental impacts, including the ingestion and strangulation of household pets and wildlife. As these bags break down, they do not decompose, they become tiny bits of particles called microplastics, which displace food supplies in our world’s oceans. The state has a substantial interest in protecting its residents and the environment from the negative impacts of plastic carryout bags. This bill bans single-use plastic carryout bags from stores, while requiring that if store supplies carryout bags, they must be either reusable bags or recyclable paper bags.
An Act encouraging municipal recycling and composting
This bill will require cities and towns to establish recycling programs for the purpose of recycling any type of solid waste and to require residents to separate from their solid waste those recyclables and compostable waste for recycling in the manner set by the city or town.
An Act increasing recycling by landlords and tenants
This bill will encourage recycling in multi-family units by requiring the owner of any apartment building with three or more units or any condominium association consisting of three or more units to provide the means and materials necessary to allow tenants or owners in those units to recycle paper, glass containers, compost and certain common plastics as determined by the municipal recycling program.
An Act promoting the use of total energy impact analysis
This bill will require new construction or major renovation projects in state buildings to measure the energy implications of all resources. Resources such as electricity, water, transportation, materials, heating, and waste have financial and societal energy impacts. This bill will require a total life cycle energy analysis of each building, separate from the life cycle cost analysis. The purpose of this bill is to enable the state to be aware of the total energy impact of such projects and to help establish benchmarks to improve sustainability.
An Act creating a grant program for municipal and regional energy efficiency managers
This bill will authorize the green communities grant programs to finance all or a portion of the salaries of municipal or regional green community officers, who could be hired to develop, coordinate, and monitor comprehensive energy use reduction plans and provide assistance to municipal staff, elected officials, the public, businesses, schools, and community groups.
An Act relative to energy efficiency funds generated by municipal lighting plants
This bill will ensure that all monies funneled into Forward Capacity Market, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and NOx Programs from municipal lighting plants be returned to such municipal lighting plants to be used in their own energy efficiency programs.
An Act further promoting energy efficiency and green jobs
This bill will create an Oil Heat Energy Efficiency Fund paid for with a 2.5 cent assessment on each gallon of heating oil sold in the state, producing an estimated annual revenue of nearly $20 million that will in turn lower consumers’ energy bills by more than $120 million annually. This bill will enable oil heat retailers to offer broad energy efficiency solutions to their customers in tandem with electric utility programs.
An Act regulating the sale, transport, storage, and disposal of certain tires
This bill will require a new tire dealer, as part of the process of selling a tire to a customer, prohibit a customer from retaining any scrap tires that were removed from the customer’s vehicle. The customer must leave the scrap tires removed from the vehicle with the tire dealer at the tire dealer’s place of business. The tire dealer must properly dispose of the scrap tires. A tire dealer who violates this law will be subject to a civil penalty in an amount no less than $500 for each violation. A separate penalty may be imposed for each day a violation occurs. This bill will also require persons that transport scrap or used tires to be registered, bonded and maintain records and to use a manifest or other appropriate system to assure that the tires are transported to a storage site that is registered or to a facility that is permitted for that purpose. A person that violates this law is subject to a civil penalty in an amount no less than $500 for each violation. A separate penalty may be imposed for each day a violation occurs.
An Act relative to stream flow standards
This bill requires the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt regulations establishing standards for restoring and maintaining stream flow in the rivers and streams of the Commonwealth. Rivers and streams need to maintain a certain level of water flowing through them year-round to preserve the natural aquatic life in those streambeds. Massachusetts currently has over 160 “flow-impaired” rivers and streams, more than any other state in New England. There are currently no minimum stream flow standards in place to safeguard the water levels in rivers and streams necessary for sustaining healthy ecosystems, fish, and other water-dependent wildlife.
An Act relative to water meter testing fees
This bill will discourage frivolous meter reading challenges and will preserve water consumers’ rights to make responsible challenges to their bills. This bill will ensure that such a challenge is properly implemented and if the meter test was accurate, that the water utility is properly reimbursed for the test. Presently anyone can question a water meter reading by challenging the accuracy of their meter, but state law limits the water utility to a $3 maximum fee to be charged for testing water meters. The cost to the utility to remove, independently test, and reinstall a water meter is currently about $100.