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Environment and Energy Legislation

FUTURE Act

SD1953

The FUTURE Act will implement new policies on natural gas safety, require faster repair of dangerous leaks, including those affecting trees and those near schools, and the bill will also create a path for gas utilities to begin to participate in renewable energy, including geo-thermal and other district energy projects to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and reach our goal of 100% renewables. The bill also gives cities, towns, and the public more of a voice at the table in planning our energy future.

An Act to

Reduce Plastic Packaging Waste

SD 503

Retail food establishments, including restaurants and food trucks, will be required to use biodegradable, compostable, recyclable, or reusable food service ware for foods prepared or packaged on premises. (This will preclude the use of polystyrene and other non-recyclable containers.) 

An Act to

Protect Children, Families and Firefighters from Harmful Flame Retardants

SD 1573

This will prevent the sale of residential furniture and children’s products containing TRIS, PBDEs and other fire retardant chemicals - which are of increasing concern due to their toxicity and pervasiveness in the environment.  California recently rescinded its regulations which unfortunately spurred the use of these chemicals several decades ago

An Act

Improving Outdoor Lighting and Increasing Dark-Sky Visibility

SD 1324

This will create new standards for state and municipal funded outdoor roadway and parking lot lighting.  New lighting fixtures should conform to the new 3,000 lumen LED standard and be ‘fully shielded’ to prevent light pollution reducing night sky visibility.  This lighting is also approved by the Mass Medical Society because it reduces the glare which is a safety concern for many older drivers. The law will not apply if: federal law pre-empts; lighting is in use by emergency or repair personnel, at airports, special events, or for historic illumination; urban areas with nighttime pedestrian traffic; prisons and jails; or when other safety interests occur

An Act to

Establish Rate Options to Reduce Customer Costs and Lower Peak Demand

SD 1643

This will require electric companies to offer ‘time of use’ rates to give consumers the option save money by using more electricity at off-peak times (for appliances like washer/dryers and dishwashers).  The public will save money, and overall peak demand will be reduced through this simple conservation policy.

An Act to

Increase Container Recycling in the Commonwealth

SD 1920

This bill sets recycling benchmarks that must be reached by 2025. Otherwise, the container deposit law will be expanded to require a nickel deposit on water and other non-carbonated beverage containers, in order to effectively reduce the number of take-away water and other drink containers now most often disposed of as litter.