03/10/2017

Energy and Environment

An Act relative to protecting consumers of gas and electricity from paying for leaked and unaccounted for gas – S.1845

Right now, utilities charge ratepayers for the cost of leaked gas. This bill prohibits utilities from charging ratepayers for the cost of lost and unaccounted for gas. The bill would encourage more efficient repairs of natural gas leaks and prevent the excessive release of methane into the atmosphere, all while reducing the financial burden on ratepayers.

An Act reducing plastic bag pollution ­– S.424

This bill creates a uniform, statewide ban on single use plastic bags in stores that are 3,000 feet or larger, or have 3 or more locations. The bill has a one year phase-in for cities and towns without an existing ban, and allows stores to sell recycled paper bags or reusable grocery bags after the plastic bag ban is in place.

 

An Act relative to solar power and the green economy – S. 1846

This bill establishes a Commonwealth Solar program to continue the development of solar photovoltaic technology throughout all sectors of the Commonwealth through an acceleration of the renewable portfolio standard and elimination of the net metering caps for all technologies. Additionally, the measure establishes a statewide solar target of 25% by 2030.

An Act relative to low income solar – S.1848

This bill addresses many of the equity and access issues which currently exist in the state’s solar policy by allowing publicly-assisted housing and its residents to receive “Retail” reimbursement rate for solar net metering, creating easier access to solar savings for tenants via administrative changes and simplifications, exempting publicly-assisted solar projects from net metering caps, and exempting publicly-assisted housing and low income ratepayers from utility-imposed minimum bills.

An act clarifying authority and responsibilities of the Department of Public Utilities – S.1847

This bill would enhance the review of pipeline capacity contracts and address other needed reforms identified over the course of previous and ongoing proceedings related to gas infrastructure projects.  This bill would codify the SJC’s ruling prohibiting electric ratepayer financing of gas pipelines; ensure the public’s ability to intervene at the DPU; protect ratepayers against self-dealing by energy conglomerates; enhance protections for landowners and conservation areas; and hold gas utilities to high standards regarding the capacity they are allowed to contract for.

An Act transitioning Massachusetts to 100 percent renewable energy – S.1849

This bill requires the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to set binding targets for renewable energy growth in all major sectors of the economy, and issue regulations to ensure that Massachusetts stays on track towards 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

An Act relative to drought management – S.425

This bill establishes the existing Drought Management Task Force in statute and empowers the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs to order restrictions on outdoor water use in times of drought based on Task Force recommendations. Agriculture is exempted.

An Act promoting zero-emission vehicles – S.1915

This bill codifies the MOR-EV rebate program and creates a rebate program for electric vehicle charging stations. The bill includes additional provisions which will make ZEV adoption easier and catalyze the expansion of ZEV charging infrastructure.

An Act protecting the natural resources of the commonwealth – S.419

This bill clarifies the process used to evaluate proposals for the Commonwealth and/or municipalities to take parcels of land out of conservation protected status (so-called Article 97 land) in order for them to be used for other purposes.  It ensures “no net loss” or mitigation when protected land is released.

An Act increasing recycling by landlords and tenants – S.1128

This bill would 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 further promoting energy efficiency and green jobs – S.1843

This bill aims to extend parts of the Green Communities Act by providing cost-effective oil heat efficiency programs paid for by a 2.5 cent assessment on each gallon of heating oil sold in the state. This bill would help provide efficient oil heat programs at a low cost, reaching those who are currently underserved in our districts and lacking access to important energy efficiency services.

An Act promoting the use of total energy impact analysis – S.1698

This bill requires the state to conduct and consider a life-cycle energy analysis for the construction of new state buildings or substantial renovations to existing state facilities.

An Act relative to underground storage tank remediation – S.422

This bill allows persons who are victim to a gasoline spill to submit reimbursement claims for property damage to the state underground storage tank fund without a final court judgment.

An Act requiring producer responsibility for collection, reuse and recycling of discarded electronic products – S.421

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 end-of-life products. The 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 environmental justice and toxics reduction in the commonwealth – S.426

This bill better defines “Environmental Justice” and “Environmental Justice Populations” to protect all people from pollution and environmental discrimination. The bill establishes an Environmental Justice Advisory Council to make recommendations to the Governor and Secretariats on critical issues and needs of environmental justice populations.

An Act relative to streamflow standards – S.420

This bill ensures adequate water in our rivers and streams for people and wildlife by amending the Water Management Act to develop science-based stream-flow standards that will ensure adequate water flow and water levels vital for the protection and propagation of fish, other species and aquatic habitat while meeting water needs for public health and safety.