At the beginning of the 191st session, Rep. Fernandes (D-Falmouth) introduced eight environmental bills that range from combating climate change to reducing single use plastics to regulating electric bicycles. In his sophomore term, Fernandes is building on his first year reputation as an environmental leader by gaining significant support from House and Senate colleagues for his environmental legislation.
“Climate change and sea level rise are the greatest environmental and economic threats that our district and our state face,” said Fernandes. “We must act to reduce carbon emissions and transition to a renewable energy economy and I am excited and honored by the support of colleagues in the House and Senate for our environmental bills,” he added.
Several of Fernandes’s bills were signed by over a quarter of the two hundred seat legislature. Sixty-five representatives and senators signed on to HD2817, which authorizes independent public retirement systems in Massachusetts to divest from fossil fuel companies. Fifty-seven cosponsored HD291, which gives local communities control over the pesticides used on their land, and fifty-four signed on to HD3717, which allows cities and towns to use their aggregate buying power to support clean energy projects.
A full list of the environmental bills filed by Rep. Fernandes is included below with brief summaries and docket numbers.
HD3717 – An Act for Community Empowerment
A legislative priority of Mass Power Forward and Environment Massachusetts, this bill allows cities and towns to use their electricity buying power to support clean energy projects. The bill democratizes important energy decisions by giving a local option for communities to choose energy projects. The bill creates a powerful mechanism for our cities and towns to drive the clean energy market.
HD2817 - An Act authorizing independent retirement systems to divest from fossil fuel companies (co-filed w Rep Livingstone)
An important step to transitioning to a 100% renewable energy system is to stem investment in the fossil fuel companies that are driving climate change. This bill gives authority to the 104 independent public retirement systems in Massachusetts to divest fully or in part from fossil fuel companies, mitigating substantial losses from high risk fossil fuel industries and driving the economy towards cleaner, renewable energy sources.
HD291 – An Act empowering towns and cities to protect residents and the environment from harmful pesticides
Priority legislation of the Sierra Club, this bill enables municipalities to further regulate the use of pesticides beyond existing state regulations. As it stands right now, only the state has the authority to determine which pesticides are acceptable to use- this legislation gives communities control over what chemicals are being used on their land.
HD1614 - An Act protecting our coasts from offshore drilling
The Trump administration's decision to open offshore drilling, exploration, and development along the east coast poses a serious and immediate threat to our ocean ecosystems and coastal economies. This bill bans offshore drilling, expansion, exploration, development, or production in state waters and prohibits any onshore infrastructure to support offshore drilling.
HD1142 - An Act of leadership by the state of Massachusetts to reduce single use plastics
Single use plastics are overflowing our landfills and devastating our ocean ecosystems. Our state should take the lead on reducing dependence on single use plastics. This bill requires that all vendors that operate in state owned buildings ban single use plastic water bottles, soda bottles, and bags. The bill also mandates that food service utensils and packaging, including straws, utensils, lids, plates, and take-out packaging, are biodegradable.
HD1596 - An Act relative to electric bicycles (co-filed w Rep Hecht)
Electric bicycles are a clean, efficient, and green transportation alternative that are often underutilized due to a lack of consistent regulation and oversight. This bill creates a 3-tiered system for electric bicycles (similar to that in California and others states) based on speed and motor capability. The bill regulates e-bikes separately from motorized transportation while preserving a local option for cities, towns, and local authorities to meet the distinct needs of their communities.
HD632 - An Act adjusting mobile gear fishing restrictions in Nantucket coastal waters to reflect regulations provided to the rest of Massachusetts coastal communities
This bill would extend protections to the coastal waters of Nantucket. Specifically, this bill would prohibit mobile gear fishing within three nautical miles of Nantucket’s coastline from May 1 to October 31.
HD1580 - An Act relative to carbon pricing
Putting a price on carbon is the most important action we can take to combat climate change and global warming.