Environment

 

Green Jobs — Alternative Energy — Environmental Protection

 

As your state representative, I will fight for strong enforcement of the laws protecting our environment and advocate for policies that help lead to development of the alternative energy sector and the creation of green jobs.

 

We need alternative sources for fueling our economy for several critical reasons: 1) to create the jobs of the future, many of which will be in the cutting-edge fields of alternative energy; 2) to reduce pollution and the emissions associated with fossil fuels to protect our environment and our health, while simultaneously doing our part here in the Commonwealth to address climate change; and 3) to decrease our reliance on energy sources that come from unstable parts of the world and governments that are not always aligned with our interests. One way to promote alternative energy would be to streamline the permitting process for green energy production. It is unconscionable that Cape Wind took so long to come together. Localities must have their due rights, but when it takes 11 years for a green energy project supported by 81% of state residents to be built, something is wrong with the process.

I have worked in the clean energy sector, serving as the General Counsel for a clean/green energy software company. We developed and sold software that worked with the management systems of large office buildings and other commercial properties to minimize energy use and improve their energy efficiency. Our company created many well-paying positions for talented engineers, managers, and energy analysts while helping customers reduce their electric bills – a winning formula for our customers, our employees and the environment. Green jobs are real and growing. In fact, the green energy sector taken as a whole is growing much faster than many other sectors of the economy.

 

Even in our state – one with enlightened views on environmental causes – the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has endured outsized personnel cuts in recent years due to budgetary constraints brought on by the recession. The number of full time employees has declined by almost fully one third, from over 1200 to less than 850. Yet, the demands on the agency only grow. Enough is enough. If we say that we care about the environment – and our citizens of all political persuasions overwhelmingly do – then it is time to restore funding to DEP and fight for the kind of environmental protection that only comes from adequate personnel to enforce these critically important laws.

Of course, careful stewardship of our natural world is its own reward for all of us and for future generations. As a law student, I served in the criminal division of the Environmental Protection Agency prosecuting polluters. I was there in 1996 when Republicans threatened draconian cuts in the EPA’s budget, which led to a budget showdown and ultimately the shutdown of the entire federal government. I learned then and there – in the starkest terms possible – that while many of us across the political spectrum care deeply about the environment, there are forces in our society that would put profits ahead of protecting our most precious asset — the environment in which we live, work, play and raise our families. With that life experience always in mind, I will be a vigorous champion of environmental causes.