Senate Democrats Propose Pathway to Clean Energy Future

Sep 23, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

In a sweeping move, U.S. Senate Democrats have introduced a national energy bill aimed at creating a clean energy future for our country. As CLF continues our fight to make New England a leader on this issue, we applaud legislators in D.C. for striving to make real progress on the national stage for our environment, our economy and the health of our communities. If our country is going to have a chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change and transitioning off of expensive and economically volatile fossil fuels, we need to talk about bold solutions like the ones proposed this week by 25 Democratic members of the United States Senate.

The American Energy Innovation Act of 2015, sponsored by Senator Maria Cantwell, includes the following provisions:

• Improve consumer access to energy information;
• Create a federal Energy Efficiency Resource Standard and support for “smart” buildings;
• Invest in energy storage and the integration of clean energy onto the electric grid;
• Improve grid security and address natural gas leaks in the distribution system;
Cut GHG emissions equivalent to all passenger vehicles and 1/3 U.S homes, while securing carbon reductions from other countries;
• Fund energy science research, investment in clean energy, and cyber security research;
• Provide clean energy job training and a model energy workforce curriculum;
• Reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund; and
• Repeal fossil fuel subsidies.

These are the types of solutions we need, and we can’t afford to wait any longer.

As President Obama said in a recent press conference, “We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.” CLF applauds Senator Cantwell and all cosponsors of this bill – including New England’s own Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) – for doing something about it.

Solving New England’s Natural Gas Problem (Hint: It’s Not through Big New Pipelines)

Sep 17, 2015 by  | Bio |  2 Comment »

For a few hours a day, on 50 days of the year, New England has a gas problem – not enough natural gas is available to meet demand for both heat and electricity. Two years ago, this problem led to dramatic spikes in the price of natural gas and the cost of electricity. Since then, how to solve that problem has been the source of political, economic and environmental debate.


Download our white paper to learn how liquefied natural gas can help solve New England’s gas problem – without hurting our climate, our wallets, or our drive towards clean, renewable energy.

The solution most often pushed by many corporate and government entities is to “flood the market” with new gas via one or more big new pipelines, with the multi-billion dollar cost to be borne by electric ratepayers (in other words, all of us). But that’s hardly the only solution – nor is it the most efficient, timely, or cost effective.

Since that troubled winter two years ago, as the clamor for big new pipelines has grown, Conservation Law Foundation has been examining alternative solutions. In a new white paper developed for CLF by Skipping Stone Consultants, we show how we can avoid the expense and long-term impacts of new infrastructure by instead maximizing the use of the pipelines and other infrastructure we already have. This solution not only addresses the supply problem on those few hours of the 50 coldest winter days, it also saves industrial, commercial, and residential customers millions of dollars. And it circumvents the need for costly and enormously inefficient infrastructure that will ultimately undermine regional efforts to meet the urgent challenge of climate change.

The Myth vs. The Reality

Pipeline proponents would have us believe that there is a gas shortage in New England and that the only way to save businesses and individuals from unreasonable electricity price spikes is to build massive new pipelines into and across the region.

It’s true that, as managed now, New England’s natural gas delivery system – its pipelines, storage and import facilities – can’t deliver enough natural gas to meet demand during that short winter period when gas is in high demand for heat and electricity. But the reality is, New England’s pipeline problem is not one of capacity, but of deliverability. For the majority of the year, the region’s natural gas system operates at less than 50% capacity. On those coldest days when natural gas is in highest demand, the problem comes down to efficiency and deliverability – meaning we can’t get the gas to a specific location at a specific time to meet that demand.

Understanding New England’s current “gas problem” as one of deliverability rather than pipeline capacity reframes the debate – and makes clear the most efficient, timely, and cost-effective solution: increasing our use of the region’s existing liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure.

New Pipelines Will Hurt, Not Help

Building the massive new pipelines currently proposed is the most expensive and least effective means of addressing our current problem. It takes years to build a new pipeline – meaning it will be years before any of us see any benefits in our electric bills. What’s more, you and I could even see an increase in our bills if proposals to fund these new pipelines on the backs of ratepayers move forward.

