Bipartisanship in Mass., will extend nationally
Q: What does the outcome of the Massachusetts Senate election mean for the chances of a climate bill passing the Senate this year?
The experience here in Massachusetts is: 100 percent auction of greenhouse gas permits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has worked well and produced new funds for our $2 billion, three year energy efficiency program (by far the largest per capita in the U.S.); 10X wind and 15X solar in four years under Governor Deval Patrick, rapid growth in green jobs (e.g. more than doubled solar employment in 2 yrs and 4X installer firm base); advanced statewide building code and optional super-efficient "stretch code" being adopted by several municipalities; net metering and rate decoupling; long term contracts for renewable energy projects; and, doubling in the rate of growth in the state renewable portfolio standard mandate.
These measures were enacted in June 2008 on a fully bipartisan basis after 18 months of deliberation in landmark omnibus energy reform legislation called the Green Communities Act. Sen. Scott Brown's republican colleague Sen. Bruce Tarr of Gloucester was a conferee and the final bill won full bipartisan support including from Sen. Brown. The Waxman-Markey legislation would generally not supersede any of these strong state mandates for 10 to 15 years or more and rightly resists the costly and ill-conceived push to disrupt our strong competitive, low carbon energy markets with expansion of federal mandates on paying for transmission.
On the basis of representing Massachusetts state and economic interests and existing strong state policies, I'm optimistic Sen. Brown will join Sen. Kerry in getting strong national legislation that puts the rest of the country on the job-creating low carbon trajectory the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has already embarked upon.