Compressor Station, Pipeline, and Natural Gas
Massachusetts is, in many respects, a national leader in innovative technology. As we look to meet tomorrow’s energy demands, we should continue this record, and truly begin to diversify our energy portfolio. With this in mind, I have resisted calls for the expanded use of natural gas, which would only continue our dependence on carbon-emitting fuels.
The State Senate has taken votes to ban natural gas “fracking,” to prohibit the so-called “pipeline tax” that lets companies finance new pipeline projects by charging higher rates to existing customers, and to prohibit the construction of new gas compressor stations on protected public waterfront. I have supported all of these policies, and have submitted comments (read the letter) to federal regulators and worked with our federal delegation to gain their support (read the letter) in protecting our communities from pipeline expansion projects.
I will continue to stand by FRRACS (Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station) and other members of the community as we push back on the proposed compressor station in the Fore River basin. I have joined colleagues at the State House in telling Governor Baker that this project possesses too great of risks to the environment and safety of residents in the Fore River Basin.
Climate Change Preparedness
Representing a district with a large coastline, the last several significant storm events have shown we need to do more to help our communities prepare for the future. I will continue to support our cities and towns as they plan for rising sea levels and other climate change effects moving forward.
Last session, we passed legislation authorizing almost $2.5 billion in capital investments for climate adaptation and environmental and natural resource protection. Funding from this bill includes local grants for municipal vulnerability preparedness programs, dam and seawall improvements, flood control projects, and other state hazard mitigation programs. Additionally, the legislation requires the creation and implementation of a statewide climate adaptation plan to coordinate and strengthen resiliency efforts throughout different state agencies and municipalities.
Offshore Wind and Other Renewables
I supported a Senate bill that called for at least 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030 and increased capacity for other clean energy sources as well. The Senate’s bill was more aggressive in this regard than the companion House bill, which had only called for 1,200 megawatts of offshore wind capacity. In final negotiation this figure became 1,600 megawatts by 2027 – less than hoped for by the Senate but nonetheless a strong step forward.
Both chambers also passed a bill to raise the cap on solar net metering projects, a move that allows more solar projects to be developed immediately. In this instance, I supported the more aggressive proposals, passed by the Senate, which would have allowed for a greater number of projects, and would have provided for stronger rates paid to those who generate solar energy.