Beacon Hill Hears Testimony on Energy Efficiency & Environmental Justice Bills
By Tim Cronin, Policy Associate
On Monday the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy (TUE) heard testimony on 26 bills relating to energy efficiency and environmental justice in the state of Massachusetts.
Many of the energy efficiency bills were filed for the first time this session or had few co-sponsors, making them unlikely to gain the momentum necessary to be passed out of committee. However, a handful of bills did have more co-sponsors and received support from advocacy groups, giving them increased momentum this legislative session.
Among these bills was ‘An Act relative to local energy investment and infrastructure modernization’ (H.1725), sponsored by Representative Jennifer Benson. Co-sponsored by 25 other lawmakers, the bill will enhance resiliency, reliability, and cost effectiveness in the state’s electricity grid, while improving planning for future clean local energy resources. The bill seeks to change the approach to grid planning by encouraging use of locally produced clean energy resources. The policy would also cap residential bill charges to reduce long term costs to consumers, and protect low-income residents.
Another popular bill was ‘An Act relative to the prompt decommissioning of nuclear power stations’ (H.1765/S.1837) sponsored by Representative Mathew Muratore and Senator Viriato M. deMacedo, both Republicans. The concurrent bills have 42 unique co-sponsors in total. With support from legislators on the Cape and South Shore, the bills would require the owner/operators of any existing or future nuclear reactor in the Commonwealth to pay into a post-closure trust fund until nuclear reactor decommissioning is complete. The goal of the bill is to ensure that any nuclear decommissioning will not end up being paid for by Massachusetts taxpayers.
The TUE committee is expected to decide whether to vote these two bills, or any others, out of committee early this Spring.
About the author: Tim assists in coordinating CABA’s Policy Program, and is a young professional with experience in community organizing and state politics. He is currently pursuing a B.A. in Economics at Stonehill College. Tim has previously studied Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) at Oxford University, and has interned at the State House and in local government. He currently serves as student-body president at Stonehill College where he has continued to fight for sustainable initiatives such as fossil fuel divestment, expanding the college’s solar farm, and reducing food waste. Tim is on the board of a local civic association in his hometown of Weymouth, and is the founder of the community nonprofit Green Weymouth. Tim enjoys reading The Economist, listening to podcasts, and exploring state parks in his free time.