Baker, negotiators eye path to energy bill compromise May 5th, 2022 -- GBH

During a State House News Service event in Boston on Thursday morning, Roy and Sen. Michael Barrett, the Senate chairman of TUE, each pitched their chamber’s bill and looked ahead to how the two approaches might be reconciled. The House bill is essentially a deep dive on offshore wind policy while the Senate’s legislation is a more broad climate and energy bill that touches upon offshore wind but also deals with topics like climate resilience, solar policy and electric vehicles.

“Despite the significant difference in emphasis, there’s much that Jeff and I agree with … we’re going to have no difficulty discussing all of these things,” Barrett said. “But this is going to be hard, all kidding aside, because the Senate has views … on solar, on the relative importance of offshore wind, on how to approach transmission … so this isn’t going to be a simple matter of everything the Senate wants to do on electric vehicles being traded for an important offshore wind piece and everything we hope to do for cities on clean buses being traded for another offshore wind piece.”

Read More —>

Senate passes climate bill to advance net-zero efforts April 21st, 2022 --- The Daily Free Press

The bill — titled “An Act Driving Climate Policy Forward” — includes 45 amendments such as putting $50 million toward electric vehicle charging stations, banning non-electric vehicle sales by 2035, increasing off-shore wind energy to 5,600 MW by June 2027 and investing $100 million toward renewable energy, among other policies.

The climate action bill comes as a follow-up to last year’s law, introduced by Senator Michael Barrett, that outlined short-term climate goals and authorized 1,600 MW of offshore wind energy less than the current goal for mid-2027.

Read More —>

Massachusetts behind on efforts to shift to electric cars April 19th, 2022 -- The Suffolk Journal

According to The Boston Globe, cars make up for about one-fifth of carbon emissions in the state. Cutting down on the reliance of gas powered cars would greatly reduce emissions in the state, and if instituted more broadly could play a major role in fighting climate change.

While the State House has passed a few climate bills, experts feel that the government is not doing enough to solve this issue.

“The state is not trying hard enough,” said Senator Mike Barrett, lead author of the state’s landmark climate law. “Nobody has chosen to own this.”

Read More —>

Senate OKs climate change bill over objections April 18th, 2022 --- The Eagle Tribune

In remarks ahead of the vote, state Sen. Mike Barrett, D-Lexington, co-chair of the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy and the bill’s primary architect, acknowledged that the proposal includes “tough decisions” to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the impacts of climate change.

“We’ve reduced our options as a world in dealing with climate change, and we all know that our choices are narrower and more difficult,” Barrett said.

Read More —>

Road To Net-Zero Emissions: Mass. Lawmakers Approve Climate Bill April 15th, 2022 -- WBZ News Radio

Senators took a major step Thursday toward achieving the net-zero emissions target they already set for Massachusetts by approving a policy-heavy bill aimed at expanding the clean energy industry and reining in emissions from the transportation and building sectors.

Nearly 12 hours after they kicked off debate, senators voted 37-3 on legislation (S 2819) that faces an unclear future as negotiators prepare to reconcile it with a smaller-scope bill that cleared the House (H 4515). All three of the chamber’s Republicans, who unsuccessfully pushed an alternative proposal, voted against the final measure.

Along the way, the Senate adopted 45 amendments — including one that calls for attempting to nearly double the amount of offshore wind energy generated for Massachusetts over the next decade-plus — leading to what Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee Chair Sen. Michael Barrett called “a product here that is much better than when we started.”

Read More —>

Senate passes climate bill, adds offshore wind boost April 15th, 2022 -- CommonWealth Magazine

“Last year’s climate bill was about laying out a plan for tackling this formidable challenge of climate change. This year, in this legislation, we propose to begin to execute on the plan. If you like metaphors, last year was about laying out a roadmap, today we start traveling down the road. That’s why this is all about implementation,” Barrett, a Lexington Democrat, said on the Senate floor. “I am happy beyond measure, I am so happy, that this Senate has the courage to move beyond roadmapping and beyond laying out a template and is in favor of getting to the question of implementation and execution.”