These hard costs of construction and ratepayer impact are easy to track. What’s harder to measure – and arguably more important – is the long-term impact on our climate if we fail to take meaningful steps to shift our power grid away from reliance on fossil fuels like natural gas. Yes, gas is considered cleaner than coal and oil by many – but that’s all relative, given that methane, a byproduct of natural gas production, is up to 80 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon. With regulatory regimes like the Clean Power Plan and existing New England state regulations mandating aggressive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, major investments that would increase our consumption of natural gas simply don’t make environmental or economic sense.

LNG Can Make A Difference This Winter

The best means of solving New England’s winter gas issue is to better utilize our existing natural gas infrastructure – specifically, our existing LNG facilities. LNG import terminals provide a ready supply of natural gas on pipelines from the east that are currently underutilized – the use of which will relieve constraints on the remaining pipeline system. Local gas distribution companies have LNG storage facilities that have ten times the capacity of our existing pipeline system. Right now, those storage tanks are filled at the beginning of the winter and then drained down over the heating season.

We propose that this storage be supplemented all winter long, to ensure supplies can be available and distributed throughout the existing New England-wide storage network. This would shore up the amount of LNG stored in the region during the winter months. The combination of LNG from the import terminals to the east and from storage units throughout the region would supplement the natural gas supply coming in through existing pipelines – freeing up more of that existing pipeline capacity for use by electric power plants.

The LNG needed to supply this approach can be contracted for with short-term contracts, unlike the locked-in 20-year commitment of a new pipeline. This means lower costs, saving local gas distributors and all of us ratepayers more than $340 million a year – and as much as $4.4 billion over 20 years – compared to building a big new pipeline. It also means greater flexibility for New England to make the necessary transition to rapidly developing clean alternatives – such as battery storage and increased distributed solar. And, even better, this solution is technically feasible and could be implemented this winter.

Learn More

Download our white paper to read more about how better use of our LNG infrastructure can address our gas deliverability problem efficiently and effectively – in ways that are good for our wallets and our environment.

Low Cost of Renewable Power

Sep 10, 2015 by  | Bio |  1 Comment »

photo courtesy of Theodore Scott @

photo courtesy of Theodore Scott @

Whether you are looking to put solar panels on your roof or joining with neighbors for a new community solar project, you know that the cost of renewable energy has come down a lot in the past few years.

For many customers, using solar or wind guarantees stable or lower electric bills for years to come.

And it reduces pollution as we collectively rely less and less on dirty and polluting fossil fuels to keep our gadgets going and our homes comfortable.

On a larger scale, renewable energy is having the same effect on electricity prices in New England.  Apart from reducing pollution, a key benefit to most renewable energy, like wind and solar, is their low or zero fuel cost. When the sun shines or the wind blows, they produce power and no one is sending them a fuel bill.

Most power plants in the region need to pay for coal, oil, gas or uranium for fuel. The operating cost for these plants depends heavily on their cost of fuel. The cost of fuel gets passed on to customers and often dictates the price we pay for electricity. When fuel prices go up, the cost of electricity goes up.

As more and more renewable power becomes available in the region, low or zero fuel costs from the wind, sun or water are driving down the cost of electricity for everyone.

A recent report and activities by the ISO-New England, which is responsible for maintaining the reliability of our electric grid, confirms this.

This is good news for our pocket books and for the environment.

Our electric grid is a marvel of physics. Because electricity cannot be easily stored, the grid must balance the supply from large and small power generators with the demand caused by anything that we plug in. It is a bit like having a big dinner party and needing to keep everyone’s water glass filled without using a pitcher of water. You’ll have to keep the water from springs, wells and hoses available at just the right amount, and then keep the flow in the faucet to the exact amount needed, all the time.

To do this for electricity, the grid is managed in part by calling on generators to run when needed. The price for this wholesale power is set on an hourly basis by using auctions. The least expensive generators are called into service first and the last generator called into service to meet demand sets the price for all generators during that hour. That is why we pay a lot for electricity on hot summer days. Meeting demand when many air conditioners are running requires lots of electricity, including running some of the most expensive fossil-fuel plants.

