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Senators Kennedy & Eldridge Advance State Environmental Legislation

The Bill Sets Targets For Massachusetts To Use 100 Per Cent Renewable Energy by 2045
by Mary J Metzger
Groton State Senator Edward Kennedy and Senator Jamie Eldridge spoke Sunday, November 24, at the Groton [Senior] Center on environmental legislation they have filed. The event was sponsored by the Groton Democratic Town Committee.
     In his first year, Kennedy has focused on restoring funding from the Bottle Bill to the Clean Environment Fund. After the 2008 recession, the fund was directed toward other state expenditures. The funding can be used locally for wastewater projects.
     Kennedy and Eldridge are also co-sponsors of Senator Marc Pacheco’s comprehensive climate change bill which legislators hope to pass by January 31. “If we’re really serious about combatting climate change we need to be bold,” said Eldridge who has filed 11 pieces of environmental legislation this session.
     The bills [S.1958/H.283] set targets for Massachusetts to use 100 per cent renewable energy by 2045. Some proposed solar energy bills would mandate that all new building accommodate solar panels, and find reimbursement for all communities and households, not just single-family homes.
     Eldridge said he has gotten a lot of pushback from the fossil fuel industries, and thinks the Baker Administration is not holding the utilities accountable for methane gas leaks which contribute to global warming.
     “Governor Baker has placed fossil fuel executives in charge of the DPU (Department of Public Utilities) and DOER (Department of Energy Resources).”
     “We are going to need millions to deal with PFAS, a new contaminant that is measured in parts per trillion.”
     Eldridge’s Plastic Bag Ban passed the State Senate last week and will need to be approved by the House and Governor. “Though 120 communities in Massachusetts have already passed some form of a plastic bag ban, we need a uniform policy for the whole Commonwealth.”
     Eldridge has also proposed increasing the state match for the Communities Preservation act that will allow municipalities to purchase land intended for rail trails. He cited several rail trail projects in the works, including one from Acton to West Concord that will cross Route 2 with a bridge.
     Eldridge acknowledged Groton’s proud history of protecting land and water. With bills S.459/H.732 he has proposed a “no net loss” of protected land in the Commonwealth. Municipalities would be required to mitigate for any other use of protected land. Other filed bills would provide more funding for water infrastructure for both water withdrawal and storm water issues, and contaminant clean-up.
     Michelle Collette lauded Senator Kennedy’s efforts before the spring 2019 Groton Town Meeting to shepherd the needed legislation to allow for a land swap drainage solution for flooding at Olivia Way on the Groton/ Pepperell town line.
     Kennedy has also worked on proposing a mattress recycling project that has been very successful in keeping tons of materials out of landfills in California, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, and food labeling clarifications which can prevent food waste.
     The event also featured an exercise in Ranked Choice Voting as attendees could choose their favorite offered dessert.
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