2023 - 2024 Legislative Priorities for Forest Protection

Find your legislator: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator

Update on Priority Forest Bills:
Some of our priority bills made it past the first legislative hurdle. Acting now to find more co-sponsors will increase chances that the bills will be sent out of committee for Senate and House votes some time before the end of the legislative session in August.

YOUR HELP NEEDED NOW
It’s easy and fast!

1. CLICK BILL # BELOW, CLICK “PETITIONERS”
Is your legislator’s name on the cosponsor list?

2. EMAIL OR CALL YOUR STATE REP OR SENATOR IF THEIR NAME IS NOT ON COSPONSOR (PETITIONERS) LIST

3. MESSAGE: "Please co-sponsor BILL NUMBERS* ...

To protect our public forests for climate change and biodiversity.
To expand urban trees and forests
To keep solar on built and disturbed land

*Include multiple bills in each call. Only one call/legislator.

 

H.904

This bill would expand and make permanent the nature reserve system on public Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) under Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) control. The bill directs the designation of at least 30% of agency lands as nature reserves by 2030, consistent with the latest biological and climate science.

FACT SHEET HERE

Sponsor: Representative Sena

Committee placement: Joint Com. on Environment & Natural Resources

Ask you Representative to cosponsor H.904.
Comment period ends April 12, 2024.

 

H.4150

All 412,00 acres of forest and watershed lands controlled by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation will be designated as parks and reserves, similar to our National Parks. The bill would permanently protect intact ecosystems in our forests and parks that are influenced primarily by natural processes — a level of protection that now exists for only 1% of the state’s land base.

The timber in parks and reserves will not be sold, removed, or destroyed.

No new commercial solar, wind or other industrial infrastructure will be approved, unless it replaces existing infrastructure and will have minimal environmental impact. 

The section in Chapter 132 MA law on the research & development of biomass as a sustainable, renewable energy source for addressing the concerns of air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, and forest management practices, will be deleted.

A Forest Reserves Scientific Advisory Council will oversee and administer all activities related to the reserves

Sponsor: Representative Carmine Gentile

Committee placement: Committee on Environment and Natural Resources

Ask your Representative to cosponsor H.4150. Comment period ends April 12, 2024.

 

 

 

S.452/H.869

This bill establishes an urban forestry council that advises and provides assistance to participating municipalities access to funding and technical assistance to plant and replace trees as well as maintain and preserve healthy trees within the borders of their communities. It is the next iteration of S.504/H.905 from last session but is targeted more specifically to communities that currently lack tree canopy coverage, thus achieving more tree equity.

FACT SHEET HERE

Municipal Reforestation Slide Presentation

Municipal Trees Reforestation Roadmap

Going green, literally: introducing the bill that would bring more trees to the cities of Massachusetts, Gazette, 3/15/23

Sponsors: Senator Creem, Representative Armini, Representative Owens 

Committee placement S.452/H.869: Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources

Ask your Senator or Representative to cosponsor H.869.

 

 

 

S.2150/H.3225

Massachusetts must build significant solar energy generation to meet its climate laws. We must also avoid damaging irreplaceable forests, watersheds, and natural lands whenever possible. Every megawatt of solar on buildings or disturbed land is one less megawatt that replaces a habitat. We should prioritize installing solar panels on buildings and disturbed sites such as parking lot canopies, brownfields and roadway cuts. This Act creates the needed incentives via market drivers to build such projects and removes existing caps and limits so that such projects continue to be built year after year.

FACT SHEET HERE

Sponsor S.2150: Senator Mark, Representative Sabadosa, Representative Garballey

Committee placement S.2150/H.3225: Joint Committee on Telecommunication, Utilities, and Energy

Ask your Senator and Representative to cosponsor H.3225. Comment period ends April 12, 2024

 

 

 

H.895

The bill requires “benchmarks, baseline measurements, measures of carbon flux, roadmap goals and plans for natural and working lands to be reported separately for each of the following: 1) agricultural lands, 2) forest lands managed for producing wood products, 3) forest lands in parks or reserves and not available for producing wood products, and 4) any other natural or working lands as deemed appropriate by the Secretary.”

Further, it “provides a full carbon accounting of all lands in the commonwealth with carbon offset contracts in effect; any lands subject to such offsets that serve the purpose of offsetting carbon emissions outside of Massachusetts shall not be counted toward meeting roadmap goals.”

FACT SHEET HERE

NO FURTHER ACTION. BILL WAS NOT ADVANCED.

Sponsor: Representative Sabadosa

Cosponsors: Sabadosa, Scarsdale, LeBoeuf, Kushmerek

Committee placement: Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources

Ask your Representative to cosponsor H.895 or thank them for cosponsoring.

 

 

 

H.1816

This bill would amend the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) by giving the attorney general and the public the right to take legal action in superior court to hold state agencies accountable to protect  the “air, water, and other natural resources” of public lands from “degradation or destruction.”  Essentially, it gives the public legal standing in court to hold state agencies accountable in caring for our public lands. This would give forest advocates the ability to use the legal system to oppose egregious logging projects on public lands.

FACT SHEET and Info Packet

NO FURTHER ACTION. BILL WAS NOT ADVANCED.

Sponsor: Representative Whipps

Committee placement: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

Ask your Representative to cosponsor H.1816.