Beacon Hill Roundup

In This Issue:

Action You Can Take This Week

Capitol Hill Updates

Beacon Hill Updates

Climate Change & Energy News

News from Shaping the Future

Programs, Events & Workshops

Quotation of the Week

The United States really needs to find new places to prospect for oil, not for today, but for the future.

- Robert Dillon, consultant and former aide to Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AL); Bloomberg News; December 20, 2017

Poll of the Week

Clean energy jobs are on the rise! The clean energy industry added over 4,000 new jobs in 2017, which marks an 81% increase since 2010. Based on an annual survey from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, clean energy jobs grew at a rate of 4% last year - more than double the 1.5% rate of increase in overall employment statewide. See the survey results. See the survey results.

Mass Audubon Advocacy

Jack Clarke, Director of Public Policy & Government Relations
Karen Heymann, Legislative Director
Christina Wiseman, Advocacy Associate
Heidi Ricci, Assistant Director of Advocacy
Stefanie Covino, Coordinator, Shaping the Future of Your Community
Dan Brown, Climate Change Education and Outreach Coordinator


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The Beacon Hill Weekly Roundup tracks the legislative priorities of Mass Audubon, focusing on the protection of the nature of Massachusetts.

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January 8, 2018


Action You Can Take This Week: Migratory Birds at Risk Again

  Snowy owl USFWS

Last month, the US Department of the Interior made a decision to cripple the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), effectively removing a measure that held the energy industry responsible for bird deaths resulting from their activities. The MBTA makes it illegal to hunt, trap, kill, or possess nearly 1,000 avian species. When birds die through activities like energy extraction, the MBTA holds companies accountable and, by extension, gives them a strong incentive to avoid such impacts in the first place.

Mass Audubon will be reaching out to the Trump Administration in opposition to this change, and you can too. Learn more.

Capitol Hill Updates

A Year of Trump: The Good and the Bad
In his latest Op Ed, Mass Audubon’s Jack Clarke looks at the ups and downs of President Trump’s first year in office from an environmental perspective. Read it here.

MA Senators Weigh In on Pipeline Testing
Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey reached out to federal regulators last week on the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.'s improper release of wastewater in Agawam, which occurred while conducting testing on the Connecticut Expansion Project. The discharge of 16,500 gallons of "hazardous wastewater" from pipeline testing reportedly contained heavy metals and carcinogenic chemicals. Learn more.

Beacon Hill Updates  

  snow 2018
Blizzard Highlights Climate Change Preparedness Needs

The “bomb cyclone” of a blizzard we experienced last week wasn’t just an excuse to hunker down with hot cocoa; it was also a reminder of how imperative it is that Massachusetts start adapting today to climate change impacts. As noted in this Boston Globe article, which includes input from Mass Audubon’s Jack Clarke, the flooding that occurred in Boston’s coastal neighborhoods and seeped into the city is further evidence that waterfront development must take rising seas and more extreme storms into account. This Cape Cod Times article also explores the issue of increased coastal flooding, and highlights our proposed adaptation legislation.

New Report Highlights Renewables
The Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) was one of the first programs in the country to require a certain percentage of the state's electricity to come from renewable energy. A new report details the environmental and economic impact of the current RPS, and examines the effect an increase to the RPS would have in New England. Mass Audubon has supported an RPS increase in the past.

State Awards Wildlife Habitat Management Grants
Several Mass Audubon sanctuaries were awarded grants through the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s Habitat Management Grant Program. The Program’s mission is to provide financial assistance to landowners of conserved properties to improve and manage habitat for wildlife. Mass Audubon sites receiving funds through the program this year include Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield, Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharon, and the Richardson Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Tolland. Learn more.

Growing Green Communities
68 percent of Massachusetts residents now live in a Green Community, with 25 cities and towns newly designated last month. To date, the Department of Energy Resources has designated 210 Green Communities, which must commit to reducing municipal energy consumption by 20%, among other requirements, in exchange for funding for investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Mass Audubon helped pass the Green Communities Act in 2008. Learn more.

Climate Change & Energy News 

Offshore Wind Bids are In
Last week, the first bids were submitted in response to the Commonwealth’s Request for Proposals for offshore wind energy generation in compliance with the Massachusetts Energy Diversity Act of 2016. The law requires Massachusetts utilities to procure 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind and 1,200 megawatts of new hydropower, solar, wind and other renewable sources by 2027. You can see the bids from the industry proposers -  Deepwater Wind, Vineyard Wind, and Ørsted - here.

News from our Shaping the Future Program 

  MVP workshop
Mass Audubon’s Shaping the Future of Your Community program provides municipal officials and local citizens with the tools, techniques, and expertise to promote smart development and protect natural resources. See what we’ve been up to and some of the events we have coming up in our latest newsletter.

Upcoming Programs, Events, & Workshops

Climate Adaptation Forum
Models of future climate change drive international and local efforts to adapt to increased temperatures, precipitation and drought, and sea level rise. Using the models for making practical decisions, however, requires planners to make decisions that balance risk reduction goals with practicability. Attendees of this forum will hear from the Secretary and Assistant Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, and others on making risk management decisions and implementing resiliency and adaptation measures in the public and private sectors. Mass Audubon is co-sponsoring the forum, which takes place Friday, January 12, 2018 at the UMass Club in Boston. Learn more and register.

Ensuring MVP Success Webinars
Learn more about participation and best practices for the state’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program through a series of webinars hosted by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and The Nature Conservancy.

Our Shaping the Future of Your Community program will host a session on Monday, January 22, which will focus on how to review local bylaws and regulations to encourage the nature-based solutions we need to be resilient to climate change. Learn more.

Want to know more about the MVP program? Mass Audubon is a certified provider - contact Stefanie Covino for details. 

Mass Green Network Summit
Since its start in October 2015, Mass Audubon and our friends at the Mass Green Network have helped passed over 60 local laws to reduce plastic waste like single-use plastic bags and polystyrene. The Network 3rd annual summit will reflect on the lessons of the past year, share stories, and offer new resources and best practices, both for passing new regulations, and for implementing those that have been adopted. This all-day summit will take place Saturday, February 3, 2018, at Emerson College in Boston. Learn more and register.

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