Accurately Track Methane Emissions
An Act making methane accounting truthful helps, or the MATH Act
Methane has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide (CO2) over the first 20 years after it reaches the atmosphere. Even though CO2 has a longer-lasting effect, an estimated 25% of global warming is driven by human-caused methane emissions. Yet, Massachusetts’ emissions estimates use inaccurate factors when it comes to accounting for methane emissions, leading to a dramatic undercount of the state’s methane and total emissions. This inaccurate accounting leads to insufficient policy. My bill requires the use of scientifically accurate warming impact factors for methane emissions and requires regular, accurate updating of greenhouse gas emissions estimates.
Address Carbon Pollution in Building Materials
An Act incorporating embodied carbon into state climate policy
The building sector is a major consumer of energy and driver of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to a commitment to energy efficient or net-zero energy buildings, the Commonwealth must also reduce embodied carbon in building materials, and operational carbon emitted as a result of operating the building. My bill creates a state-wide body to oversee the roll out of best practices in measuring and tracking carbon, help boost carbon counting literacy for all those engaged in the building sector, and change building codes with a goal of reducing the carbon embodied in buildings and carbon emissions.
» Embodied Carbon (S.2090) Fact Sheet by the Massachusetts Climate Action Network
Advance Equity in Agriculture
An Act promoting equity in agriculture
The state has an obligation to set agricultural policy that ensures that all Massachusetts residents have equal opportunity to farm. We know people of color are significantly underrepresented among Commonwealth farmers, but we do not have the data, understanding, or plans needed to promote increased diversity and opportunity. My bill establishes a Commission on Agricultural Equity to develop recommendations for supporting investments, policies, and practices that promote racial equity in agriculture in the Commonwealth.
Align Energy System Planning with our Needs
An Act reforming energy system planning for equity and climate transformation (RESPECT Act)
Under current law, energy system planning is done almost exclusively by electric and gas utilities. This inherent conflict of interest results in utilities pursuing their own short-term financial interests while ignoring equity and environmental justice concerns. My bill separates the planning function from the ownership of utilities. The bill delegates energy system planning to an accountable agency that would consider affordability, equity, climate requirements, and environmental justice goals for all fuels in all plans.
Encourage Food Donations
An Act encouraging the donation of food to persons in need
Food insecurity levels across the Commonwealth remain high, but approximately 900,000 tons of food still end up in Massachusetts landfills every year. My bill facilitates the donation of food by extending liability protection in existing law to allow for direct donations of food from individuals or organizations, and allows for a tax credit of up to $5,000 for the donation of food to non-profit organizations.
Ensure Regional Equity in Quabbin Watershed
An Act relative to the Quabbin watershed and regional equity
The communities surrounding the Quabbin Reservoir steward an invaluable resource that provides pristine water to millions of people in eastern Massachusetts. Yet under current law, these Quabbin watershed communities may not use this water, and receive minimal compensation for their efforts and sacrifice. My bill provides for modest payments to Quabbin watershed communities for local municipal needs, water infrastructure, and non-profit organizations providing health, welfare, safety, and transit services. The bill also provides for more representation of Connecticut River Valley interests on the MWRA Board.
Facilitate Efficient Transportation of Materials
An Act facilitating cost efficient transportation
Rural towns are unnecessarily burdened by the cost of hauling their recycling, as multiple trips are required due to weight limits imposed on trucks. Larger trucks can safely carry more materials and will save towns from these expensive and unnecessary costs. My bill allows tandem trucks operating on approved public roads to weigh up to 99,000 pounds if they have a permit, reducing the need for multiple trips.
Invest in Natural and Working Lands
An Act investing in natural and working lands
When trees are cut down or a parcel of farmland is developed, it doesn’t just affect biodiversity, local food systems, and public and environmental health, it also reduces our ability to fight climate change now and in the future. Although we must prioritize the protection of the Commonwealth’s natural and working lands to prevent runaway global warming, Massachusetts does not currently have any sort of ‘no net loss’ requirement in place. My bill gives the Commonwealth the mission to preserve our forests and farmlands. It ensures that state agencies work to prevent the development of such land while allowing for economic development and respecting local land use and planning authority. The bill also requires the Commonwealth to value forest lands and farmland for the totality of the services they provide, including their work in the fight against climate change.
