December 12, 2013
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Eat Up and Take Action for Local Food
Can you use the power of your food dollars and your strength as an active, engaged citizen to create a better world?
Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture’s new publication, Eat Up and Take Action for Local Food, provides resources and encouragement to bring your love of local food to your workplace, your volunteer activities, and your friends and family. Get inspired to take action! The report is available on-line at www.buylocalfood.org.
Eat up and Take Action for Local Food urges all residents of our region to get involved in the essential work of building a healthy food economy that sustains strong communities all across our region. The publication includes vignettes of success from local communities, actions we can take with our family, in our community and for our values to support our local food economy. Examples range from cooking more with local, seasonal ingredients and bringing local food to your workplace, to supporting local food access for low-income residents.
Eat Up and Take Action for Local Food is the second publication in a series that provides information and inspiration on our local food economy. The first publication, Scaling up Local Food: Investing in Farm & Food systems Infrastructure in the Pioneer Valley, is also available from CISA at www.buylocalfood.org
State Raw Milk Regulations Proven Successful, Towns Need Not Interfere
The NOFA/Mass Raw Milk Network today said that the state of Massachusetts, through the Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), handles licensing and regulation of raw milk sales well, and the towns that are home to the nearly 30 raw milk dairies in the state should continue to entrust that role to the professional inspectors and scientists at MDAR. The statement was issued because the town of Foxborough has proposed additional regulations for raw milk dairies operating in that town.
Dairies selling raw milk are inspected regularly by MDAR, their milk is sent to a laboratory and tested, and if the inspection or tests find problems the state has the authority to rescind a dairy’s license until the problem is resolved. This system has been in place for at least two decades and has a stellar track record of success. There have been no illnesses attributable to legally sold raw milk during that time, and state inspectors have excellent working relationships with the dairies, using their knowledge and skills to work closely with farmers to ensure that they are selling the highest quality products.
Raw milk for retail sale is held to the exact same bacterial testing standards as milk that has been pasteurized. Because raw milk dairies have to attain these standards without using pasteurization, these farms’ operations are exceptionally sanitary and safe. Additional restrictions on dairies, such as those proposed by the town of Foxborough, are overly burdensome and threaten the sustainability of the precious few dairy farms that remain in Massachusetts.
The proposals – which range from insistence on high cost insurance, to intrusive recordkeeping on individual customers, to additional fees levied upon the farm – do nothing to foster the production of healthy, safe raw milk. Such regulations instead create a public perception that raw milk is inherently dangerous and that the farm is putting its customers at risk, when there is no evidence to suggest this. The proposed set of regulations would put more restrictions on dairies in Foxborough than most of the state laws and regulations in the 33 U.S. states that allow raw milk sales.
“Massachusetts sets tough standards for its dairy farmers and every day our farmers rise to meet those challenges and produce the best raw milk available anywhere,” says Winton Pitcoff, coordinator of the NOFA/Mass Raw Milk Network. As a result, the number of raw milk dairies has steadily increased to meet growing demand. In 2012 dairies sold more than $1 million worth of raw milk to consumers. These dairies steward more than 3,500 acres of farmland, employ many people, and make a significant contribution to the state’s economy.
The NOFA/Mass Raw Milk Network works with dairies that produce and sell unpasteurized milk and advocates for access to raw milk, as well as for fair state regulations that help ensure that raw milk is produced, handled and sold safely.
Final RGGI Revisions to Dramatically Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Power Plants
The Patrick Administration today issued final amendments to a regulation that will reduce up to 90 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants across nine New England and mid-Atlantic states during the next six years.
Massachusetts and eight other states – Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont – are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which is the nation’s first “cap-and-trade” program. Power plants in the RGGI states must purchase “allowances” that allow them to emit carbon dioxide. The states auction off these allowances and use the proceeds for public purposes, especially investments in energy efficiency, which create jobs and keep energy spending local.
The revisions to the Commonwealth’s RGGI program, as well as similar changes in the other eight states, will lower the existing “cap” on power plant emissions in the RGGI states from the current level of 165 million tons per year to 91 million tons per year starting in 2014. The cap will then be lowered by 2.5 percent each year thereafter until 2020. This reduction will ensure that in 2020, power plant emissions from these nine states will be half of what they were in 2005, when RGGI was initiated.
The lower cap is also expected to generate an estimated $350 million in additional revenue for the Commonwealth by 2020.These revenues will be invested primarily in programs to improve energy efficiency in Massachusetts’ municipalities, businesses and residences, which will, in turn, reduce energy costs and lower carbon dioxide emissions.
“Massachusetts has benefitted greatly from our participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “The program has cut more than 10 million tons of pollutants from our air, invested more than $252 million in energy efficiency improvements and generated thousands of clean-tech jobs.”
