H.4438, which Governor Baker originally filed, is a catchall spending bill for environmental adaptation and remediation. You can read the pdf here. (I do wish there were a summary, line-item sheet without all the legalese – anyone?) It has been amended to include environmental justice provisions from H.2913, requiring the inclusion of input from low-income and communities of color when a polluting industry wishes to be sited.
With bipartisan and multi-branch support, one would hope this should get some traction.
Mass Power Forward has a Facebook event with RSVP. Their description:
he House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets will hold a hearing on H4438, the revised Environmental Bond Bill. The hearing is in room A-1, and other details are here: https://malegislature.gov/
Please show up and speak in support of environmental justice (primarily page 43-50 of the bill) and climate adaptation provisions in the bill, and thank the legislature for removing elements related to the “clean peak” standard and water privatization.
H4438, An Act promoting climate change adaptation, environmental and natural resource protection, and investment in recreational assets and opportunity, was originally filed by Governor Baker. It has been revised during the legislative process to include the ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ACT (H2913), a key priority.
The Environmental Justice Act, House Bill H.2913 / Senate Bill S.426 was introduced this legislative session by State Representatives RoseLee Vincent and Michelle DuBois and State Senator Jamie Eldridge. This Act would make environmental justice a legislative mandate for all state regulatory agencies, in order to protect the health of all communities, particularly those at risk of being harmed by high-pollution industries. It would require all state agencies to development policies to ensure that low-income communities, communities of color, and immigrant communities have the right to participate in decision-making when polluting industries want to move into their neighborhoods. The Act would also require regulators to actively protect vulnerable communities from bearing an unfair and disproportionate share of pollution, environmental degradation, and risks to public health.
Let’s be clear what pollution is: It’s a private industry externalizing costs onto the bodies of local residents. There is a strong libertarian (!!) case to be made that the right to pollute is absolute zero: No one has any right whatsoever to abuse and kill your body with pollutants. But the choice of whether, where, and how much to pollute is inherently political; and those without political power have lost out, at the expense of disease and early, preventable death.
And state actions can have a price as well: No Flints in Massachusetts, please.
It’s especially critical that Massachusetts take care of its own business. EPA head Scott Pruitt is designing an explicitly pro-pollution agenda, which will incur a real body count:
EPA air official lays out priorities at coal conference:
1 Clean Power Plan repeal
2 “Serious look” at MATS (mercury). role of co-benefits
3 Changes to Quad O rule
4 New Source Review changes
5 National Ambient Air Quality changes
6 “feasible” GHG standards for vehicles
— Taylor Kuykendall (@taykuy) May 10, 2018
We have to take care of our own. And Pruitt, Trump, and the enabling GOP must be crushed in November. GOP delenda est.