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GOP VP Nominee Vance calls Republicans champions of the middle class; President Biden is isolating with Covid while sources say Schumer privately urged Biden to step aside in the 2024 election: NY bill addresses monopolies, anti-trust loopholes; ACLU of Alabama launches Project MOVE to boost voter turnout.

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Ohio Sen. JD Vance makes an 'America First' VP nomination acceptance speech. Tough national security talk papers over GOP complexities on foreign policy. Sen. Bob Menendez resigns and President Biden catches COVID.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Bills Aim to Close Biomass Loopholes in MA Clean Energy Laws

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Wednesday, June 21, 2023   

Environmental and community health advocates in Massachusetts are backing new legislation they say will close loopholes in the state's clean energy laws and end renewable energy subsidies for burning woody biomass.

Lawmakers ensured wood-burning power plants were no longer eligible for credits through the state's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard last session but loopholes in the state's clean energy laws still subsidize burning wood for heat and energy.

Laura Haight, U.S. policy director for the nonprofit Partnership for Policy Integrity, called the bills "common sense."

"We should not be using Massachusetts subsidies intended to clean up our air and benefit our climate to subsidize these polluting sources of energy," Haight asserted.

Haight pointed out burning wood is a major source of fine particulate emissions, which are a serious health hazard. EPA data show residential and commercial wood heating account for 83% of fine particulate emissions in the Massachusetts heating sector.

Environmental activists call wood-burning a "double whammy" for the climate, releasing stored carbon into the atmosphere while burning the very trees needed to absorb the carbon.

Haight acknowledged Massachusetts has been a national leader on climate change and has a chance to lead again.

"Our laws were not perfect to begin with," Haight noted. "But we are looking at it, we are learning from the science and we are correcting them."

Haight has high hopes for the legislation as Gov. Maura Healy supported both proposals during her run for office. The Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee has scheduled two hearings on the bills for June 28.

Disclosure: The Partnership for Policy Integrity contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, and Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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