Buoyed by the program’s success, the nine RGGI states have also called upon the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to embrace regional cap-and-trade programs when it issues federal rules to cut carbon emissions from power plants.
“RGGI has been an unqualified success as the nation’s first market-based program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, and these program revisions are a perfect match to President Obama’s climate change goals,” said Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). “Massachusetts and our RGGI partners have created a model for states across the nation, and federal officials should consider it as an option for compliance with the upcoming national rules.”
“Massachusetts has invested RGGI proceeds wisely, with nation-leading results,” said Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Commissioner Mark Sylvia.“We have directed the vast majority into the Mass Save® energy efficiency programs, as well as Green Communities grants, providing billions in benefits to businesses, individuals and municipalities. We look forward to continued economic and environmental contributions from RGGI.”
While the price for allowances is expected to rise under the new cap, the revisions call for the establishment of a “cost containment reserve” that would stabilize allowance prices in unforeseen circumstances, such as a shortage of natural gas. The cost containment reserve would inject additional allowances into the marketplace if allowance prices reach certain triggers ($4 per ton in 2014, $6 in 2015, $8 in 2016 and $10 in 2017, rising by 2.5 percent, to account for inflation, each year thereafter).
Before making these revisions, the RGGI states conducted extensive modeling on the impacts of these changes on consumers. The modeling shows that the impacts of the reduced emissions cap will be very modest, less than one percent in consumer bills. The average Massachusetts residential customer’s monthly electric bill of $72 will rise by 39 cents; the average commercial customer’s monthly bill of $455 will rise by $3.89; and the average industrial customer’s monthly bill of $6,659 will rise by $83.
For more information about the RGGI program revisions for Massachusetts, turn here: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/air/regulations/310-cmr-7-00-air-pollution-control-regulation.html#3
For more information about the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and its cap-and-trade program, turn here: www.rggi.org
CO2 Allowances Sold at $3.00 at 22nd RGGI Auction
RGGI Auctions Have Generated over $1.5 Billion for State Reinvestment
News Release and Market Monitor Report Now Available at:
The nine Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nation’s first market-based cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, today announced the results of their 22nd auction of carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances.
38,329,378 CO2 allowances were sold at the auction at a clearing price of $3.00. Allowances sold represent 100 percent of the allowances offered for sale by the nine states. Bids for the CO2 allowances ranged from $1.98 to $12.00 per allowance.
The auction generated $114.9 million for reinvestment by the RGGI states in a variety of consumer benefit initiatives, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, direct bill assistance, and greenhouse gas abatement programs. Cumulative proceeds from all RGGI CO2 allowance auctions currently total $1.5 billion dollars.
According to the independent market monitor’s report, electricity generators and their corporate affiliates have won 81 percent of CO2 allowances sold in RGGI auctions since 2008. Additional details are available in the Market Monitor Report for Auction 22, available at
“After twenty-two auctions, RGGI has demonstrated that regional carbon pollution programs can cost-effectively reduce emissions while strengthening the economy,” said Collin O’Mara, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and Chair of the RGGI, Inc. Board of Directors. “By harnessing market forces and aligning state policies, RGGI has helped states significantly lower emissions while building a clean energy infrastructure.”
“The RGGI states demonstrated they were early movers in 2008, when they were the first region in North America to conduct a CO2 allowance auction,” said David Littell, a Commissioner of the Maine Public Utilities Commission and Vice-Chair of the RGGI, Inc. Board of Directors. “Having now held twenty-two CO2 auctions in five and a half years, RGGI has demonstrated a market-based system that finds the lowest-cost CO2 reductions.”
To receive announcements relating to future auctions and other RGGI news, please join the RGGI, Inc. mailing list at http://www.rggi.org/news/mailing_list.
More data is also available at: http://www.rggi.org/market/co2_auctions/results.
RGGI Program Review
The changes outlined in the Updated Model Rule and Program Review Recommendations Summary build upon RGGI’s success and strengthen the program moving forward.
· A reduction of the 2014 regional CO2 budget, “RGGI cap”, from 165 million to 91 million tons – a reduction of 45 percent. The cap would decline 2.5 percent each year from 2015 to 2020.
· Additional downward adjustments to the RGGI cap from 2014-2020. This will account for the private bank of allowances held by market participants before the new cap is implemented in 2014.
· Cost containment reserve (CCR) of allowances that creates a fixed additional supply of allowances that are only available for sale if CO2 allowance prices exceed certain price levels ($4 in 2014, $6 in 2015, $8 in 2016, and $10 in 2017, rising by 2.5 percent, to account for inflation, each year thereafter).
· Updates to the RGGI offsets program, including a new forestry protocol.
· Not reoffering unsold 2012 and 2013 CO2 allowances.
· Requiring regulated entities to acquire and hold allowances equal to at least 50 percent of their emissions in each of the first 2 years of the 3 year compliance period, in addition to demonstrating full compliance at the end of each 3 year compliance period.
