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Energy & Environment

 

 


 

OVERVIEW

We have a responsibility to urgently address the critical environmental issues that, if untouched, will cause irreparable harm for future generations. Climate change is a very real crisis that requires American leadership. Our country’s addiction to foreign oil and fossil fuels puts not only our environment, but also our economy and national security at risk.  This is not a political issue; this is a critical generational responsibility that will take a commitment from Washington and from each of us here at home.

Addressing climate change and reducing our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions will also create high paying job opportunities if we invest in this technology now. 

Instead of ceding green tech jobs to our competitors in China, we should give ourselves an opportunity to create high paying jobs and grow this industry.

Here in Massachusetts, jobs in the clean energy industry grew by 11.9% in 2015 and now represent 3.3% of the state’s labor market, according to the 2015 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report. The Third District stands ready to compete globally in developing and manufacturing the clean energy technologies that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency. Growing companies here are developing solar and fuel cell technology and new ways of transporting energy – companies like  Yaskawa - Solectria Solar in Lawrence, , and AvCarb in Lowell. Locations around the Third District, such as Everett Mills in Lawrence (solar) and Wachusett Community college in Gardner (wind), are harnessing the power of clean energy to fuel their innovation.

The Third District’s educational institutions are expanding to include new innovation technology centers that will pave the way for future pioneering in this field.

I am a founding member of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition and I have been a member of the Natural Resources Committee for more than five years, working to oversee legislation related to domestic energy production, National Parks, rivers, forests, oceans and wilderness areas. This Committee is particularly appropriate considering the vast and unique landscape that makes up the Third District, including two national historical parks, two national heritage areas, three national wildlife refuges and three rivers protected under the Wild and Scenic River designation.

In 2015, I was named the highest ranking Democratic member on the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands. The Subcommittee on Federal Lands is responsible for all matters related to the National Park System, U.S. Forests, public lands and national monuments. This leadership position will allow me a platform to continue and expand my work in multiple areas important to the district I represent, and to the country as a whole. The Third District of Massachusetts is home to several national historic and wildlife areas, such as Minuteman National Historical Park and Lowell National Historical Park.

 



NATURAL GAS

New England, like many areas around the country, faces energy challenges. We need careful and strategic long-term planning in order to lower energy prices and maintain reliability. Many residents and businesses are having difficulties absorbing the increasing costs of electricity in place for the winter months of 2016-2017.

Increasing access to reliable sources of natural gas could help address some of New England’s energy challenges, including energy prices which have historically been above the national average, however there is no guarantee.

While natural gas is not a renewable resource or the answer to global warming, in the near term natural gas can serve to diminish a number of public health threats caused by generating electricity because power plants burning natural gas produce less air pollution than coal-burning plants.   However, we must ensure the process for extracting natural gas from our land is done safely and responsibly and does not displace investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar.

I have cosponsored several pieces of legislation and have written to the Administration multiple times in support of stronger environmental protections for fracking activities. For example, I am a cosponsor of a package of bills called the Frack Pack, which would strengthen federal fracking safety rules, will close loopholes for the oil and gas industry under the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act, and require companies to document baseline water quality conditions before fracking begins.  And, I support implementing all of the Natural Resources Defense Council fracking safeguards

SEEC

As a founding member of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), I am working to help identify opportunities to support and improve energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts. Our caucus is focused on ensuring that no opportunity is missed to adopt tangible climate change policy and help American firms participate in the next wave of technological expansion.

 


 

CLEAN ENERGY AND GREEN TECHNOLOGY

Our nation stands poised to lead the green revolution that will create the next generation of research and manufacturing jobs. Many companies in the Third District are leading this charge towards innovation. In fact, in 2015 a Mass Clean Energy Center report demonstrated a 11.9% growth in green energy jobs in Massachusetts.

The use of solar and wind power is growing, businesses in the area are producing state-of-the-art products and parts to help make clean energy more effective and efficient; and educational institutions are expanding to include new innovation technology centers that will pave the way for future pioneering in this field. Massachusetts’ leadership in innovation and technology is reflected in the clean energy industry as our state attracts more early-stage clean energy investment per capita than any other state in the nation. To build upon this growth and continue our leadership, there should be a national focus on investing in and developing clean energy technology, which will be a benefit locally and nationally. I support clean energy legislation because it will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create the jobs of the future. 

WIND ENERGY

Investment in wind energy is directly responsible for creating American manufacturing jobs. According to the American Wind Energy Association, 88% of all U.S. wind turbines installed in 2015 were manufactured by companies with at least one facility in the United States. Massachusetts is home to nine wind-related manufacturing facilities, and I have spoken on the House floor in strong support of greater investments in our domestic renewable energy industries.

First established through the Energy Policy Act of 1992, the wind production tax credit (PTC) provides a tax credit of 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity produced from utility scale turbines. It has helped to grow the American wind industry, supporting the creation of 75,000 jobs. In the past five years alone, wind power accounts for 35 percent of all new energy generating capacity. In 2015, I was proud to support legislation to extend the PTC through 2019 so that it may continue to support thousands of manufacturing jobs and help our nation make the move towards more renewable sources of energy.

