Boston – Senate Chair of the Energy Committee Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) and environmental advocates are making headway in their campaign to put a price on carbon in Massachusetts.
Barrett — who filed a carbon pricing bill in the Legislature this session — joined his colleagues on the Senate Global Warming and Climate Change Committee to announce the release of an omnibus energy bill that includes carbon pricing. The incorporation of carbon pricing into an overall policy initiative by the Senate is a breakthrough.
Barrett tipped his hat to GWCC Committee Chair Senator Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) for pulling together the elements of the Senate’s new initiative on energy policy.
Said Barrett, “The carbon pricing language in the omnibus bill is flexible; it does not dictate terms to the Executive branch. The Governor may go with a revenue neutral carbon fee, a revenue positive carbon tax, or a cap and trade system. What is new is that the Executive branch is held to a firm schedule of deadlines — carbon pricing for the transportation sector by 2020; for commercial and industrial buildings by 2021, and for residences by 2022.”
Barrett continued, “This schedule amounts to a carbon pricing roadmap for Massachusetts. Given the staggering problem of dealing with climate change, we simply must have a precise timeline known in advance, so that everyone can plan accordingly.”
Barrett said the bill is respectful towards both the business community and individuals on low incomes, and expressed the hope that it will pass the Senate this session.
The Bay State is not alone. Recently Barrett joined Representative Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg) to announce the emergence of a multi-state coalition focused on carbon pricing and made up of lawmakers from nine states — Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The new group calls itself the Carbon Costs Coalition and proclaims as its mission the acceleration of regional momentum.