Plan to expand hangar space for private jets at Hanscom sparks concerns about a surge in climate pollution

Boston Globe

“If the [hangar] project goes forward as the developers envision, we fear Massport’s sustainability efforts elsewhere will net out to very little in the way of reduced emissions, and possibly to nothing at all,” wrote Barrett, whose letter was co-signed by more than 30 other local residents and officials. “Pollution attributable to traffic at the new Hanscom hangars threatens to cancel out all the gains.”

Barrett urged Massport officials to reimagine the proposal and require all new hangers to house fossil fuel-free aircraft, such as the 75 electric airplanes that Cape Air ordered last year from a Washington company called Eviation.

“We urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to ensure that Massachusetts does not enable super-emitters,” he wrote.

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House leaders pushing majority rule in joint committees

CommonWealth Magazine

Sen. Michael Barrett of Lexington, the Senate chair of the committee, said the senators won’t return to meeting with their House counterparts until the House members agree to rules recognizing parity between the two branches.

That means the House and Senate chairs have to agree jointly on which bills will be heard at hearings and which bills will get acted on in executive sessions. Without parity, Barrett said, the Senate will lose leverage and House members will prevail most of the time because House members on the committee outnumber Senate members by almost a 2-1 margin.

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Mike Barrett: Climate goals may take longer, but we’ll get there

MIT News

Barrett, who is senate chair of the state’s Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy, spoke on the topic of “Decarbonizing Massachusetts” at MIT’s Wong Auditorium as part of the Institute’s celebration of Earth Week. The event was accompanied by a poster session highlighting some of the work of MIT students and faculty aimed at tackling aspects of the climate issue.

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State lawmakers to debate new safety watchdog for MBTA

Boston Herald

Moving safety oversight of the MBTA out of the Department of Public Utilities should be an immediate priority, says one Massachusetts lawmaker, who is pushing to create an independent commission that would take over this watchdog role.

A bill establishing this new agency, filed by state Sen. Michael Barrett, will be considered at a Monday Joint Committee on Transportation hearing, the first step in what he hopes will be a successful legislative push.

“I don’t think the federal government will permit us to rest with the status quo,” Barrett said. “We’ve got to do something. The T is not getting any safer. I think it’s high time we acted.”

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Maine jury rules clean energy transmission line from Canada to New England can proceed

Boston Globe

Massachusetts state Senator Michael J. Barrett, who has worked on renewable energy issues, said the verdict ”couldn’t come at a better time,” especially in light of delays in the state’s efforts to create offshore wind farms near Martha’s Vineyard.

While the timeline on the project is uncertain, Barrett said that with the court decision, “It’s good to know that clean hydro from Quebec is likely headed our way.”

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Waltham paid $17.4m for historic farmland. Now the city is placing a longtime community farm at risk, advocates say.

Boston Globe

The city’s process has left Daley, and supporters such as state Senator Michael Barrett, expressing a mix of anger, frustration — and even bafflement — that Waltham’s purchase of farmland could end up harming the farm itself.

“In Waltham, you have a standout nonprofit agricultural operation that could simply collapse if you drive away the human network that has developed around the farm in the last three decades,” said Barrett, who worked on the deal. “There has to be a better way.”


Legislator of the Year

Appreciated being named Legislator of the Year by The Arc of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council. Last year, with the help of tireless proponents, we achieved a number of wins, including my proposal to create a first-of-its kind commission to study the history of state institutions for those with disabilities. After the awards event, advocates fanned out around the State House to talk to legislators. There’s more work to do.

Sen. Barrett accepts Legislator of the Year award

Healey’s First Budget Themes: Spending Increases, Tax Relief


Sen. Michael Barrett, who co-chairs the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, said Healey’s fiscal 2024 budget proposal is “the best executive branch budget I’ve ever seen” and is “a leap over anything a governor has proposed before.”

“Making inroads against global warming is a massive job, and here’s a budget that takes up the nitty-gritty, the nuts and bolts,” the Lexington Democrat said. “It calls for training more people because we’re short on everybody from HVAC techs to solar installers to electricians to electrical engineers. It puts the Mass Clean Energy Center on a stable financial footing for the first time ever. It commits to protecting water supplies because PFAS are a major threat. It bumps up funding for DCR and the state parks, which are starved for attention. All of which takes money, so, yes, this budget asks for money.”


Healey files a ‘unicorn’ of a state budget

BRUCE MOHL, Commonwealth Journal

The budget also calls for the hiring of 28 full-time environmental justice employees across the various agencies within the executive office and the establishment of a environmental training program for governmental and nongovernmental agencies.

Sen. Michael Barrett of Lexington, the co-chair of the legislative committee dealing with energy and climate change issues, hailed the focus on the environment and climate. “For efforts in this area, this is the best executive branch budget I’ve ever seen. It’s a leap over anything a governor has proposed before,” Barrett said.