SOLAR POWER

The use of solar power is spreading in the Third District, from commercial rooftops to apple orchards. For example, in September 2012 I attended the ground breaking of a new solar installation at the Lowell Landfill Site. The City of Lowell partnered with Ameresco to install over 6,000 photovoltaic solar panels that will generate 1.5 megawatts on top of the old Landfill site in the Highlands. The installation was completed in 2013 and is just one phase of a citywide solar power initiative.

Also in 2012, Everett mills in Lawrence opened a solar panel array on the rooftop of its historic building. By utilizing this new technology, the building will provide safe, clean and affordable energy to businesses located in the mill. I was committed to helping clear lines of communication to ensure the project was able to continue without delay. The installation also used products made locally, helping to support local businesses and jobs.

At the end of 2015, the 3rd District had 133 Megawatts of solar power installed, enough to provide more than 6000 homes with electricity on a sunny day.

 


 

PROTECTING OUR NATURAL RESOURCES

Public lands protect some of the places that have shaped and defined who we are as a people, and a country, and would not have been protected without support from the federal government. Generation after generation of Americans have endorsed the idea that our public lands should be managed for the benefit of all Americans to support a wide range of activities. This includes recreation and sportsmen’s activities, responsible resource extraction, economic and energy development, conservation of land, wildlife habitat, and watersheds, and to create efficiencies in federal land stewardship. Public lands must continue to be managed on behalf of all the American people, no matter where they may live.

I strongly support full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which provides grants to States and local governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities, as well as funding for conservation strategies on our nation’s public lands. For over 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has carried out a simple bipartisan idea: use revenues from the depletion of one resource, offshore oil and gas, to conserve another, our land and water, and provide recreation opportunities for all Americans. By using revenues from offshore oil and gas leases, LWCF does not cost a dime to American taxpayers and does not contribute to the federal deficit.

I was proud to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Land and Water Conservation Fund in Chelmsford with the Director of the National Park Service in August of 2014. I was also a leader in 2015 to reauthorize the fund and increase its funding for 2016, and will continue working for its permanent reauthorization.

RIVERS OF THE THIRD DISTRICT 

The rivers in the District play an important role in our communities today, and in our history. I recognize this each year by hosting River Day, when I join a group of volunteers to visit various rivers and sites around the district to promote the conservation and importance of our region’s beautiful natural resources. I was honored to host Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel during River Day 2015. The 2016 River Day marked this event's 10th anniversary.

I also wrote legislation to help designate the Nashua River as a “Wild and Scenic” river. This classification would help preserve and protect this historic waterway while making it eligible to receive federal funding for further conservation efforts. In June 2014, the House of Representatives passed this bill with unanimous, bipartisan support and it was signed into law by President Obama in December 2014. The National Park Service is currently working on the study.

GROUNDWORK USA

Creating green-space and public parks in urban communities is an excellent way to revitalize neighborhoods and further economic development in our cities.  The City of Lawrence has worked extensively with Groundwork Lawrence to transform blighted areas of the city into usable community space.  I introduced legislation to create a Groundwork USA Trusts Program that would provide grants of up to $400,000 to local communities for development programs that address Brownfields and blighted urban environments.  The total authorization would be $15 million for each fiscal year through FY2021, which would allow Groundwork USA to produce 5-8 new Trusts each year.  Last year alone, every federal dollar invested in Groundwork USA projects was leveraged to $15 by local Trusts through private donations.

 


 

OUR NATIONAL PARKS

Find a national park near you!

I serve on the Natural Resources Committee and was named Ranking Member of the Federal Lands Subcommittee, which oversees America's National Parks. In June of 2013, I was honored by the bipartisan, nonprofit group the National Parks Conservation Association with an award for my support of National Parks in Congress for the second year in a row.

I am fortunate to represent two outstanding National Parks in the Third District. The extraordinary transformation of Lowell began when the Lowell National Historical Parkwas established within the city’s core in 1978, the first urban national park of its kind in the United States. The park has been instrumental in preserving and protecting the historic landscape of the city and revitalizing the economic and physical condition of the downtown area.

Every year, thousands of people visit Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord to see first-hand where the shot heard ‘round the world was fired and where the American Revolution began. The National Parks Service plays a vital role in preserving these important pieces of our history as well as our wild spaces and landscapes. As the National Park Service celebrates its 100th Anniversary, I will continue to work to ensure that these natural treasures can be enjoyed for generations to come

BARRETT FARM

In 2009 President Obama signed my bill to protect Colonel James Barrett's farmhouse, allowing this historic site, which was the impetus for the British march on Concord and Lexington, to be brought within the boundaries of Minute Man National Park. This action ensures that current and future generations can learn about the important role it played in the birth of our nation. In October of 2012, I celebrated, along with the organization Save Our Heritage, the completed restoration and transfer of ownership of the Barrett Farm.

Read more about Barrett Farm by clicking here

SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR VISITS

At my invitation, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined me for River Day 2015 and to celebrate our region’s national parks, Lowell National Historical Park and Minute Man National Historical Park. Previously, former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar visited Lowell at my invitation for a tour of the Lowell National Historical Park, the nation’s first urban National Park.  I urged Secretary Salazar to visit Lowell NHP to see a firsthand example of the important role that National Parks can play in both the economic development and cultural preservation of cities. Following the tour, the Secretary commented that Lowell NHP could be "a model" for urban national parks throughout the nation, including in such cities as St. Louis and Los Angeles.

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