The bill focuses on three main areas: electricity, transportation and buildings, all of which play major roles in existing greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More —>

With climate bill, Senate starts ‘traveling down the road’ to net-zero April 15th, 2022 --- Boston Globe

Along the way, the Senate adopted 45 amendments — including one that calls for attempting to nearly double the amount of offshore wind energy generated for Massachusetts over the next decade-plus — leading to what Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee Chair Sen. Michael Barrett called “a product here that is much better than when we started.”

Read More —>

Massachusetts Senate Passes Major Climate Legislation To Address Clean Energy, Transportation, & Buildings April 14th, 2022 --- Framingham Source

“We know climate change is relentless, so we think Massachusetts needs to be relentless, too,” stated Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington), Senate Chair of the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee. “No one’s around to give out ‘A’s’ for effort. What matters are results. An Act Driving Climate Policy Forward pushes back against global warming on multiple fronts, and with an emphasis on innovation and smart experimentation. It’s about thinking long-range but executing now, in the short term.  It’s about problem-solving, confidence, and even optimism.”

Read More —>

State climate bill would let 10 communities ban natural gas hookups. Business groups say that’s a bad idea. April 13th, 2022 --- Boston Globe

Senator Mike Barrett, a Democrat who co-chairs the Legislature’s energy committee, said the Senate adopted this language because the Baker administration’s interpretation of the net-zero legislation from last year didn’t match the Legislature’s intent. The reason he cited: These rules, as drafted by the administration, would bar communities from going all electric for new construction. Barrett’s hometown of Lexington is among the communities that have sought legislative approval to limit gas hookups. So are Concord and Lincoln — also in his district.

“We’re going to what the original legislative intent was, which was to permit communities to go all-electric,” Barrett said.

Read More —>

Massachusetts needs at least 750,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030. We are nowhere close. April 9th, 2022 --- Boston Globe

“The state is not trying hard enough,” said Senator Mike Barrett, lead author of the state’s landmark climate law. “Nobody has chosen to own this.”

Converting large numbers of the state’s 4.3 million gas cars to electric is one of Massachusetts’ most urgent climate tasks as it stares at the 2030 deadline for slashing emissions by half from 1990 levels, which was set by the Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy law. Cars account for about a fifth of all carbon emissions in the state, and advocates, legislators, and other experts say that if Massachusetts doesn’t quickly address its problems, including by improving mass transit and discouraging driving altogether, it may not reach the targets set for the end of the decade.

Read More —>

Senate unveils sweeping climate bill April 7th, 2022 --- Boston Globe

On buildings, the bill includes two major challenges to Baker administration policies, said Senator Michael Barrett. One deals with a new net-zero energy code that was required by last year’s climate law. The intent of the law was to allow towns, such as Brookline, to ban fossil fuels in new construction if they so choose. But when the Baker administration released the code earlier this year, it still allowed for natural gas hookups.

“There’s been a battle with the administration about whether the so-called stretch net-zero energy code will give cities and town the option of going all electric in new construction, or whether natural gas hook-ups will be at the discretion of the builder,” said Barrett, who was the primary architect of the Senate bill, and who wrote the 2021 climate law.

Read More —> 

Senate climate bill goes granular, ups electric vehicle rebates April 7th, 2022 --- CommonWealth Magazine

Sen. Michael Barrett of Lexington, the Senate chair of the Legislature’s Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy Committee, said if the Senate rebate levels are approved and federal rebates rise to expected levels a car buyer trading in his gas-fueled car could end up paying $27,500 for an electric vehicle with a sticker price of $40,000

The Senate bill would require the state Department of Public Utilities to set electrification and emission-reduction requirements for rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft. It would also bar the sale of vehicles running on fossil fuels by 2035 and require the MBTA to buy only electric buses by 2028 and make its entire bus fleet emission free by 2040.

Read More —> 

State Senate to consider ambitious climate initiatives next week April 7th, 2022 --- WGBH

“We wanted to make sure in the bill that we are not stimulating the purchase of electric vehicles by single car owners at the expense of people who live in cities and who may not be able to afford a car or may rely primarily on mass transit,” Barrett, a Lexington Democrat, said. “If you add what we do with what the feds are supposed to do, you could be bringing down the cost of a $40,000 EV to $27,500.”

