Nov. 22 marks the two-year anniversary of Gov. Deval Patrick's signing of the law legalizing casinos in Massachusetts. The actual construction of casinos remains a distant dream of developers. The state's slowly developing casino picture will come a bit more closely into focus Tuesday. Voters in East Boston and Revere are scheduled to head to the polls to decide whether those communities support the development of a resort casino at the Suffolk Downs racetrack.
Casino opponents appear to have received a boost by the surprise exit of Suffolk partner Caesars Entertainment, but a poll released Friday showed casino supporters outnumbering opponents by single digits. Track owners have warned of a bleak future if they are not able to transition into a casino and if voters reject the proposal, the competition for the eastern Massachusetts casino license would be down to Steve Wynn and his bid for an Everett casino and a proposal from Foxwoods to build a casino in Milford. In the western region, voters will head to the polls Tuesday to decide whether Palmer is willing to host a casino proposed by Mohegan Sun, which has long maintained a presence in that community trying to build support for its casino proposal.
Environmental Protection Agency officials will seek input on ways to reduce carbon pollution at existing power plants. The meeting in Boston is one of 11 the EPA is holding around the country, in Denver, Lenexa, Kan.; San Francisco; Washington D.C.; Dallas; Seattle, Philadelphia; and Chicago. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is a Massachusetts native who previously worked in state and local government.
According to an Environment Massachusetts report, the biggest carbon-polluting power plant in the state is the Mystic Generating Station, a natural gas plant across the Mystic River from Charlestown, followed by Brayton Point, a coal plant on the shores of Mount Hope Bay across the water from Fall River. Brayton Point plans to shut down, unable to keep pace with the cheap cost of natural gas, and leading to consternation in the town, where the plant's tax payments are a major revenue source. (Monday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., EPA New England, Memorial Hall, 5 Post Office Square)
U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) will host a listening session to hear from New England's fishing industry, science community and other parties interested in federal fishing regulations. Sen. Edward Markey and Congressmen John Tierney and William Keating are also expected to attend. Begich, the chairman of the Senate's Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard Subcommittee, and other members of Congress are holding similar listening sessions in anticipation of the reauthorization vote for the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which regulates the fisheries. Senate President Therese Murray will make welcoming remarks at the start of the meeting. (Monday, 9:30 a.m., Rooms A-1 and A-2)
New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell hosts German and U.S. offshore wind executives and public policy experts for a panel discussion on the economic impacts from the offshore wind industry in Germany. Panelists are expected to discuss the role of investment tax credits in financing wind projects and the state of the offshore wind industry in the U.S. According to Mitchell's office, representatives from Cape Wind, Deepwater Wind, Fishermen's Energy, Siemens and the Mass. Clean Energy Center are scheduled to offer "a background on their efforts and how each will generate economic growth and job creation in the United States." Congressman William Keating is listed as an attendee. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Whaling Museum Theater)
See the entire State Government schedules for next week here.