Sam Payne

  • Deja Vu: Baker sends Next-Gen Roadmap S.9 Back to Legislature

    On Sunday, just one day before his deadline to sign or veto, Governor Baker sent back a letter of amendments to the Next Generation Roadmap (S.9) climate and environmental justice bill instead of signing the bill into law — ignoring calls from citizens across the state to sign the bill without weakening it. After vetoing the same bill earlier this month, Governor Baker’s continued refusal to listen to his constituents and sign this landmark bill into law is disappointing, but not surprising. 

    Yet again, Governor Baker has sided with business interests instead of Massachusetts families and communities — who overwhelmingly support ambitious climate action — by proposing amendments that would dramatically weaken the bill. Gov. Baker has made three particularly perilous changes:

    1. First, Baker’s amendments weaken the emissions reduction targets laid out in the bill —  undermining Massachusetts’s ability to hit his administration’s own stated emissions goals. Baker lowered the emissions reduction target for 2040 and proposed a “compromise” target for 2030 —  changing the 2030 goal from 50% emissions reduction to 45-50% emissions reduction. By making our targets less ambitious in the short term, Baker is trying to pass the responsibility for implementing ambitious climate policy to future administrations. We can’t let this happen — the best available science about what we need to do to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis, especially for Massachusetts’ most vulnerable populations, is clear that the bill’s original targets themselves don’t go far enough. Weakening targets that are already in existence in other countries is unconscionable. 
    2. Second, Baker’s changes weaken the bill’s net-zero stretch code, which would require that new buildings consume only as much energy as can be produced onsite through renewable resources, by taking "net-zero" out of the stretch code definition and removing the requirement that "net-zero” be defined at all.  He replaces it with vague language about "...a higher-performing municipal opt-in standard which is designed to achieve compliance with [the state’s GHG emissions goals]” which could mean anything, or (more likely) nothing.  
    3. Finally, one of the most essential sections of the bill sets ‘sublimits’ — targets for emissions reductions in six important subsectors, including transportation, electric power, and commercial and industrial heating and cooling. Because Governor Baker doesn’t want to be held accountable for putting pressure on these industries to lower their emissions, his amendments would make those sublimits “planning tools” instead of legally binding targets... meaning they would have no power or enforceability.  

    Discussing the need to reject these amendments, Legislative Director Cabell Eames said: “This bill is the floor, not the ceiling, for the transformative policy we need —  any weakening is inexcusable.”

    Nearly all of Governor Baker’s amendments are in favor of business interests at the expense of the communities he was elected to represent. However, in his desire to be perceived as a compromiser, Baker has also included a handful of amendments that would clarify and strengthen the bill. He proposed several clarifying technical amendments to help the administration implement the bill. He strengthened the environmental justice section by adding language that would bolster the environmental review process in environmental justice communities and expand the definition of environmental burdens to include climate change. To be clear, these changes are no great victory — but we’ll take what we can get when it comes to an administration that has repeatedly failed to treat climate change as a crisis. 

    We call on the legislature to accept Baker’s environmental justice and technical amendments, override everything else and expediently vote this bill into law. Climate cannot wait!


  • Press the MA legislature to pass the Next-Gen Roadmap Climate Bill (again!) by January 29th

    Governor Charlie Baker vetoed the Next-Generation Roadmap Climate Bill. Among other excuses, his reasons—and our responses—include:

    • The bill would halt new construction of affordable housing. In reality, energy efficient homes cost the same or less than those using gas, save money over time, and improve health by reducing indoor pollution. Baker’s stance is supported by the real estate lobby, but opposed by advocates for affordable housing.
    • The bill is too ambitious in seeking 50 percent reduction in climate pollution by 2030; he prefers a goal of 45 percent reduction, and less frequent monitoring of progress made. As the climate crisis intensifies, the Commonwealth’s actions need to be more aggressive, not less. 
    • He complained about the Roadmap’s new Stretch Building Codes for clean energy, even though they are featured in his own plan. 
    • The bill is weak on environmental justice. Actually, the Roadmap bill is a good start on justice issues, and environmental justice advocates are united in their support.
    • The Roadmap bill does not address climate resilience. This is accurate, but not a justification for vetoing an otherwise substantial and beneficial bill. Climate groups stand ready to work with the Governor on climate resilience funding.
    1,064 signatures

    The climate bill has already been re-filed in the legislature.

    Sign the petition to press the legislature to quickly pass the same Next-Generation Roadmap bill again, without amendments, and, if necessary, to override Governor Baker’s veto.