Supplies that can operate at low cost, like wind and solar, can and do set the price we all pay during some hours. During the polar vortex in 2014, wind power reduced the wholesale price in New England by $26 million.  For a few hours last winter, renewable energy supplies actually set a negative price.

The value of their renewable energy credits, which they sell for every kilowatt hour they produce, mean that their operating cost is actually less than zero. The low cost of renewables drives down the wholesale price. If coal, gas or nuclear plants are operating in those hours, they not only don’t get paid for their energy, but they will have to pay the ISO. This puts further pressure on polluting plants to close down and not operate.

As renewable energy supply continues to grow to meet our region’s climate change mandates, our grid will have more and more of these lower cost power resources available. These will not only push aside fossil fuel plants that will be too expensive to run, it will also lower overall electricity prices for everyone.

One study in connection with the almost 500 megawatts of wind power expected from the Cape Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts estimated a price reduction benefit of about $185 million annually. That is not only a lot less money that we will all pay for electricity, but a lot less pollution as well.

Guest Blog: Fuel Tracking Makes Sense for Massachusetts

Sep 3, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Conservation Law Foundation has been working closely with the Union of Concerned Scientists and other partners to advance legislation that would implement transportation fuel tracking in Massachusetts. What is fuel tracking and why is it important? David Babson, senior engineer for Union of Concerned Scientists’ Clean Vehicles Program explains:

I have been traveling to Massachusetts a lot lately. I like Massachusetts, I attended college there, I met my wife there, her family still lives there, and I genuinely like Bay Staters. However, my recent travels have not been to visit old friends and family. Instead, I have been spending time in MA talking to its legislators about fuel tracking, a policy designed to monitor changes in the Commonwealth’s transportation fuel mix and the progress it may be making in reducing its climate emissions.

Tackling climate change in MA: More steps forward and no steps back

Perhaps one of the reasons I like MA so much is that its combination of tough-minded, hardworking, well-educated, and progressive residents make it very entrepreneurial. This innovative spirit extends to both its business community and its political culture; so it is no surprise that MA is one of the leaders in dealing with climate change. In fact, MA established its Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) to create a framework for reducing climate emissions nearly seven years ago. To achieve the ambitious goal of 80% reductions in climate emissions by 2050, it requires reductions from all sectors of the economy, including the transportation sector. But the changing state of oil complicates these efforts because not having good data about the transportation fuels being used in MA makes it difficult to verify how much progress MA is really making toward achieving its climate goals.

When it comes to climate emissions from transportation fuels, tailpipe emissions from our vehicles are not the full story. Just as it matters whether our electricity comes from a coal burning power plant or a wind farm, it matters from which sources of oil we refine our fuels.

In 2008, the year MA began implementing the GWSA, North Dakota (ND) extracted fewer than 63 million barrels of oil from its Bakken shale. In the intervening years, as MA began tackling its climate emissions, oil extraction in ND’s Bakken ballooned 535% to nearly 400 million barrels in 2014. During the first two months of this year oil extraction was greater than that produced in all of 2008, and it is on track to top 400 million barrels by the end of 2015. Unfortunately, the lifecycle climate emissions from Bakken oil can be quite high, due to excessive flaring and venting of methane gas, and a growing share of this oil has been flowing to east coast refineries, whose resulting fuels have found their way into the MA fuel mix.

Thus, while MA has worked to reduce its climate emissions over the past 7 years, a critical climate impact factor – its fuel’s carbon intensity – has been changing under its feet without any notice. And I suspect that as a result of these changes, the carbon intensity of MA’s fuel mix is greater today than it was just seven years ago. Fuel tracking is needed to accurately estimate MA’s transportation sector climate emissions and to ensure it continues to take the needed steps towards achieving its climate goals.

Better data are needed to ensure MA is on course to meet its climate goals

The fact of the matter is that changes to the MA fuel mix will continue. Perhaps more Bakken oil will contribute to the mix in the years to come, perhaps, as predicted, tar sands oil may begin entering MA in greater proportions, perhaps both will happen, or possibly neither. The point here is that the carbon intensity of MA transportation fuel is changing, and if we don’t ask the right questions, we certainly won’t get a complete accounting.

