Environment and Energy

An Act to reduce solid waste, increase recycling and generate municipal cost savings (HD1313)

Massachusetts currently recovers less than 50 percent of its solid waste, well behind states such as Oregon and California. The resulting trash—4.7 million tons each year—poses serious environmental and economic consequences, including significant burdens on municipal budgets. This legislation would set specific municipal recycling performance targets, strengthen oversight and enforcement of waste bans, bolster regulation of waste haulers, and improve the collection and reporting of solid waste data.

An Act to update the public shade tree law (HD1071), filed with House Minority Leader Brad Jones

This legislation would update and strengthen the law protecting public shade trees by: 1) specifying professional qualifications for tree wardens; 2) expanding their power to enforce prohibitions on cutting or otherwise damaging public shade trees; and 3) authorizing the State Forester to promulgate regulations for implementation of the law. It was drafted in collaboration with the Massachusetts Tree Wardens and Foresters Association, which represents the tree wardens in cities and towns across Massachusetts.

An Act to allow equal access solar net metering projects (HD1674)

Under current Department of Public Utilities (DPU) rules, only one solar net metering facility is allowed per parcel of land. For those that co-own, co-tenant or have multiple utility accounts associated with a single parcel of land, which includes many condominium owners, small businesses, farmers and public housing authorities, this DPU rule can make it prohibitively burdensome to install solar projects. This legislation would allow an exemption to the “single parcel rule” for small net metering projects, creating greater access to solar for more low-income residents, middle-class homeowners and small businesses.

An Act relative to low income solar (HD3130), filed with House Global Warning and Climate Change Chairman Frank Smizik

This bill would help to equalize access to solar for low and middle-income residents. It would allow municipalities and government entities to distribute net metering credits to publicly assisted housing or its residents and still retain full retail rate net metering credit value, exempt low-income ratepayers from any ratepayer minimum monthly reliability contribution, and exempt from the net metering caps municipal and government projects that distribute 100 percent of their net metering credits to publicly assisted housing or its residents.