    Add signature

  • 350 Mass Statement on Gov Baker's Veto of the Next-Generation Roadmap Climate Bill

    We are disappointed and angered to see Governor Baker pocket veto such an overwhelmingly popular climate bill. It is unconscionable that anyone in a leadership position would punt on climate mitigation policy in the face of record-smashing heat waves and droughts here in the Commonwealth, but we are not surprised. Baker has repeatedly demonstrated his disregard for environmental science and the reality of climate change. His administration had to be court-ordered to enforce the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act’s goals. Baker pushed forward with the compressor station in Weymouth despite widespread condemnation by community residents, activists, and nearly every Massachusetts Federal representative. It is also widely known that Baker has personal assets invested in the fossil fuel industry. The climate-conscious community knows that Baker is no ally.

    With this veto, Baker has proven that he is not a leader to anyone but wealthy special interest groups. Our future is in renewable energy and efficient construction and Massachusetts is falling behind. We are squandering our ability to be a leader in the new, sustainable economy. It is not overly cynical to wonder whether Baker’s personal investments and ties to the fossil fuel and real estate industries are influential in his decision to continue to make the wrong choices for Massachusetts. We have not come to expect much from a Governor who has repeatedly failed to condemn white supremacy and grossly mishandled the ongoing COVID crisis, but we hoped that Baker would not stand in the way of this package of climate solutions that help address his own stated climate goals. 

    According to the multiple scientists and experts that produced the 2018 UN IPCC report, we are in the last decade where we still have the chance to avert a  major climate catastrophe. We need leaders who will listen to the urgency of science over the real estate lobbyists and special interest groups.

    We are in complete agreement with Baker that Massachusetts needs more affordable housing. However, Baker’s parroting of the real estate special interests’ claims that the Next-Gen Climate bill would halt all construction in Massachusetts is outlandish and disingenuous. It is far more expensive to heat homes with oil than electric heat pumps. As we have seen with the Merrimack Valley Explosion, gas is not only dangerous to communities, it is a silent public health threat. Continuing to heat homes with prehistoric options is not only reckless, it completely ignores the health and cost benefits from renewable energy. These special interests do not represent the many building industry workers who would find their opportunities strengthened by a bill updating our building standards. 

    We strongly agree with our Environmental Justice partners that the vetoing of this bill once again demonstrates a disregard for BIPOC, immigrant, and low-income communities. Climate change is already here, and it is drastically disproportionately affecting non-white and low-income communities.

    The Massachusetts community is overwhelmingly in favor of taking bold climate action. This past election cycle, Massachusetts voted to send key sponsor of the Green New Deal Ed Markey back to the Senate, and in the 19 districts where the ballot question appeared, an average of 77% of residents supported committing Massachusetts to 100% renewable energy— a goal that stretches even further than the current bill. The Next-Gen Roadmap was passed by a vote of 145 to 9 in the House, and 38 to 2 in the Senate.

    We applaud House Speaker Mariano and Senate President Spilka’s commitment to passing the Next-Generation Roadmap bill, and look forward to leadership utilizing their veto-proof majorities to ensure we do not surrender an inch to Baker’s backward complaints.


  • Next-Gen Roadmap bill reaches Baker's desk, potential pocket veto

    After years of organizing and months in committee, the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy released An Act creating a next-generation roadmap for Massachusetts climate policy, which was promptly, overwhelmingly passed through the House and Senate. We were pleasantly surprised to see the bill, based on the House’s 2050 Roadmap Bill and Senate’s Next-Generation climate bill, contains nearly every provision and amendment we put forward in our August letter, in one form or another.

    We are especially pleased to see that the Next-Generation Roadmap bill includes a strong commitment to environmental justice, an accelerated timeline, municipal flex times, increased emissions reduction requirements, and the authorization of 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind in addition to the 3,200 MW already authorized.

    There are some significant shortcomings in the bill, such as the lack of carbon pricing, “net-zero” language, 2050 timeframe, language regarding biomass, and lack of commitment to 100% renewable energy (all detailed further below). Still, we believe that it is of the utmost importance for the climate movement, the Commonwealth, and the planet that this bill is signed into law at once. The Next-Gen Roadmap bill provides a solid toolkit for carbon reduction and a baseline for us to continue to agitate for even stronger climate legislation in 2021 and beyond.

    The bill still has one last hurdle to clear before coming law— Charlie Baker must sign off on it. And since the legislature passed the bill so late, Gov. Baker has the power to pocket veto the entire bill. We must now shift our focus to Governor Charlie Baker to demand that he sign the bill into law. Baker has until the 14th to sign the bill, and if he fails to, the entire bill is scrapped and we are back at square one with nothing to show for it. Call his office today, call tomorrow, call him every spare minute you can until he signs the Next-Generation Roadmap bill into law!

    Gov. Baker’s Office number is (617) 725-4005, and you can email him using this form.

    If you are on Twitter, please tweet at Gov. Baker (@MassGovernor) and urge him to sign the bill into law unamended! Visit this document for a sample email, call script, and tweets.

