On the Issues: Energy and the Environment

I support the expansion of renewable energies in Massachusetts and other measures that protect our natural environment. The State Senate has pushed for, and I have supported, real changes to plan for our future energy needs while mitigating the impacts of climate change. I’m proud to be part of an institution that has taken strong steps in this area. These measures include:

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.

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.