Climate emissions from the transportation sector are the single largest source of climate emissions in the Commonwealth, but a full climate accounting for these fuels cannot be quantified because the refineries from which the fuels are arriving in MA are not disclosed. Cutting fuel use is critically important, but if the fuels entering the state are getting dirtier, the hard won emissions reductions from reducing consumption could be being offset by the higher upstream emissions from dirtier fuels.

MA Climate Emissions by Sector

Luckily, MA is considering measures to track its transportation fuels and their associated climate emissions (H745 and S456). This would provide necessary information about the MA fuel mix, allowing progress under the GWSA to be monitored and better policies to be implemented going forward. Without such information it will be difficult to ensure that MA keeps moving forward and its climate emissions keep moving downward.

Opponents of fuel tracking in MA don’t dispute the need – they wrongly dispute its feasibility

On May 28th I attended a legislative committee hearing in MA where I offered testimony supporting tracking and reporting requirements for transportation fuels. More than a dozen individuals and organizations spoke in support of fuel tracking, but one set of testimony stood-out in opposition. This testimony was from the Massachusetts Petroleum Council, a division of the American Petroleum Institute. They did not argue against the need for fuel tracking, or even try to refute that such tracking is required to more accurately estimate fuel carbon intensity; rather, they argued that the mandate would be impossible to fulfill. This is false, and this testimony intentionally attempted to over-complicate the fuel supply chain in order to distract from and blur how minimal the necessary burdens would be. In fact, fuel tracking is already included among broader clean fuel policies in the European Union, British Columbia, California, and elsewhere.

The carbon intensity of MA’s fuel mixture has changed and it will continue to do so. In order to ensure progress is being made to reduce transportation sector climate emissions, fuel tracking is needed. In keeping with its tendency to lead on climate issues, MA may become the first northeast state to adopt fuel tracking measures, but it would not be the last. Regardless of where we live, without fuel tracking, there is great uncertainty about how dirty our fuels actually are – and we have a right to know.

About the author: David Babson is a senior engineer for the Clean Vehicles Program. He focuses on fuel and fuel policy, including advanced biofuels. Based in Washington, D.C., Dr. Babson has extensive research and policy experience. He served as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Transportation and Climate Division, where he reviewed key initiatives like the Renewable Fuel Standard. See David’s full bio.

With Massachusetts’ legislators on the verge of debating this critical fuel tracking bill, we’ll soon be calling on our activist community to take action. Don’t miss this chance to make your voice heard: Sign up for our enewsletter so you’ll be the first to know when you can get involved.

Solar School Success

Sep 2, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

DSC03678The future is bright at one Vermont school. Conservation Law Foundation joined other Vermont environmental groups and a class of fifth grade students to highlight the success of solar energy in Vermont.

We gathered at the Crossett Brook Middle School. The solar project there provides the school with electricity, stable power costs, and a great learning tool. As students play sports on the fields, or look outside their school windows, they see how their school is helping transform Vermont’s power supply and reduce global warming pollution.

The students’ future is certainly bright. They live and go to school in a community with some of the highest per capita production of solar energy in the nation.

Vermonters’ enthusiastic embrace of solar energy advances the state’s green energy economy. There are now more than 58 solar companies based in Vermont, employing more than 1,500 people, and contributing more than 76 million dollars last year to Vermont’s economy. The 138 MW of solar energy currently installed or permitted in Vermont is enough to power more than 22,000 homes while reducing greenhouse gas emissions roughly equivalent to taking 14,000 cars off the road in one year.

Solar power makes sense for Vermont and New England. The cost of solar power has declined more than 30% in the last year. Solar panels can attach to rooftops, industrial sites, or be placed on open land.

By providing power at times when it is most needed, increasing our reliance on solar helps reduce costs for all electric customers. Since solar power is generated close to where it is used, increasing our reliance on solar also reduces our need for expensive new transmission projects to bring power to Vermont from far away places.

With climate change bearing down on all of us, it is refreshing to see how students and local communities are leading the way.