· Commitment to identifying and evaluating potential tracking tools for emissions associated with electricity imported into the RGGI region, leading to a workable, practicable, and legal mechanism to address such emissions.
More information, including the Updated Model Rule and accompanying materials are available at www.rggi.org/design/program_review.
About the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states participating in the second RGGI control period (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) have implemented the first mandatory market-based regulatory program in the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Power sector CO2 emissions are capped at 165 million short tons for 2013.
RGGI is composed of individual CO2 budget trading programs in each state, based on each state’s independent legal authority. A CO2 allowance represents a limited authorization to emit one short ton of CO2, as issued by a respective state. A regulated power plant must hold CO2 allowances equal to its emissions to demonstrate compliance for each three-year control period. RGGI’s second control period began on January 1, 2012 and extends through December 31, 2014. For more information visit www.rggi.org.
About Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Inc.
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Inc. (RGGI, Inc.) was created to provide technical and administrative services to the states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. RGGI, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, visit: www.rggi.org/rggi.
The RGGI auctions are administered by RGGI, Inc. and run on an on-line platform provided by World Energy Solutions, Inc.
Endangered Species in Massachusetts
from Mass Audubon’s Beacon Hill Weekly Roundup
Here in Massachusetts we … have our own Endangered Species Act (MESA) protecting species that are in danger of being lost within the Commonwealth. There are currently 432 native plant and animal species that are officially listed as Endangered, Threatened, or of Special Concern in Massachusetts. A spot on the list can be a key factor in a species’ continued presence in Massachusetts.
Mass Audubon is proud to have made ongoing contributions to bringing back endangered populations of Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon. Twenty years ago, Mass Audubon teamed with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to restore the bald eagle as a breeding bird in the Commonwealth. Populations of bald eagle, almost entirely wiped out by the late 20th century, have recently been restored to levels healthy enough to permit removal from both the state and federal endangered species lists. As reported in Mass Audubon’s Breeding Bird Atlas 2 and in our 2013 State of the Birds report, growing numbers of bald eagle nests have been confirmed at Quabbin Reservoir, along the Connecticut and Merrimack Rivers, and at Mass Audubon’s own Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary.
Despite these successes, at least ten other species of birds are classified as “endangered” in Massachusetts, including the Roseate Tern (featured on Mass Audubon’s logo) and the Upland Sandpiper. The health of these populations will continue to be affected by factors such as population growth, pollution, and climate change. The importance of these species as indicators of human health, or ‘canaries in the coalmine’, cannot be underestimated.
Recent efforts to repeal the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA) would expose vulnerable species to harm. Mass Audubon has been working on a three-pronged strategy to defend and improve MESA:
· Advance an alternative bill, H.756, that would formalize that system in law and improve and clarify MESA in several other respects
· Defend MESA before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
EPA Releases Updated Sustainability Plan
WASHINGTON – As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution and lead in clean energy, EPA today released its 2013 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan that outlines actions planned over the next year to cut energy use and waste in agency operations. President Obama signed Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance in October 2009, setting aggressive targets for reducing waste and pollution in Federal operations by 2020. EPA’s 2013 Sustainability Plan builds on four years of progress under the Executive Order and provides an overview of how the agency is saving taxpayer dollars, reducing carbon emissions, and saving energy.
The 2013 Sustainability Plan will also help guide EPA’s actions to meet the new goal President Obama set today with a Presidential Memorandum directing the Federal Government to consume 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 – more than double the current level. Meeting this renewable energy goal will reduce pollution in our communities, promote American energy independence, and support homegrown energy produced by American workers.
Since 2009, EPA has:
· Reduced energy use by almost 8%; allowing EPA to avoid $1.5 million in utility costs annually. Compared to the 2003 baseline, EPA has reduced energy by more than 25%
· Used renewable energy and purchased Green Power Renewable Energy Credits equal to 100% of its conventional electricity use. Use of Green Power, coupled with energy conservation and fleet management efforts, reduce EPA Scope 1 and 2 Greenhouse Gas emissions by nearly half from FY 2008 levels.
· Reduced annual water use by more than 25% – that’s more than 30 million gallons per year.
The 2013 Sustainability Plan outlines actions planned for the upcoming year to continue progress in meeting the President’s goals, including:
· Pursuing reconstruction of key EPA research infrastructure. Projects completed at the Cincinnati, OH, A.W. Breidenbach Environmental Research Center, EPA’s second largest research center, have already reduced energy use by more than 30%.
· Consolidating the Research Toxicology Laboratory in Durham, NC into the Main laboratory at Research Triangle Park, NC. This project will reduce agency rent costs, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and result in a net reduction in EPA space without impacting research capacity.
· Continuing work on EPA’s award winning water conservation program.
