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Legislation WWMA Supports and Opposes – 2019-2020 

Support

The organizations affiliated with Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts urge support for these bills submitted by our representatives and senators on our behalf this session.

Health Effects

H.2015 – (Rep. David T. Vieira) – Resolve to establish a commission to study the health impacts from land based wind turbines to protect the health of the citizens of the Commonwealth. This legislation establishes a commission to investigate and study the incidence and impacts of adverse health effects from land-based wind turbines, and to recommend administrative and legislative changes to mitigate or eliminate adverse health effects from land-based wind turbines. Text

NOTE: The health commission bill has gone farther than any wind-related bill in the state’s history. During the last legislative session, this bill was reported out of committee and went as far as the House Ways and Means Committee. 

Comments to: Joint Committee on Public Health, which heard the bill on June 11, 2019.

Compensation

H.2928 (Rep. David Vieira) – The “Wind Energy Relief Act” is key for helping wind turbine neighbors and towns like Falmouth recover from failed wind projects. It provides two compensation funds: 1.) a $15 million per year Energy Relief Fund for people, businesses, and cities and towns impacted adversely by wind turbines, and 2.) a $7.5 million per year Turbine Decommissioning Fund.

NOTE: This bill requires no increase in state funding and no additional ratepayer or taxpayer funding. The funds will come from the millions of dollars that are already collected from electric ratepayers and then credited to the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund. Text

Accountability and Transparency 

H.2924 (Rep. Todd Smola) – An Act relative to accountability of public funds for wind turbines requires that the amount of public funds spent for wind turbines be posted monthly on a website maintained by the MassCEC, and include the recipient’s name, the program, date of award, award amount, and the project name and location. Text

H. 2925 ( Rep. Todd Smola) – An Act promoting transparency in wind generated electricity production requires wind projects to submit production statistics (megawatts per hour) if the project received public funds. It also requires verified production statistics be made public. Large public subsidies deserve scrutiny, which can happen only if actual electricity production numbers are made available to the public. Text

Comments to: Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, which held hearings on Sept. 24, 2019. 

Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts also urges support for these bills, which will enhance carbon sequestration. One specifically protects against industrial wind turbines on state lands.

Protecting forests

H.897 (Rep. Susannah Whipps) –  An Act Relative to Forest Protection prohibits new commercial wind energy and other industrial infrastructure development on state lands and parks. It also helps to preserve and increase carbon sequestration and provide safe habitat to protect native biodiversity. Text

S.485 (Sen. Adam Hinds) – An Act authorizing the establishment of old growth forest reserves prohibits new commercial, industrial, roadway or utility development within the boundaries of old growth forest reserves. Text

S.486 ( Sen. Adam Hinds) – An Act to protect public and private woodlands and woodlots in the Commonwealth for carbon sequestration requires that the aggregate amount of carbon sequestered in woodlands and woodlots be measured and that the annual estimate of carbon sequestered be included as part of the state’s climate change goals and renewable energy targets.This bill also requires a statewide plan to protect public and private woodlands and woodlots. Text

Comments to: Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, which held hearings on Sept. 24, 2019. 

Oppose

The organizations affiliated with Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts urge opposition to these bills which promote industrial wind development.

RPS increase

S.2002  (Sen. Marc Pacheco) – An Act relative to enhancing RPS standards would require every retail electricity supplier to increase their supply from renewables an additional 3% of sales each year. Increasing the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) would drive up demand for wind energy development in our densely populated state and increase the cost of electricity. Text

Financing renewables

S.2005 / H.2802 (Sen. Marc Pacheco) / (Rep. Ruth Balser) –  An Act to secure a clean energy future establishes an incentive program to support non-solar renewable energy projects that are less than 5 megawatts and that qualify for the class I renewable energy portfolio standard, which includes wind energy. The program would finance the development, construction, and operation of renewable energy distributed-generation projects and allow Regional School Districts to lease or license land to a business or other organization to generate renewable energy, which would create noise pollution near schools. Text

S.2894 (Rep. Paul Mark) – An Act creating a green bank to promote clean energy in Massachusetts establishes a bank to finance renewable energy and projects that reduce energy consumption in buildings. The state has already been giving grants and loans to companies for years, for example, via the Green Communities initiative of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. This bill is a push to continue subsidizing renewable projects with taxpayer money. Text

Comments to: Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, which held hearings on Sept. 24, 2019. 

 

Promoting renewables on farm land

S.528 (Sen. Michael Rodrigues) – An Act encouraging the use of renewable energy on agricultural land allows agricultural and horticultural land to continue to be classified as agricultural or horticultural (for Chapter 61A tax benefits) if the land is used to simultaneously site a renewable energy project. 

NOTE: Industrial-scale wind energy development is not compatible with state goals to protect farmland.Text 

H.802 (Rep. Kate Hogan) – An Act establishing a special commission to ensure the resiliency of family farms in the 21st century establishes a commission to review tax incentives and funding for farm-based renewables, including wind projects; the effects of zoning bylaws on farm-based renewables, and barriers to renewables on farms. Text 

Comments to: Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, which held hearings on Sept. 24, 2019. 

 

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