Sunny Days Ahead: Securing Massachusetts’ Role as a Renewable Energy Leader

Aug 7, 2015 by  | Bio |  1 Comment »

Governor Baker’s administration announced late last week that it would file, this week or next, legislation designed to continue the growth of solar power in Massachusetts and achieve the state’s goal of 1,600 megawatts of installed solar capacity by 2020. No details have been released yet on the draft bill, but those are goals that CLF enthusiastically supports.

Solar panels at Exeter Area High School (photo credit: flickr/SayCheeeeeese)

(photo credit: flickr/SayCheeeeeese)

Solar is a sustainable source of carbon-free electricity that must play a central role in our clean energy future. In addition to providing low-cost, clean energy whenever the sun is shining, solar brings extra value to our electric power system. Particularly when oriented to the southwest, solar panels generate power when we need it most, during “peak load” in the late afternoon.

That reduces the need, in the short-term, to turn on dirty, climate-warming fossil fuel “peaker plants.” In the long term, it reduces the need to build more of those plants and the expensive transmission and gas pipeline infrastructure they require.

Importantly, with the cost of installing solar power steadily dropping – down 45% since 2010 nationwide and almost 5% just in the last year in Massachusetts – solar also makes great economic sense. Massachusetts has a healthy, growing solar industry that employs more than 10,000 people statewide. And, for every dollar invested in solar, the state sees $1.20 in economic benefits returned to our local economy – some $950 million dollars last year alone.

So the time is now to continue our leadership in solar energy. Despite its small size and northern latitude, Massachusetts currently ranks an impressive sixth in the nation in installed solar capacity thanks to the solar-friendly policies that we encourage the Baker administration to strengthen and continue.

First and foremost among those policies is net metering, which makes it economical for individuals and businesses to either install solar on their own property or share in the benefit of solar power installed nearby. Despite the state’s commitment to reach 1,600 megawatts of installed solar in the next five years, installations across Massachusetts have slowed as we’ve bumped up against old, outdated net metering caps put in place before we knew solar power’s full value – for the utilities, for the grid, and for the people of Massachusetts. As we anticipate the filing of the Governor’s solar bill, we urge the administration to include provisions to lift those caps (as the state Senate just voted to do) or, better yet, to remove them altogether (as Rhode Island has successfully done).

As Massachusetts works to further develop a comprehensive, long-term renewable energy strategy, we encourage Governor Baker to be bold and secure the state’s role as an innovator and leader in the drive to a clean energy future. Stay tuned for our analysis of the strengths of the final bill once it’s filed.

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Experts Weigh In: Maine Doesn’t Need New Gas Pipelines

Jul 17, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

This week consultants hired by the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) concluded that Maine should not enter into contracts to purchase gas pipeline capacity because the costs of doing so would outweigh the benefits to Mainers.

In many ways, this was a foregone conclusion – one that CLF predicted nearly a year ago and that the PUC itself (unofficially) reached before soliciting proposals from pipeline companies and spending taxpayer dollars on a lengthy consultant’s report. It’s a cautionary tale not just for Maine but for all of New England as the region weighs its energy future – and decides whether it will overinvest in natural gas or blaze a trail based on cleaner, renewable resources.

This process all started back in March 2014. After a cold winter sparked region-wide fears of an imminent shortage of natural gas to power our homes and businesses, Maine’s PUC was tasked with determining whether the state should contract for additional gas capacity under the Maine Energy Cost Reduction Act (MECRA). The PUC approached this work in two phases: first, soliciting and examining evidence and testimony from a variety of interested parties, including CLF, as to the need and economics of gas pipeline capacity procurement. And, second, if the economics made sense, to request proposals from pipeline companies.

CLF testified before the PUC as it gathered the evidence and data it would need to make their determination. We reasoned that Maine should not enter into new contracts with pipeline companies – both because the legal basis for them was suspect (the investment in these new projects would have been paid for by ratepayers, which is unprecedented and risky) and because the costs – to our wallets and our climate – would ultimately outweigh the benefits to consumers.

