Submitted by Sue Swanson
A Mass Power Forward meeting with Senator Mike Barrett on December 4 was part of a statewide campaign to bring key climate bills to the attention of legislators. In all, over 50 meetings were held throughout the week.
We brought six bills to the Senator’s attention, including three in his own Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. These bills are all shared priorities of the Mass Power Forward Coalition and Mothers Out Front. Topics included the need to move quickly off gas, establish ways to fund this conversion, and do all of this with justice, equity, and compassion.
Senator Barrett was candid about his concerns, but shares many of our goals. He and his staff (three of whom were also in attendance) are drafting the Senate’s omnibus climate bill, which will include many topics of shared concern. The electrical grid must be modernized and
expanded to accommodate a rapid and complete shift away from fossil fuels. Changes must be made to the way energy facilities are sited. Steady and reliable funding sources are essential, especially as we retrofit aging buildings across the state, replacing fossil fuel dependent heating systems with cleaner and more energy efficient alternatives.
Many people and several organizations within his district are members of the Coalition to Stop Private Jet Expansion at Hanscom or Anywhere, so we also raised that issue. Senator Barrett has been opposed to the expansion from the beginning and is supportive of this campaign. He recommended a robust public response to the revised environmental impact report when it is released.
We all appreciated the opportunity to discuss issues of common concern and we look forward to ongoing collaboration to preserve and protect our communities and our climate.