“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.
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.
State Sen. Michael Barrett on Monday accused his House co-chair on the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy of scheduling a hearing on energy bills for later this week without his consent. “There’s a small chance this is merely a serious error,” Barrett said in a statement. “Otherwise, I regret to say, the use of my name appears to be fraudulent.”
But Barrett isn’t just peeved about one listening session. He said state Rep. Jeffrey Roy’s “unilateral act” not only violates the rule that joint committee chairs agree on hearing schedules, but also breaks with broader governing practices designed to give the Senate an equal say on panels where their members are outnumbered. And he claimed other Senate chairs “are being pressed along similar lines.”
Barrett is giving voice to what some senators have been privately griping about for months. They say House chairs pushed boilerplate rules this session that would let them leverage their chamber’s numerical advantage on joint committees by using majority votes to call hearings and move bills without senators’ consent.
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.
State Sen. Michael Barrett, sponsor of a bill that would remove transportation safety from the DPU, said his proposal would create a state agency that can solely focus on transportation.
“It’s not a matter of the people not doing their job, it’s a structural problem,” Sen. Barrett said. “Structurally, the DPU will always be distracted.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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