“The choice before us is simple. Will we continue to subsidize the dirty fossil fuels of the past, or will we transition to 21st century clean, renewable energy?” – U.S. Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Good question. To us, the choice is crystal clear. There is but one plausible answer if we are to avert the most devastating impacts of climate change. Thankfully, Massachusetts is sending to Capitol Hill two new leaders – Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren and Congressman-elect Joseph Kennedy III – who have declared firm commitments to fight climate change and promote a clean energy future.
They clearly and consistently have pledged to work to end huge giveaways to Big Oil and other dirty fossil fuel interests, and instead to promote investment in energy efficiency, renewables, and home-grown clean energy jobs. They get it that advancing clean energy is essential not only for confronting climate change, but also for promoting jobs and economic development, saving money by reducing energy waste, investing locally rather than sending billions of Massachusetts dollars to unfriendly dirty fuel-producing nations, and reducing health impacts and healthcare costs as we reduce air and water pollution.
CLF is eager to work with Massachusetts’ newly minted Senator-elect Warren and Congressman-elect Kennedy – and the rest of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation – to translate these laudable aspirations into concrete measures.
The election of Congressman Kennedy also heralds a noteworthy new era in a related respect: Kennedy admirably has demonstrated the courage of his convictions in breaking with prominent members of his family – and joining with his predecessor Congressman Barney Frank, Senator-elect Warren, and other members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation – to support the Cape Wind offshore wind energy project. True, Cape Wind has all of its state and federal approvals and is ready to go. But it can’t hurt to have supportive leaders on Capitol Hill who are ready to fend off last-ditch efforts by dirty energy-funded interests seeking to gin up Congressional witch hunts to derail the project.
Also on election day, Massachusetts residents in seven communities – Beverly, Canton, Fall River, Great Barrington, Salem, Somerset, and Somerville – reinforced a strong and growing commitment to invest in thriving communities through the adoption of the Community Preservation Act. These communities joined 148 other Massachusetts cities towns that have voted to raise their property taxes in order to preserve open space and historic structures, build affordable housing, and develop recreational fields. With more than one hundred Massachusetts communities also having joined the Commonwealth’s Green Communities Program since 2008 to invest in local clean energy initiatives, the people of Massachusetts continue to grow their commitments to invest in healthy, livable communities.
So, what’s next? One of the biggest challenges ahead during the upcoming Massachusetts legislative session will be to solve the issue of our underfunded and overextended transportation systems. After all, we need to connect all of these thriving communities more reliably, affordably and with environmentally responsible options.