Stan has long been a supporter of alternative energy, recycling, agricultural preservation, land preservation, and addressing greenhouse gas emissions. In 2008, the State Legislature passed some of the strongest environmental policies of recent decades. This package included Massachusetts’ participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the Global Warming Solutions Act, and the Green Communities Act. Stan was honored to be part of the efforts to approve this legislation. See below for more information about his environmental related accomplishments and local achievements.
In 1987, as a freshman member of the Committee on the Environment and Education, Stan fought to include the green ethic of “reduce, reuse, and recycle” in a comprehensive solid waste management bill that, prior to his efforts, did not even mention recycling! This helped move the state in a new direction. The same bill called for the construction of a number of regional Municipal Recycling Facilities (MRFs) designed to support the municipal recycling programs that Stan and his colleagues hoped to generate through their proposed policy changes. The results were impressive. Local recycling programs popped up all over the Commonwealth, the state’s recycling rate went from about 10% to over 40%. The Western Mass MRF recently celebrated its 25th anniversary! However, no progress in a new policy area like this happens without a few bumps in the road. In 1988, just as the MRF in Springfield was about to be built, the Governor cancelled the project due to state budget problems. Stan organized his Western Mass. legislative colleagues, municipal officials, and the region’s environmental leaders to fight this decision. They won and the MRF was built. More than 100 of the state’s communities are now served by this facility and it has returned more than $3 million to our communities and reduced pressure on our landfills as more and more waste has been diverted through recycling.
Western Massachusetts is home to beautiful forests, open space and some of the best farmland anywhere in the Northeast. Stan has been a leader in working with our communities, farmers, foresters, preservationists and environmentalists to secure funding to help preserve our open space for the use and enjoyment of our local residents and visitors. The region is one the largest beneficiaries of the Agricultural Restriction Program through which local farmers sell the development rights to their land to the state. In exchange, they agree to keep the land available for agricultural use. Most use these funds to help with the viability of their farming operations.
Stan has long been an advocate of funding for the agricultural community, including the Agricultural Preservation Restriction Program, and the Farm Viability Program. He has been happy to see the reemergence of the agricultural industry as a successful economic force in his district and is pleased to see the diversity of methods being used to improve farm profits including value added, farmers market, community service agriculture, and winter harvest and marketing. Stan even worked to pass a special provision for farmers to take advantage special net metering opportunities. This means that those who create power through solar panels, bio-digesters, wind, or other renewable methods pay less for utilities and can even sell back any excess power generated.
Stan worked to earmark the initial $500,000 necessary to create the Time Share Kitchen Facility at the Franklin Regional Community Development Center in Greenfield. This facility provides space and specialized equipment to local producers to create food products.
Stan is a member of the state’s Dairy Task Force which established a number of new policies and initiatives to help preserve our dairy farms including the tax credit for dairy farms. He continues to fight for this tax credit which helps dairy farmers keep their doors open.
As Senate President, Stan secured the passage of energy procurement legislation that expanded the role of hydropower and off shore wind in the Commonwealth’s energy portfolio. He is committed to moving Massachusetts on a path to a green energy future and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. As the leader of the Senate he will continue to push for comprehensive energy legislation that focuses on energy efficiency, climate change preparedness, and lowering carbon emissions.