ELM Priorities 2011-2012 Legislative Session

Land Use and Land Protection

Comprehensive Land Use Reform and Planning Act-Massachusetts land use laws are antiquated and lead to poor outcomes including expensive housing, contentious permitting, long commutes, and a loss of farmland, forests and natural areas. This legislation seeks to update and strengthen our land use laws and improve land use decisions to promote a healthy Massachusetts economy and quality of life. Senator Jamie Eldridge - sponsor

An Act to Sustain Community Preservation- Expands and strengthens the current Community Preservation Act by ensuring that communities will receive a certain level of state matching funds (75%), clarifies that CPA funds can be used to rehabilitate existing outdoor parks and other recreational resources, and helps cities and less affluent communities by offering different ways to raise the municipal funds needed to qualify for the state matching dollars. Senator Cynthia Creem and Rep. Steve Kulik-sponsors

Public Lands Preservation Act- Requires that any change in the use of protected natural areas can only take place if no other alternative is available and replacement land of equivalent acreage, market value, and natural resource value is provided. Senator Jamie Eldridge and Rep. Ruth Balser-sponsors

 Water Resources

 Sustainable Water Resources Act- Directs the state to establish streamflow standards to ensure enough water in our rivers both for drinking water supply and wildlife needs; also promotes dam removal and gives communities explicit authority to establish water banks where funds can be used for conservation and efficient use of water. Senator Jamie Eldridge and Rep. Frank Smizik-sponsors

Clean Energy and Climate

An Act Relative to a Coal Free Commonwealth- Seeks to phase out coal-fired electric generation in Massachusetts by 2020. The bill includes (1) a fee on Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) to fund public health studies; (2) coal ash disposal provisions; (3) flat prohibition of new coal plants; and (4) creation of a Community Repowering Fund to mitigate any economic or employment impacts of coal-plant shutdown. Rep. Lori Ehrlich-sponsor

Oil Heat Efficiency Bill- Establishes an energy efficiency program for oil heat and propane as well as a funding mechanism to be used solely to provide these efficiency programs to consumers. Rep. Frank Smizik-sponsor

Transportation

Transportation, Economic Development and Ridership Act- Builds on the reforms passed last session and identifies new funding mechanisms to support public transportation and road and bridge maintenance and repair. Rep. Carl Sciortino-sponsor

Waste and Toxics

Updated Bottle Bill- Adds the nickel deposit to non-carbonated beverages, such as bottled water and sports drinks which currently contribute greatly to municipal solid waste disposal costs. Senator Cynthia Creem and Rep. Alice Wolf-sponsors

Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals- Keeps Massachusetts businesses competitive by promoting the replacement of toxic chemicals with healthier substitutes wherever possible. Senator Steve Tolman and Rep. Jay Kaufman-sponsors.

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