Earth to Massachusetts
The impression I’d gotten from listening to the pundits talk about the Massachusetts Senate race is that the Democratic candidate Martha Coakley is a shallow choice for the left, and this is why many dissatisfied with the current state of affairs in the country are protesting by staying home on election day (Jan 19th). The race has become a dead heat, the most recent poll showing the Republican Scott Brown with a 4 point lead. A review of Coakley’s record and positions on energy and environmental issues makes clear she is as strong a candidate as any for the climate movement. Her plan is as solid as any I’ve seen.
Remember the big court case Massachusetts vs. EPA over the ruling of whether or not the EPA should regulate carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas? The reason why we are where we are today with the Obama EPA having the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Coakley was the Attorney General for Massachusetts, which means she was all over that case.
She also worked on the implementation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative(RGGI) in the Northeast, which makes her an ideal ally for Senator John Kerry in establishing a national program to reduce emissions.
Here are some more impressive accomplishments by Coakley on energy:
Saved ratepayers over $100 million dollars and advocated for other ratepayer protections through litigation efforts at the state and federal level including successful opposition to numerous electric and gas rate increases for the customers of Bay State Gas, New England Gas, Fitchburg Electric, NSTAR and Western Massachusetts Electric and successful opposition to excessive incentives sought at FERC for interstate transmission projects over the life of these projects.
Reached a Settlement with NSTAR, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Conservation Law Foundation for Long-Term Wind Contracts and Green Power that anchored the development of two 30 MW wind farms and provided an option for NSTAR’s customers to purchase renewable power for a portion or all of the energy portion of their bill.
Reached a Settlement with Western Massachusetts Electric Company for the development of the Commonwealth’s first utility grade solar project in the state that will result in the development of 6MW of solar power, developed at the least cost, in Western Massachusetts.
Pushed for reforms in New England’s multibillion dollar energy market and transmission planning process to ensure more transparency, more emphasis on costs and better access for ratepayer and consumer groups.
Forged a landmark agreement with the Patrick Administration establishing the most aggressive energy efficiency goals in the nation which will result in over a billion dollar investment in energy efficiency in the Commonwealth over the next three years with expected savings of over $4 billion.
Supported interstate transmission project to bring clean, cost effective hydro power from Quebec to Massachusetts customers that will be financed initially by private capital.
Secured important changes in state laws to provide for better oversight and regulation of utility companies including allowing the Attorney General to compel audits of utility books, closed loopholes in the state’s authority to review utility mergers and acquisitions and codified the Attorney General’s role in representing Massachusetts consumers before federal energy agencies.
By contrast, Coakley’s challenger Scott Brown has smack on his policy page
“I oppose a national cap and trade program because of the higher costs that families and businesses would incur.”
He has about two more sentences before that as his vision for energy and environmental protection in America. Coakley has 11 pages of good stuff.
If you are in Massachusetts, consider taking a few hours this weekend to help get out the vote for Coakley by phone banking or canvassng. If you are outside, consider making phone calls to residents in the state using Organizing for America’s Neighbor to Neighbor tool.
A loss for Coakley would be absolutely catastrophic.
**Other points of view on this**
Energy Smart Now
The Green Miles