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FGCU launches free workshops to foster equity, retain workers; Supreme Court throws out race claim in SC redistricting case in win for GOP; as millions hit the roads, MI lawmakers consider extra driving fees; CT groups prepare for World Fish Migration Day.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Bills Aim to Close Biomass Loopholes in MA Clean Energy Laws

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Wednesday, June 21, 2023   

Environmental and community health advocates in Massachusetts are backing new legislation they say will close loopholes in the state's clean energy laws and end renewable energy subsidies for burning woody biomass.

Lawmakers ensured wood-burning power plants were no longer eligible for credits through the state's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard last session but loopholes in the state's clean energy laws still subsidize burning wood for heat and energy.

Laura Haight, U.S. policy director for the nonprofit Partnership for Policy Integrity, called the bills "common sense."

"We should not be using Massachusetts subsidies intended to clean up our air and benefit our climate to subsidize these polluting sources of energy," Haight asserted.

Haight pointed out burning wood is a major source of fine particulate emissions, which are a serious health hazard. EPA data show residential and commercial wood heating account for 83% of fine particulate emissions in the Massachusetts heating sector.

Environmental activists call wood-burning a "double whammy" for the climate, releasing stored carbon into the atmosphere while burning the very trees needed to absorb the carbon.

Haight acknowledged Massachusetts has been a national leader on climate change and has a chance to lead again.

"Our laws were not perfect to begin with," Haight noted. "But we are looking at it, we are learning from the science and we are correcting them."

Haight has high hopes for the legislation as Gov. Maura Healy supported both proposals during her run for office. The Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee has scheduled two hearings on the bills for June 28.

Disclosure: The Partnership for Policy Integrity contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, and Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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