    In a joint statement from the climate committee, they highlighted the important influence of activist voices and advocacy in shaping this bill:

    “This bill is a climate toolkit, assembled over the course of months, to protect our residents, and the beautiful place we call home, from the worsening of an existential crisis. Its particulars owe much to the advocacy of thousands of citizen activists in Massachusetts. To these activists, we say thank you. We heard you.”

    We were effective at lobbying the legislature, but we cannot stop there. We must bring this legislation home by pushing Baker to support this overwhelmingly popular bill.

    We are proud to have influenced this legislation and will continue to advocate for crucial climate legislative action not included in the bill, such as a commitment to 100% renewable energy, carbon pricing, banning new fossil fuel infrastructure— including biomass, and accelerating the zero-emissions timeframe. That being said, we are happy that this bill takes many of the best aspects of the precursor Senate and House bills and provides a toolkit to hit clearly defined climate goals.

    As the climate committee said in their joint statement, “The toolkit approach is not a vision statement. It is not abstract or general. It is detailed. It is concerned with the practical. It focuses relentlessly on the work of reducing greenhouse gases, creating jobs, and protecting the vulnerable. It’s about the “how’” of it, as in “Here’s how we get this done, one step at a time, starting now.”

    If you’re looking for a quick summary, here is a great WBUR article by Miriam Wasser.

    Our key takeaways (we are continuing to update this as we further analyze the language, check back later for more):

    • Accelerates the emissions reduction timeline to a >50% reduction of 1990 levels by 2030, >75% reduction by 2040, establishes 5 year goals that require Massachusetts to adapt strategies to meet regular targets.
    • Codifies environmental justice, guarantees protections for impacted communities in the state, requires an environmental impact report for projects located near designated EJ communities, and requires more meaningful public involvement with decision making processes for projects.
    • Creates a first-time greenhouse gas emissions standard for municipal lighting plants and imposes a five-year moratorium on biomass with a two year study, delaying development, although it is uncertain if this will be the end of the saga with the fight against the biomass plant near Springfield— see this twitter thread for now, more analysis to come.
    • Requires detailed monitoring and reporting so we can assess we are on track to meet our goals and hit specific deadlines.
    • Increase offshore wind authorization, add 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind in addition to the 3,200 MW already authorized bringing us to 5,600MW.
    • Adds 4 energy efficiency seats to the Board of Building Regulations & Standards, term limits, public meeting notes, responsibility to take into account energy efficiency. This gives climate activists another regulatory body to lobby for local change and hold accountable.
    • Creates a local option / net-zero stretch code, which enables towns/cities to accelerate their timelines and set more ambitious goals
    • Updates the role of the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to take emissions into account for their decision making and calculations of the social value of greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Establishes a public database of gas safety complaints
    • Establishes a solar energy grant program for nonprofits that address food insecurity and homelessness, increases EJ communities access to solar power by requiring the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to prioritize low-income communities.
    • Increases energy efficiency standards to bring us in line with California standards taking effect next year. (2022)
    • Increases the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS), requires electric utility companies to purchase at least 40% of renewable energy by 2030, increases RPS by 1% each year thereafter. This is a good start, but we should aim to be ahead of other states like California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Vermont, which all have more ambitious goals.

      Check back later for more!

      Here are the complete voting roll calls for the Mass. House and Senate:


  • answered 2020-11-12 10:10:27 -0500
    Q: Pick the local chapter (we call them nodes!) closest to you.
    A: Allston-Brighton Node

    Take Action

    You want to fight for climate justice with 350 Mass, and we want to make sure you have a role that excites you! Please take a moment to provide/update your information and share how you'd like to be involved. 

    You can view a complete map of node territories here.

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  • Get ready to start defending the election on Nov. 4

    350 Mass joins with many other organizations in calling on people to get ready to resist an illegitimate power grab with massive peaceful protests, and to insist that all votes be counted.  History teaches that responding promptly with massive peaceful protests – such as demonstrations, strikes, and other forms of nonviolent resistance - is the most effective way to resist a coup. 

    Hopefully that will not be necessary. If the results are clear enough by the end of election night to lock up a majority of the Electoral College votes, that probably would deter any coup-like activity. We may wake on November 4 knowing who our next President will be, and the results of many other important races.

    Or not. 

    President Trump has expressed a disturbing willingness to ignore the popular vote - for example, demanding that the election results be decided on election night, without waiting for all the mail-in ballots to be counted. He has repeatedly alleged that such ballots can’t be trusted. Political leaders in some battleground states have already discussed the possibility of rejecting the popular vote as too fraud-ridden to be binding, and appointing their own chosen set of electors to the Electoral College!

    So, how can you and others get ready?