Make Trails Accessible for All
An Act expanding access to trails for people of all abilities
Outdoor trails help connect people with nature, inspire healthy activities, and protect natural places – while also fostering liveable and welcoming communities. Too often, people with disabilities are not able to access public trails and the many benefits that come with this access. My bill establishes a state policy to maximize equitable access to trails, outdoor spaces, and outdoor recreational activities for people of all abilities. The bill establishes a working group consisting of state agencies, representatives of groups focused on disability access, conservation organizations, and others to review current access status and make recommendations on how to best implement effective access policies and procedures. The working group will hold public hearings and issue annual reports.
» Make Trails Accessible for All (S.446) Fact Sheet from Unpaved Trails for All
Protecting Farms and Food from PFAS Contamination
An Act protecting our soil and farms from PFAS contamination
PFAS chemicals build up in our bodies and never break down in the environment – they are “forever chemicals.” Very small doses of PFAS have been linked to cancer, reproductive and immune system harm, and other diseases. When PFAS is introduced to soils used for growing crops, it contaminates the food grown in that soil and can then get passed on to people consuming those products. This happens most frequently by the application of fertilizers made from treated wastewater, or sewage “sludge.” My bill calls for testing of sewage sludge, warning labels on products containing PFAS, and funding to help farmers access alternatives to these products.
Promote Hemp Growing and the Hemp Industry
An Act promoting the growing and use of hemp and hemp products
Despite the increased popularity of hemp and CBD in nutrition supplements and personal care products, current Massachusetts law restricts the growing and use of locally-produced hemp. My bill allows Massachusetts farmers to grow hemp products on land that is under an agricultural preservation restriction and also allows Massachusetts grown hemp to be made into CBD products. The bill also allows land with hemp crops to be considered farm land for tax purposes, and sets up a licensing system for hemp growers.
Promote Solar Power Over Parking Lots
An Act promoting solar energy canopies on large parking lots
Parking lots provide an untapped resource for generating solar power without disturbing natural landscapes. Solar canopies over parking lots not only provide clean renewable energy, but also provide shade, improve parking lot lighting, and protect vehicles and drivers from adverse weather conditions. My bill establishes an incentive program to encourage the development of solar energy canopies over commercial parking lots, in the form of reduced or deferred taxes, payments, or other financial or regulatory incentives.
Protect Ratepayers from Utility Rate Hikes
An Act protecting consumers from unreasonable utility rate increases
The Department of Public Utilities consistently allows utilities in Massachusetts to make higher profits off of consumers than utilities in other states. My bill protects electricity and gas consumers by eliminating automatic annual rate hikes and limiting the return on equity that utilities can earn to no more than the average of neighboring states.
Remove Cap on Fossil Fuel Free Demonstration Projects
An Act expanding access to the fossil fuel free demonstration project
In 2022, Massachusetts approved an historic law allowing up to ten municipalities to prohibit the use of fossil fuels in new construction. Banning new fossil fuels hook-ups is a necessary first step towards weaning ourselves off of polluting and unhealthy gas, oil, and other fossil fuels. These ten slots filled up quickly, and there’s now a waiting list of cities and towns ready to take strong action to meet the Commonwealth’s goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. My bill opens up this local option for any municipality that wants to implement a ban on the use of carbon-polluting fossil fuels in new construction and meets the affordable housing criteria required by the original law.
» Fossil Fuel Free (S.2093) Fact Sheet from ZeroCarbonMA
Use Current Science and Protect Public Health in Mosquito Management
An Act establishing an ecologically-based mosquito management program in the Commonwealth to protect public health
Our current mosquito management system, based on a statute enacted in 1918, is woefully out of date. The structure is fragmented, does not reflect current scientific understandings, and provides no opportunity for public input. The system looks to widespread pesticide spraying as the primary response to mosquito-related concerns. My bill creates a state mosquito management plan that prioritizes education, monitoring, and habitat modification and allows pesticide use only for disease control. The bill prohibits aerial spraying of pesticides and completely bans the use of chemicals containing PFAS. The bill also allows residents to opt out of spraying, with beekeepers and organic farmers opted-out by default.
» Mosquito Management (S.445) Fact Sheet from the MASSQuito Coalition
Strengthening Our Food System
An Act strengthening local food systems
Despite their essential role in the Commonwealth’s food system, many farmers struggle to keep their farms and businesses afloat. My bill makes a number of reforms to state law to support farms and farmers including establishing a state food system coordinator position, launching a program to provide hands-on training to new farmers, permitting farm stands to be included as agricultural land for tax purposes, and creating other initiatives to help strengthen the state’s food systems and help farmers remain competitive and viable.