Rep. Stanley asks Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture to consider environmental bills

In a letter to the Chairs of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, Rep. Stanley urged favorable action on two bills that would protect the Commonwealth’s forests and promote clean energies: H.897 relative to forest protection and H.853, legislation to assure the attainment of greenhouse gas emissions in the alternative portfolio standard.

Forests are critical for mitigating the effects of climate change, preserving native wildlife and habitats, safeguarding soils, providing clean air and water, and offering our residents public recreational spaces. Unfortunately, most land policies on the books are decades old and were made long before the crises of climate change, loss of biodiversity, and surging population growth become the problems they are today. H.897 would designate all Massachusetts state conservation land (~610,000 acres) as parks or reserves. This will keep carbon stored in the trees and soil and increase the rate of carbon sequestration by our forests. The bill also protects native biodiversity by permanently preserving 11% of the Massachusetts land base – an important step toward the recommended 30% to 50% of land needed to avert massive animal and plant extinctions.

H.853 requires Massachusetts to remove the word “biomass” from the Alternative Portfolio Standard, which promotes renewable hearing. This ensures that the Commonwealth’s renewable energy subsidies are directed to clean energies such as wind, solar, and geothermal, rather than burning wood. H.853 addresses the misperception that burning wood is not harmful towards the environment. Studies have shown that burning wood produces more CO2 emissions than even the dirtiest fossil fuels as well as particulates and other air pollutants that are hazardous to human health.