    1. Save the date! Be ready to show up Nov. 4 (and possibly beyond).
    2. Take this pledge, sign this petition to Governor Baker, and ask your friends to do the same.
    3. RSVP here to the rally on Boston Common currently planned for 3:30 pm on Nov. 4, or enter your zip code and choose another event near you. (RSVP in order to get updates.)
    4. Pick a buddy – or a squad – to go with you. (More safe, more fun.)

    Want more background? Sign up for the webinar How to Beat an Election-Related Power Grab (offered nightly Oct. 25 - 30). 

    Willing to help out the Boston rally? Email David at [email protected] if you have been trained as a marshall or peacekeeper. You can register here for online marshal training this Wednesday, 10/28, 5-7 pm (for both first-timers and those with experience; will separate into breakout rooms based on experience).  And potentially useful for anyone: Nonviolent action training (basic skills for mass mobilizations; offered every night Oct. 25 – Nov. 3)

    Spread the word! Share this document or otherwise make people aware & ready. Think about a broad reach, not just to known progressives & political activists. Such peaceful protests succeed when they include the “center”, not just the left. 


  • published 2020 Ballot Questions in Campaigns 2020-10-14 16:19:19 -0400

    Renewable Energy and Transparency Ballot Questions

    In collaboration with Act On Mass, 350 Mass collected thousands of signatures to get two non-binding public policy questions on 19 and 16 districts' ballots. The first of these ballot questions address the need to set the goal of 100% renewable energy statewide by 2040.

    The full text of this ballot question reads:

    Shall the representative for this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would require Massachusetts to achieve 100% renewable energy use within the next two decades, starting immediately and making significant progress within the first five years while protecting impacted workers and businesses?

    Bills to bring MA to 100% renewable energy have been repeatedly killed in committee over the last 6 years. This is why we are also fighting for transparency in committee votes.

    The text of the transparency ballot question reads:

    Shall the representative for this district be instructed to vote in favor of changes to the Legislature's rules that would make the results of all votes in Legislative committees publicly available on the Legislature's website?

    Instituting transparency would hold lawmakers accountable to their constituents. Many other important bills have been killed behind closed doors in committee, including Election Day Registration, the Safe Communities Act, and the Healthy Youth Act.

    The renewable energy question will appear in 19 districts: 

    • Dave Rogers (24th Middlesex)
    • Kenneth Gordon (21st Middlesex)
    • Nika Elugardo (15th Suffolk)
    • Marjorie Decker (25th Middlesex)
    • Tom Golden (16th Middlesex)
    • Mike Moran (18th Suffolk)
    • Kevin Honan (17th Suffolk)
    • Ruth Balser (12th Middlesex)
    • Kay Khan (11th Middlesex)
    • Mindy Domb (3rd Hampshire)
    • Paul McMurtry (11th Norfolk)
    • Dan Carey (2nd Hampshire)
    • Robert Deleo (19th Suffolk)
    • Jonathan Hecht/Steve Owens (29th Middlesex)
    • Denise Provost/ Erika Uyterhoeven (27th Middlesex)
    • Tommy Vitolo (15th Norfolk)
    • Elizabeth Malia (11th Suffolk)
    • Ann Margaret Ferrante (5th Essex)
    • Natalie Blais (1st Franklin)

    And the transparency question will appear in 16:

    • Kenneth Gordon (21st Middlesex)
    • Nika Elugardo (15th Suffolk)
    • Mike Moran (18th Suffolk)
    • Kevin Honan (17th Suffolk)
    • Ruth Balser (12th Middlesex)
    • Kay Khan (11th Middlesex)
    • Mindy Domb (3rd Hampshire)
    • Paul McMurtry (11th Norfolk)
    • Dan Carey (2nd Hampshire)
    • Robert Deleo (19th Suffolk)
    • Jonathan Hecht/Steve Owens (29th Middlesex)
    • Denise Provost/ Erika Uyterhoeven (27th Middlesex)
    • Tommy Vitolo (15th Norfolk)
    • Elizabeth Malia (11th Suffolk)
    • Ann Margaret Ferrante (5th Essex)
    • Natalie Blais (1st Franklin)

    Many residents are unaware that these questions will appear on their ballots. Use our digital toolkit to help spread the word.

    We are targeting chair of the Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy Rep. Tom Golden's district with a door hanger literature drop campaign. Learn more about this action and join our team of volunteers to ensure the renewable energy question passes overwhelmingly in his district.

     

    We are also hosting a "What's on the Ballot?" webinar on Monday, 10/19, from 7-8:30pm. Sign up to receive the zoom link!

    This webinar will feature a panel of experts on the ballot questions concerning 100% renewable energy, transparency, and ranked-choice voting: 350 Mass' Cabell Eames and Ben Thompson, Act on Mass co-founders Matt Miller and Erika Uyterhoeven (who is also the Democratic nominee for the 27th Middlesex), and vice-chair of the Yes on 2 campaign Jim Henderson.