Starting in the year 2035, all new vehicles sold in Massachusetts would need to produce zero emissions, a change that Barrett said would align the Bay State with New York and California. The Baker administration has proposed a similar cutoff of the sale of fossil fuel vehicles, which would be codified into state law under the Senate bill, as part of its 2050 decarbonization plan

Read More —> 

Mass Senate Introduces ‘Drive Act’ Climate Legislation April 7th, 2022 --- Framingham Source

“We know climate change is relentless, so we think Massachusetts needs to be relentless, too,” stated
Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington), Senate Chair of the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy
Committee. “No one’s around to give out ‘A’s’ for effort. What matters are results. An Act Driving Climate Policy Forward pushes back against global warming on multiple fronts, and with an emphasis on innovation and smart experimentation. It’s about thinking long-range but executing now, in the short term. It’s about problem-solving, confidence, and even optimism.”

Read More —>

What to know about the Mass. Senate’s new climate bill April 8th, 2022 --- WBUR

Several Massachusetts Democrats in the Senate unveiled a sweeping $250 million climate bill this week. The so-called Act Driving Climate Policy Forward builds off last year’s landmark Climate Act with new policies about green transportation and buildings, clean energy, the future of natural gas in the state and much more.

Read More —>

Senate Democrats unveil climate change plan April 8th, 2022 --- The Eagle Tribune

“We’re intent on making sure that working class and poor people have the same opportunities to breathe clean air and transportation as people in the suburbs do,” said state Sen. Mike Barrett, D-Lexington, a co-chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. “We’re being pretty tough about that.”

Read More —> 

Senate plan pours $250 million into decarbonization movement with focus on transportation, energy April 7th, 2022 --- Wicked Local

Where the 2021 law “was and is about laying benchmarks,” the new bill “is about doing what needs to be done to hit those benchmarks,” said Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee Co-chair Sen. Michael Barrett.

The bill would use $100 million to create a Clean Energy Investment Fund, allocate $100 million to incentivize adoption of electric vehicles, and deploy $50 million to build out electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Read More —> 

‘The most important issue of our time’: Mass. Senate unveils climate change legislation for electric vehicles, all-electric buildings April 7th, 2022 --- MassLive

“We know climate change is relentless, so Massachusetts needs to be relentless, too,” Barrett said. “No one’s going to give us an ‘A’ for effort — what matters are results. An Act Driving Climate Policy Forward pushes back against global warming on multiple fronts, with an emphasis on innovation and smart experimentation.”

Read More —> 

State Senate to debate broad climate bill next week April 7th, 2022 --- WWLP

The bill would use $100 million to create a Clean Energy Investment Fund, allocate $100 million to incentivize adoption of electric vehicles, and deploy $50 million to build out the state’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Senators hope the bill will empower the steep reductions in carbon emissions required for Massachusetts to become net-zero by 2050 as outlined in a major climate law Gov. Charlie Baker signed last year. The proposal could put the Senate at odds with the House, which last month approved a narrower bill aimed at turbocharging the offshore wind industry without tackling transportation or building issues.

Read More —> 

How Mass. climate goals align with the latest UN reports April 4th, 2022 -- WBUR

As part of the 2021 Climate Act, Massachusetts committed to getting greenhouse gas emissions 50% lower than they were in 1990 by 2030, and to reach net zero by 2050. The law also sets legally binding emissions limits for certain sectors like buildings, transportation and the electrical grid, and it requires utilities to buy increasing amounts of renewable energy.

“Passage last year of the Climate Act gave grounds for hope in the fight against emissions. But in the 15 months that have since passed, we’ve lost focus,” said state Sen. Mike Barrett, who helped draft the law. The state has “no plan yet to reduce transportation emissions, and no reassuring hints of bold steps in the offing. [The Baker administration is also] backsliding on what municipalities will be able to do under the upcoming net zero stretch energy code.”

Echoing the language in Mondays’ IPCC report, Barrett says the “strategies are available to us, but we need to seize the moment.”

Read More —>