PUC staff agreed with the economic argument in their own preliminary report, but the Commission nonetheless went ahead and accepted supply proposals from pipeline companies. As required by MECRA, the PUC hired an independent consultant, London Economics International (LEI), to examine these proposals. The consultant’s detailed report compared scenarios in which the state didn’t contract for additional pipeline and ones in which it did (based on the actual proposals the state had received).

LEI’s analysis reinforces both CLF’s testimony and comments and the PUC’s own staff report issued during the first phase of this proceeding: The costs of any contract for Maine to buy natural gas pipeline capacity trumps the benefits. In fact, LEI concluded that, even without Maine entering into a gas contract, gas prices should drop by 25% for Maine customers over the next few years due to already planned, market-based gas capacity expansions. The group also found that electricity prices should drop by 15% due to these lowering gas prices.

The LEI report rightly calls into question whether the PUC should have accepted proposals from gas companies in the first place – a process that has been costly to all participants, expended valuable resources of the PUC, and resulted in no different a conclusion than the PUC’s own staff analysis.

Maine law requires that, for any contracts like these proposed expansions, the benefits must outweigh the costs. The conclusions drawn by the PUC’s expert consultant in their report should prevent Maine from entering into such a contract any time soon.

Ultimately, there’s a larger lesson here – one for every state in the region considering its electricity future. Over this year-long process, the PUC spent hundreds of thousands of (tax-payer) dollars on experts and an intense, litigation-like process, only for their experts to conclude what was readily apparent at the outset – that subsidizing the gas industry on the backs of ratepayers is a bad idea, both economically and for the environment.

Those gas shortage fears that sparked this whole process in the first place ended up being completely unfounded over this past winter. Since then the economics of the energy markets have started to shift, with wholesale electric prices declining by 50% over the past year alone. Meanwhile, energy efficiency is decreasing the need for energy resources, fuel-free renewables are supplanting polluting power plants, and liquefied natural gas has become cost-competitive and available at times of peak need. With at least two new small-scale pipeline projects already set to come on-line and reduce energy costs even more over the next two years, now is the time for the New England states to invest in the stability of the cleanest energy future we can create – one that weans us off of natural gas within the next 35 years.

How Climate Change Could Affect Your Lobster Roll

Jul 6, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Did you think we could finally put this year’s harsh winter behind us? Think again. The summer season has officially started, but it seems our lobster roll – New England’s famed summer seafood – is paying the price for the snowy winter…or at least we are paying the price for the lobster roll.

A lobster at the Isles of Shoals, off the coast of Maine/New Hampshire. Photo credit: Brian Skerry/NEOO.

Lobsters are available in New England year round, but any New Englander will tell you that the true lobster season kicks-off in the summertime. This is when the sweeter, juicier soft shell lobsters, often known as “shedders,” undergo molting, a growth process during which the crustaceans shed their old, too-small shells and grow new, larger ones. After the molting process is complete, the lobsters then migrate closer inshore where they are readily available for lobstermen to haul up in their traps.

So far this season there have been numerous news stories on the increasing price of lobster. On average, lobster per pound prices are already $1 to $2 more expensive than last year’s, a trend that University of Maine researchers have attributed to lower ocean temperatures due to the past winter.

Ocean water temperature heavily influences the timing and frequency of the molting process, which in turn influences when lobsters are ready for harvest. Adult lobsters living in colder waters will typically only molt once a year and are known to have later molting periods compared to those in warmer waters. Since the harsh winter caused a drop in ocean temperatures, the lobster molting season in New England has been delayed, at least compared to recent years. This has resulted in a lower supply of lobsters and a slower, more expensive start to the summer lobster season.

As Dr. Bob Steneck from the University of Maine told Business Insider, this summer “will be a one-molt season, based on temperatures,” and that molt will likely not occur until July or August. Unfortunately, until that occurs, we can expect to pay a little more for our lobster dinners.

Don’t let the cooler water temperatures fool you, though; if anything, this summer is a glimpse into the past. The start of this year is contrary to recent trends we are seeing in the lobster industry – lucky for our wallets, not so lucky for the lobsters. Lobsters are a cold-water species that will continually face the impacts of climate change such as warming ocean temperatures and ocean acidification on a daily basis.

