Category Archives: Advocacy

The Beacon Hill Weekly Roundup – December 9, 2019

Reducing Single-use Plastic Statewide

Last month, the Massachusetts Senate passed a bill that would ban single-use plastic bags statewide. Now, the House has referred that bill to its Committee on Rules, and you can help it progress from there. Learn more

Climate Central

→ Youth marched for climate action again last week.
→ Congress commits to act on climate crisis despite Trump Administration.
→ Here’s a helpful summary of the COP25 conference goals.
→ Portugal may hold the secret to living with mega-fires.

Recognizing River Heroes

Our advocacy director Jack Clarke has been recognized by the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance as a “River Advocate.” Also honored were Steve Long of The Nature Conservancy, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Vandana Rao of the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

We’re Hiring!

Mass Audubon is seeking dynamic candidates for four new positions that will help us advance our response to the threats and impacts of climate change. Learn more about these jobs, the fields of focus for which are: education, ecology, communications, and development.

Reducing Single-use Plastics Statewide

Across Massachusetts, 120 communities have passed laws reducing or banning single-use plastic bags. It’s estimated that over 100 billion plastic shopping bags are consumed in the US each year, and these bags, often only used a single time, serve as a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and litter. 

These single-use bags pose a threat to sea turtles, whales, and other marine animals that can die from eating plastic bags they mistake for food. Because they are made from polyethylene, which is made from crude oil and natural gas, plastic bags also deplete nonrenewable resources. It’s time for Massachusetts to take action at the statewide level to limit single-use plastic bags, and to provide consistency for businesses and consumers.

Reducing the use of single-use plastic bags at grocery and clothing stores means there will be fewer of them to end up as litter in our neighborhoods and waterways. Photo credit: US EPA

Last month, the Massachusetts Senate passed An act relative to plastic bag reduction (S.2422), which would ban single-use plastic bags statewide, with some exceptions. It would instead require most stores to provide recycled paper or reusable bags. Now, the Massachusetts House has referred the bill to its Committee on Rules.

You can help this bill pass!

If your state legislator is on the House Committee on Rules, ask them to quickly and favorably pass S.2422 out of committee. Even if your legislator isn’t on the committee, you can ask them to urge the committee to support the bill.

Let them know that single-use plastic bags are unsustainable, and that more than one third of Massachusetts communities have already made the decision to stop using them. It’s time to take this action statewide

House Committee on Rules Members

William C. Galvin
Chair
Daniel J. Hunt
Vice Chair
Louis L. Kafka Joseph F. Wagner
Ronald Mariano David M. Nangle
Paul J. Donato Patricia A. Haddad
Alice Hanlon Peisch Michael J. Moran
Sarah K. Peake Ann-Margaret Ferrante
Kimberly N. Ferguson 
(Ranking Minority)
David T. Vieira
Donald H. Wong

The Beacon Hill Weekly Roundup – November 25, 2019

Give Thanks for Nature by Getting Outside

Instead of heading to the mall this Black Friday, consider heading outdoors! Mass Audubon sanctuaries are offering a wide range of programs through the weekend, from hiking to wreath making. Sign up for one today!

Climate Central

Brookline votes to ban oil and gas pipes in new buildings.
→ Atmospheric greenhouse gas levels have reached another new high.
→ The European Investment Bank will stop funding fossil fuel projects.
→ Washington Post launches “Climate Solutions” coverage.

Measuring Success for CPA

Our Community Preservation Act (CPA) coalition recently updated its statistics on the program’s impact. One highlight? CPA has helped Massachusetts cities and towns preserve 30,894 acres of open space. Learn more about CPA’s success.

State Water Supplies Back to Normal

After a rainy fall, Massachusetts drought levels have returned to normal conditions. This is good news, and continuing to be mindful of water use – reducing it where possible and fixing leaks – will make our water supplies more resilient. We’ll also keep supporting smart drought policies.

Federal Wetlands Protection Bill Moves Forward

Last week Congress passed a bill to reauthorize and secure annual funding for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, which has funded over 2,950 projects and helped protect 30 million acres of habitat to date. The bill heads to the US Senate next.

Help Massachusetts Reach Net Zero

Massachusetts has made great strides in the fight against climate change, but we need to move even faster to avoid its worst impacts.

That’s why Mass Audubon supports H.3983, An Act to Create a 2050 Roadmap to a Clean and Thriving Commonwealth. This state legislation would update our emissions reduction targets, and requires the state to create a plan to reach net-zero by 2050, along with interim targets to keep us on track.

We’re working with our friends at the Environmental League of Massachusetts to get this bill reported out by the Committee on Ways and Means before the legislature goes on its November break, and you can help. You can use their call form, or you can contact your Representative yourself – just ask them to urge the Committee Chair to report the bill out favorably .

Massachusetts must continue to lead on climate action, and this bill, which complements our other priority climate legislation, will help make sure we do just that.

Help Protect Pollinators

Our priority bill to protect pollinator habitat in Massachusetts is up for a State House hearing this week!

Monarch butterfly (photo credit: USFWS)

Pollinators like bees, butterflies, and bats are in trouble. Factors like habitat loss, pesticide use, invasive species, disease, and climate change are all to blame, and their impacts on pollinators also present a larger threat to biodiversity and food supply.

