Energy committee considers 100% clean energy bill

For Immediate Release

BOSTON – This afternoon, the Joint Committee on Telecommunication, Utilities and Energy held a public hearing on the 100% Clean Act (H.3288, S.2136). The bill, filed by state Reps. Marjorie Decker and Sean Garballey and state Sen. Joseph Boncore, would transition Massachusetts to 100 percent clean electricity by 2035 and 100 percent clean heating and transportation by 2045.

“Passing the 100% Clean Act would put Massachusetts on a path to a historic and much-needed shift away from fossil fuels,” said Ben Hellerstein, state director for Environment Massachusetts. “This bill is the key to a cleaner, healthier, and safer future for all of us.”

Burning fossil fuels releases pollution into the air that harms our health, contributing to asthma, heart attack, premature birth, and a host of other health problems. Fossil fuels are also warming our climate. If global warming pollution continues at high levels, sea levels could rise by up to 7–10 feet in the Boston area by the end of this century.

“The fossil fuel industry knew before the rest of us what building reliance on their industry would do to our air, water, land, and our entire ecosystem, which sustains all life,” said Rep. Marjorie Decker (Cambridge). “They used Big Tobacco's playbook, and just like nicotine addiction has wreaked havoc on our lives, the fossil fuel industry has cost us billions of dollars in damage to our health and our environment. The 100% Clean Act provides us with a path forward that supports workers, sustains important labor wins, and begins to move us more rapidly to alternative cleaner energy sources.”

"This legislation is critical to the future wellbeing of every citizen in the Commonwealth," said Rep. Sean Garballey (Arlington). "We need to act promptly to pass strong, progressive policy change, such as requiring all utilities to provide 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. This is the first step to lasting change, so that we can stop our reliance on fossil fuels and ensure environmental justice on a state and local level."

Nine states (Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Illinois, Virginia, New York, and Maine) have already committed to 100 percent clean electricity. With the 100% Clean Act, Massachusetts would become the 10th state to commit to 100 percent clean electricity, and the first state to commit to 100 percent clean heating and transportation alongside electricity. The bill also lays out clear steps for the Commonwealth to achieve these objectives in each sector.

We Have the Power, a report released by Environment Massachusetts Research and Policy Center earlier this year, demonstrates that America’s clean energy potential vastly exceeds current electricity demand. It estimated Massachusetts’ offshore wind potential to be 20 times the state’s current electricity demand.

“Passing the 100% Clean Act is crucial,” said Caroline Sunuwar, a student at UMass Amherst and 100% Renewable Energy Co-Coordinator with MASSPIRG Students. “My generation will not stand idly by while fossil fuels continue to cause irreparable damage.”

The bill has been endorsed by more than 60 environmental, civic, and public health groups and is a top priority for the Mass Power Forward coalition.

In addition to this, 88 of Massachusetts’ 200 state legislators have signed on as co-sponsors of this bill.

The energy committee must report favorably on the bill in order for it to be considered by the full Legislature. Currently, the deadline for the committee to act on the bill is February 2.

Read Environment Massachusetts' testimony in support of the 100% Clean Act.