Federal Agency Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans are available now at http://sustainability.performance.gov
Massachusetts Anti-Fracking Bill Approved by Committee
from Environment Massachusetts
It’s official: Massachusetts is leading the way in the fight against fracking.
The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture approved a bill that would keep fracking out of Massachusetts. If passed, it would be one of the strongest anti-fracking measures in the nation.
You may remember when we introduced this bill in January, or when we delivered more than 11,000 petition signatures to the legislature in June.
It’s because of you, and thousands like you across the state, that we have been able to make it this far. I wanted to take a moment to tell you how much we appreciate your support.
Here’s what Environment Massachusetts has been doing to protect Massachusetts from fracking:
· In January, we worked with Reps. Denise Provost (Somerville) and Peter Kocot (Northampton) to introduce a bill to ban fracking in Massachusetts, with 14 cosponsors.
· By June, together with CREDO and other allies, we presented more than 11,000 petition signatures in support of a fracking ban.
· In September, we testified at the Legislature’s first-ever hearing on fracking.
· In October, we released our “Fracking by the Numbers” report, documenting the damage that fracking has caused across the country.
· In November, we hosted a screening of Gasland II at Amherst College.
· All along, we have been reaching out to hundreds of local elected officials, doctors, and farmers to educate them about the dangers of fracking and provide them with opportunities to speak out on the issue.
We know there’s a lot of work still to be done before we shut the door on fracking in Massachusetts. But today, we are one big step closer.
Please take a minute today, and thank Reps. Denise Provost and Peter Kocot, and the other legislators who are standing up against fracking.
Free Training Call: Fracking, What You Need to Know
Tuesday, January 21, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM (Eastern)
Do you know where fracking is being done, how it works, or what health hazards are associated with fracking? On Tuesday, January 21st at Noon (EST), join CHEJ’s special live event and learn about fracking, its associated health hazards, and more. Join our next group training call to learn the many of the issues related to Hydraulic Fracturing from the view point of both a world class microbiologist and scientist, as well as a local native of West Virginia, Dr. Yuri Gorby, PhD. A question and answer session will follow the presentation.
There is no cost to attend the event, but space for the session is limited, so please register as soon as possible to let us know if you’d like to attend. The presentation will be accessible by telephone; no internet based connection is available to participate.
Our featured speakers for the call are:
Yuri Gorby, PhD – is a microbial physiologist and ecologist and currently holds the Howard N. Blitman Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. As Executive Producer for “Fracking Our Future” – he has given a voice to people suffering from chemical exposure who live and work in the gas fields of PA, WV and OH. Dr. Gorby’s interdisciplinary research is at the nexus of environmental engineering and biology. An accomplished microbial physiologist and bioprocess engineer, his work embraces the use of controlled cultivation to understand the fundamental properties of bacteria for a range of applications.”
There is no cost to attend the event, but space for the session is limited, so please register as soon as possible to let us know if you’d like to attend. The presentation will be accessible by telephone; no internet based connection is aviable to participate.
Climate Action Liaison Development Program
After a successful first wave of intern placement, the Climate Action Liaison Coalition is now looking to for our next new interns!
The Climate Action Liaison Development Program trains the next generation of leaders looking to tackle climate change. CALDP takes you to both the fore-front and behind-the-scenes of a program designed to help private sector leaders develop community based solutions to the climate crisis.
Please send a cover letter and CV to Michael Green at michae…@ climateactioncoalition.org
Sustainability: Systems and Solutions for Your Campus and Community
April 17, 2014 | UMass Lowell Conference Center
The Massachusetts Sustainable Communities and Campuses Conference connects sustainability stakeholders in government, education, business, non-profits and communities.
Engage in cross-sector dialogues
Learn about best practices, research, current trends, products and services
Go home with ideas, connections, and resources to implement sustainable practices
For conference information contact JenBoudrie@gmail.com, 508-481-0569
Aquatic Habitat Restoration Specialist
Dept. of Fish and Game
$61,299.68 to $83,762.64 Annually
Application Deadline: 01-08-2014
For more information see the official job posting.
Conservation Finance Fellowship with the Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land’s (TPL) Conservation Finance Program and its affiliate The Conservation Campaign (TCC) are pleased to announce the establishment of a one-year fellowship focused on Campaigns, Elections, Lobbying and Funding for Parks and Land Conservation. During a one-year term, the fellow will work in the Boston headquarters in close collaboration with TPL conservation finance staff across the U.S. to help in all aspects of TPL’s work to create new public funding for land conservation and parks.
The fellow will report directly to the National Research Director and will be directly engaged in projects that lead to the research, design and passage of legislation and ballot measures for land conservation and parks. TPL operates primarily in a “technical assistance” mode wherein we serve as trusted advisors that provide technical assistance to elected officials that seek our help to explore whether, and how, to create new public funding for land conservation and parks. View the complete position description here.