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Public Statements

Issue Position: Energy And The Environment

Issue Position

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Martha believes America needs a comprehensive approach to lowering our energy costs, meeting our energy needs and protecting our environment. Martha knows we need affordable, sustainable and diverse energy supplies that maximize the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

Protecting our Environment

Martha recognizes that climate change is one of the most pressing moral issues of our time. Our planet is in trouble. Martha believes protecting our environment must be a priority, not only for today but for future generations.

As Attorney General, Martha enforced the state's environmental laws, helped spur the clean up and redevelopment of contaminated brownfields throughout the state, and led the way nationally on landmark environmental cases.

In Washington, Martha will support policies that reduce carbon dioxide emissions and other pollution that causes climate change. She will fight to halt global warming, support legislation that creates a national market-based program to reduce global warming pollution, and promote investments in clean energy.

Combating Global Warming

As Attorney General, Martha led the way nationally in challenging Bush administration policies that prevented states from proactively reducing global warming. In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Attorney General's Office and others challenged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's refusal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles pursuant to the federal Clean Air Act. In a victory, the Supreme Court ruled that it was the responsibility of the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Martha also worked with the Obama administration to overturn a Bush administration regulatory action to the Endangered Species Act, which sought to relieve federal agencies and applicants for federal permits from having to consider the effects of increased greenhouse gas emissions on species and habitats under the federal Endangered Species Act.

In Washington, Martha will continue her commitment to combat global warming by supporting the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, as well as the more recent Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act that Senator Kerry introduced. These comprehensive bills will make the United States a leader in the fight against global warming.

Endorsing Cap-and-Trade

Martha knows that pollution from electric utilities, oil companies, large industrial sources and other entities, is responsible for most of the global warming emissions in this country. As Attorney General, Martha participated in the implementation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Martha supports a national cap-and-trade program that will utilize a market-based approach to control pollution. Martha believes that by providing economic incentives to industries for achieving emissions reductions, we can achieve superior environmental protection and give businesses both the flexibility and direct financial incentives they need to find faster, cheaper and more innovative ways to reduce pollution.

In Washington, Martha will support the national Global Warming Pollution Reduction Program, proposed in the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. Martha believes that by harnessing the forces of the free market, we can achieve cost-effective environmental protection.

Investing in Clean Energy

Martha knows that the key to both our economic security and protecting our environment is a commitment to invest in clean energy technologies. As Attorney General, Martha reached an agreement with Western Massachusetts Electric Company to develop the state's first utility grade solar project which will result in the development of 6 megawatts of solar generation. She also worked with Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles on crafting a plan to establish additional solar facilities in Massachusetts.

In Washington, Martha will support investments in clean energy programs and promote the continued development of renewable energy technologies.

Promoting Energy Efficiency

Martha knows that investments in cost effective energy efficiency represent the quickest and least expensive way to address the country's growing energy demand. Energy efficiency can avoid some investment in infrastructure, can potentially lower the price of electricity in wholesale markets, can help reduce emissions of harmful gases and can offer lower total bills for those who participate in programs. As Attorney General, Martha supported the expansion of cost effective energy efficiency programs. As a member of the Commonwealth's Energy Efficiency Advisory Council, Martha worked on groundbreaking policies aimed at saving ratepayers billions of dollars.

In Washington, Martha will support national energy efficiency policies, including incentives for states to rewrite utility regulations to put energy efficiency on an equal ground with new power plants.

Assisting Low Income Customers

In the fall of 2008, Martha spent several weeks holding energy roundtable discussions in advance of the winter heating season. At the time, home heating oil and natural gas prices were at all time highs and the winter heating season posed a real public safety emergency. As Attorney General, Martha also advocated for expanding the Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), to provide increased benefits that would keep Massachusetts residents warm in the winter.

In Washington, Martha will support permanent expansion of federal funding for heating assistance and increases in low income weatherization and housing improvement programs.

Attorney General Martha Coakley's Energy Leadership

As the energy ratepayer advocate in Massachusetts, Martha Coakley has worked to keep energy prices down, including advocating for over $100 million dollars in savings, while promoting long-term policies designed for a cleaner, more efficient and less costly energy future.

* Saved ratepayers over $100 million dollars and advocated for other ratepayer protections through litigation efforts at the state and federal level including successful opposition to numerous electric and gas rate increases for the customers of Bay State Gas, New England Gas, Fitchburg Electric, NSTAR and Western Massachusetts Electric and successful opposition to excessive incentives sought at FERC for interstate transmission projects over the life of these projects.

* Reached a Settlement with NSTAR, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Conservation Law Foundation for Long-Term Wind Contracts and Green Power that anchored the development of two 30 MW wind farms and provided an option for NSTAR's customers to purchase renewable power for a portion or all of the energy portion of their bill.

* Reached a Settlement with Western Massachusetts Electric Company for the development of the Commonwealth's first utility grade solar project in the state that will result in the development of 6MW of solar power, developed at the least cost, in Western Massachusetts.

* Pushed for reforms in New England's multibillion dollar energy market and transmission planning process to ensure more transparency, more emphasis on costs and better access for ratepayer and consumer groups.

* Forged a landmark agreement with the Patrick Administration establishing the most aggressive energy efficiency goals in the nation which will result in over a billion dollar investment in energy efficiency in the Commonwealth over the next three years with expected savings of over $4 billion.

* Supported interstate transmission project to bring clean, cost effective hydro power from Quebec to Massachusetts customers that will be financed initially by private capital.

* Secured important changes in state laws to provide for better oversight and regulation of utility companies including allowing the Attorney General to compel audits of utility books, closed loopholes in the state's authority to review utility mergers and acquisitions and codified the Attorney General's role in representing Massachusetts consumers before federal energy agencies.

Read More
Read Attorney General Martha Coakley's white paper on energy - Repowering America: A Comprehensive Energy Reform Plan

Learn more about Attorney General Coakley's work:

* Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Settles Case with Attleboro Manufacturers for $2.3 Million

* Pan Am Railways and Subsidiaries Ordered to Pay $500,000 in Fines for Failing to Report Environmental Contamination in Ayer

* Western Massachusetts Environmental Company Settles Case for Transporting Hazardous Waste without Permits

* Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Sues Boston Company for Illegally Leasing Hazardous Waste License to Unlicensed Company

* Attorney General Martha Coakley Praises U.S. Appeals Court Ruling on Mercury Emissions

* Attorney General Martha Coakley Obtains Preliminary Injunction Against Owner and Operator of Pocasset Mobile Home Park

* Attorney General Martha Coakley Amends Brownfields Regulations to Encourage Redevelopment at Contaminated Sites

* Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley Submits Comments to EPA on Regulating Greenhouse Gases Under the Clean Air Act

* Attorney General Coakley and 17 States Urge the EPA to Act on Massachusetts v. EPA

* Massachusetts Attorney General Coakley Submits States' Comments in Response to the EPA's Endangerment Determination on Greenhouse Gases

* Statement of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley on Withdrawal of Bush Administration Endangered Species Act Regulations


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