An Act to Protect Pollinators would establish a commission to investigate solutions that better protect and promote pollinators’ health. The bill would require the commission to include individuals with expertise in the protection of pollinators, wildlife protection and expertise in native plants.

You can help this bill pass!

If your state legislator is on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee, ask them to quickly and favorably pass S.497/H.818 out of committee. Even if your legislator isn’t on the committee, you can ask them to urge the committee to support the bill.

Let them know that this legislation would set Massachusetts on the right path to a sustainable future for the pollinator species on which we rely for so much, from crops to ecosystem health.

Interested in other ways to help pollinators? Here are some ideas.

The Beacon Hill Weekly Roundup – November 11, 2019

Rallying Together for Climate Funding

We joined our Alliance for Clean Energy Solutions in advocating for Senate passage of An act relative to GreenWorks. This state legislation passed the House in July and would enhance climate mitigation and adaptation, foster more resilient communities, and drive economic growth.

Climate Central

→ The Boston Globe looks to experts, including our climate change program manager, on coping with climate grief.
Massachusetts leaders speak out against Trump’s Paris agreement withdrawal.
→ AG Healey sues Exxon Mobil for deceitful climate ads.
→ Mass Audubon’s Cape and Islands Youth Climate Action Summit drew more than 100 teen activists.

Monitoring for Migrating Whales

With partners, we provided comments to the National Marine Fisheries Service on a proposed wind project off sections of the east coast. The area includes habitat for endangered whales and other marine mammals, and our comments focus on advancing offshore wind in a sustainable way for wildlife.

News on National Leadership

Congratulations to our friend and colleague Gina McCarthy on being selected as the next president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. A former EPA Administrator, Gina is a bold environmental leader and we look forward to working with her again.

The Beacon Hill Weekly Roundup – November 4, 2019

The Value of Forests in a Changing Climate

Forests cover 60% of our state and play a crucial role in solving the climate crisis. Mass Audubon recently worked with other members of the Massachusetts Forest Forum to draft a statement about the need to prioritize forest conservation.

Climate Central

→ Amazon countries signed a forest pact to coordinate disaster response.
→ Former EPA Director Gina McCarthy gave some important advice to journalists covering climate change.
→ Can a wave of new technology slash natural gas leaks by detecting methane?

More Progress for Offshore Wind

The 804-megawatt Mayflower Wind proposal has been selected as the next offshore wind project to move forward in Massachusetts. When combined with the already-approved Vineyard Wind proposal, the two projects would meet the state’s current 1600-megawatt goal for offshore wind power.

Maintaining Protections for Coastal Ecosystems

Mass Audubon signed on to a letter with our partners opposing state legislation to exempt coastal resiliency projects from critical environmental protections. As currently written, the bill would negatively impact wetlands and other natural resources.

The Beacon Hill Weekly Roundup – October 21, 2019

Pledge to Help Green Transportation

In recent years, the transportation sector has surpassed power plants as the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the US. Learn more about this shift and how you can help curb emissions.

Climate Central

Our climate change program manager participated in a Project Drawdown conference this weekend, an opportunity to share resources and strategies for creating climate solutions. Not familiar with Project Drawdown? Learn all about it here.

Supporting Rural Communities

Rural areas of Massachusetts can face different challenges than the rest of the state, from declining populations to limited fiscal resources. To help address these issues, a state Commission created the Rural Policy Plan, on which Mass Audubon provided input.

The Beacon Hill Weekly Roundup – October 7, 2019

Help Stop the Decline of US Birds

According to the first comprehensive review of bird population trends in decades, 29% of US birds have disappeared since 1970. Learn more about the issue and some Mass Audubon programs you can support to be part of the solution.

The Value of Nature in Narragansett Bay

This new report and website explore the $14 billion value of nature-based economic sectors in the Narragansett Bay Watershed. Mass Audubon partnered with the University of Rhode Island Coastal Institute and others on this project, which aims to inform future decision-making in the region.

Climate Central

→ Massachusetts is the most energy-efficient state in the US
→ Climate change threatens the world’s fisheries
→ The multi-state Transportation Climate Initiative releases its draft framework
→ Massachusetts is among a the 23 states suing over vehicle emission standard rollbacks

Latest Round of MVP Funding Announced

The state has announced $8 million in funding for the latest round of Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program grants. This funding will help communities plan for climate impacts and implement priority adaptation projects. Learn more about MVP and how to apply for this funding.

Are You a Community Preservation Leader?

Our Community Preservation Coalition Steering Committee is expanding! As the CPA program has grown over the years, the Steering Committee hopes to grow along with it by including wide-ranging representation from member communities. Learn more.

The Beacon Hill Weekly Roundup – September 30, 2019

Attorneys General Sue Over Endangered Species

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is co-leading a lawsuit over federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) rollbacks. The ESA is needed more than ever in the face of climate change and habitat loss, and as Mass Audubon notes in the press release, reducing its protections now would be a big mistake.

Climate Central

→ New IPCC report: oceans and ice are absorbing the brunt of climate change
→ Most teens are worried about future climate impacts

Speaking up on Solar Siting

The state is reviewing its Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target program, which provides financial incentives for solar energy projects. We submitted comments expressing strong support for solar energy, but recommending it be located away from ecologically- and socially-valuable land.

State Funding Awarded for Land Protection

The state has awarded $12.9 million in grants to protect land and natural resources, create and restore parks, and increase climate resilience. This funding will help communities conserve 1,191 acres of land.