Climate change is the reason why we saw record high lobster landings and low prices in 2012 and 2013. Warming ocean temperatures triggered an early molting and migration season for lobsters, leading to a high supply early on in the summer. Also, since the molting occurred so early, we experienced a two-molt season, which is atypical for New England waters and leads to a high supply of lobsters throughout the summer.

These conditions are not sustainable for lobsters. In warmer temperatures, lobsters are forced to use more energy for respiration, and therefore have less available for feeding, growth, energy storage, and reproduction. A lobster’s immune response is also compromised by the warmer water, which is evident from the upsurge in occurrences of shell disease.

We must not let the current season fool us – climate change still remains a great threat to our lobster populations. Global warming rates are not slowing down; they are occurring faster than ever. The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of the rest of the ocean. In an attempt to understand climate change impacts on the lobster industry and help the lobster industry better prepare for the season, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute has started a lobster forecasting project and was able to accurately predict the late start for this year’s season.

Unfortunately, this prediction model has come too late for the southern New England lobster industry, which has all but disappeared as the lobsters migrated north in search of cooler waters. Hopefully, in the Gulf of Maine, it can be a new tool in our climate change adaptation belt.

CLF Announces Bradley Campbell as New President

May 21, 2015 by  | Bio |  2 Comment »

As a member of the CLF community, I want you to be among the first to know that Conservation Law Foundation has named a new president, Bradley M. Campbell. Brad is a nationally recognized environmental leader and energy entrepreneur who has held senior roles at the White House, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Most recently, he served as principal of the law firm he founded in 2006.


Bradley Campbell has been named CLF’s new president.

We are truly honored and thrilled to have Brad leading the CLF team. His depth of experience, national reputation, and expansive network will take our work to unparalleled heights during a critical time as we work to build our clean energy future, counter climate change, and safeguard the health and prosperity of New England communities.

For the past 25 years, Brad has been at the forefront of shaping some of the country’s most significant environmental policy and laws. A former White House senior appointee during the Clinton administration, Brad has also served as Director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Mid-Atlantic office and spent four years served as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. In 2006 Brad launched a law firm with a focus on issues involving the environment, energy, entrepreneurship, and science. He also founded an energy company that has developed some of the largest commercial-scale renewable energy projects in the northeastern United States.

Brad’s long experience overseeing large public agencies, developing strategic litigation, and negotiating innovative agreements has led to environmental milestones in New England and across the United States. He worked alongside CLF to initiate and negotiate the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and recently took to the editorial pages of the New York Times to call out New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for shortchanging New Jersey residents in favor of a sweetheart settlement deal with Exxon Mobil over its years-long polluting legacy in the state, which has led to the destruction of creeks, wetlands, and other wildlife.

But even as Brad is ready to take on powerful opponents (and win), he also stands up for local communities. One of his most significant achievements as principal of his law firm included going to court on the side of a low-income community whose drinking water had been poisoned by unmitigated pollution.

Though Brad has lived in New Jersey for many years, he’s no stranger to New England. An avid sailor, Brad and his wife Katherine have sailed from New Jersey to their summer home in Maine, and he also has family roots in New Hampshire. While Brad officially takes the helm on September 8, 2015, he will be spending a lot of time in New England this spring and summer getting to know the CLF community. In the meantime, I’ll share Brad’s own words on his excitement about the future of CLF:

What the Federal government struggles to achieve in shutting down fossil fuels and securing a clean energy future for the United States is already happening in New England right here, right now led by Conservation Law Foundation. When we tip the balance in a region like New England, it has a profound impact for the entire nation and even the world. I am excited to lead CLF’s smart and devoted staff, volunteers, and community of supporters as we write a new chapter in protecting the region’s environment, communities, and future prosperity.

Thank you all for your support and understanding as we’ve searched for CLF’s next president. Thanks to your unwavering commitment to CLF, we’ve been able to continue our work without pause and have already achieved many milestones in this year.

I look forward to you getting to know Brad. He is going to be a positive force for CLF’s future direction and for the environmental and economic security of the people of New England. Brad Campbell will make a difference to all of us.