Climate change resilience added to the Arlington Wetlands Regulations (Wicked Local Arlington 3/27/18)
The town of Arlington through its Conservation Commission is in the forefront of climate change policy in the commonwealth by specifically requiring an evaluation of Climate Change Resilience in its Wetlands Regulations under its Wetlands Protection Bylaw.
The newly updated Wetlands Regulations, dated March 1, include specific requirements for climate change resilience considerations when applicants propose projects in wetland resource areas.
The regulations state: “The impacts of climate change can adversely affect each Resource Area’s ability to provide and promote the resource area values protected by the Bylaw... Resource Areas are critical to building a community’s resilience/adaptation to the impacts of climate change due to their ability to provide for flood control, storm damage prevention, and other Resource Area Values.” (read more)
Egremont — Earlier this month, an Egremont Green Committee delegation attended a local conference on how towns and cities are setting high goals for increasing their use of renewable energy for electricity, heating and transportation. We came away with a bundle of information about initiatives in our area and around the world.
But first, a sampling of the hands-on tips we learned to help save money while conserving energy.
The place to start, speakers said, is by stopping drafts and making sure you are using your existing energy sources as efficiently as you can. This can be challenging in many of the older buildings in the Berkshires. However, several programs can help home and business owners. The Mass Saves program, run by utilities, offers free energy audits and no-cost products such as LED lights, advanced power strips and air sealants. It also offers rebates on qualifying energy-efficient heating, cooling and water-heating equipment. Check the website or call 1-866-527-2283. You may want to consider a zero-interest loan for energy-efficient home improvements, or a savings of up to 75 percent on installing insulation. Note that energy efficiency audits can be repeated every few years, since technologies and benefits change. (read more)
City councilors — alarmed by back-to-back storms — will hold a special hearing today on the threat of coastal flooding, after seeing waterborne debris flow through Boston’s harborside streets.
“We’ve had two ‘once in a hundred year’ storms in the past month,” said Councilor Michelle Wu, the hearing’s sponsor. “Throughout Boston this is going to an issue. There will be tremendous costs. How do we plan to pay for it? How do we plan to maintain that level of resiliency? What are the governing structures, are there laws that should be passed?”
Wu first called the meeting after city waters rose 15 feet during the Jan. 5 nor’easter, sending garbage dumpsters floating down streets and stranding residents in their cars. Two more major storms hit Boston in the weeks that followed. (read more)
PLYMOUTH – This has been a March for the history books, and now, as the water finally recedes, the town is faced with the cleanup of downed trees, discarded plastic, battered lobster traps and an endless assortment of governmental acronyms.
It may be weeks or months before the town has final plans and the financing necessary to restore beaches and repair damaged infrastructure, but Monday afternoon the acronym cleanup began in earnest with a workshop entitled “Minimizing the Impact: A Climate Change Workshop.”
Crowded into the Ropewalk Meeting Room, just across from the main courtroom of the restored 1820 Courthouse, were representatives of the EEOA, the CZM, the CCAP, the OEM, the DPW the CPC, SEMPBA and the town. (read more)
In the face of a global threat like climate change, action on the part of individuals – or even individual communities – can feel futile. But this hasn’t stopped some Medford residents – and the city itself – from taking steps to address the issue.
The City of Medford committed to mitigate the impacts of climate change in November 2016 through an agreement made by the Metro Mayors Coalition, a regional forum of mayors from Medford, Malden, Somerville, Cambridge, Boston, Melrose, Everett, Chelsea, Winthrop, Revere, Newton, Braintree, Quincy and Brookline.
All 14 cities promised to eliminate the region’s collective carbon footprint by 2050, as well as to update local climate mitigation plans and take at least three of 22 climate mitigation actions by 2020.
Since having signed the pledge, Medford has implemented at least three new mitigation policies: The city has adopted complete streets policies, approved a community energy aggregation program and began to convert old lights on city streets to LED lights. (read more)
BOSTON — Bay State Wind, a partnership between Ørsted and Eversource, was given “FAST-41” status, putting it on a more efficient track.
“This is a good day for Bay State Wind, but it’s an even better day for the citizens of Massachusetts,” said Eversource Vice President of Business Development Mike Auseré in a news release. “This covered project status will de-risk the permitting process and enhance the likelihood that we will receive our permit authorization on the timeline indicated in our bid.”
As a covered project under Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41), Bay State Wind will benefit from enhanced coordination, transparency, predictability, and oversight of the federal reviews and permitting required before construction, according to the release. (read more)
RICHMOND — A plan for a solar installation at the Richmond Consolidated School is expected to provide nearly all the school's power needs — and save the town up to $285,000 over 20 years.
The Select Board and School Committee have given unanimous approval to the solar installation on the school's roof. The 172-kilowatt system should provide close to 100 percent of the school's electricity needs year-round, he said.
"I'm excited about this project; it's the kind I really enjoy," said Town Administrator Mark Pruhenski.
Following the Select Board's approval, the town signed a letter of intent with Solect Energy, based in Hopkinton.
The project will require approval by voters, potentially at a special town meeting early this spring, Pruhenski said. The solar panels would need to be installed by the end of June in order to qualify for tax credits.
Under the agreement, the town would not pay for the equipment or installation. Instead, the electricity supply would be purchased from Solect, which would bear the upfront costs, at a more favorable rate than the town's current supplier, the nonprofit Hampshire Power group purchasing co-op based in Northampton. (read more)
A nor’easter expected to slam the Massachusetts coast on Tuesday will bring heavy snow, potential flooding, and strong winds to already battered towns that were struck by two powerful storms just last week.
“A third storm in 10 days is challenging, but we are preparing for it,” Scituate Fire Chief John Murphy said. “It looks like more of a snow event than a coastal flooding — [ high snowfall] is going to be a challenge for everyone. Schools will be out, and hopefully people will stay home for the day.”
Tuesday’s storm is projected to bring 18 to 24 inches of snow to Cape Cod and the South Shore, along with wind gusts up to 65 miles per hour. Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has also issued coastal flood advisories and warnings for much of the region.
Murphy said one of the largest problems Scituate will face is snow accumulation, since debris and sand from the last two storms have been cleared to the sides of road ways. (read more)
Environmental groups, residents brainstorm ways to make Framingham greener (MetroWest Daily News 3/11/18)
FRAMINGHAM – Creating a municipal solar program, installing public hydration stations along trails and holding gardening workshops are just some of the ideas residents have to make Framingham a greener city.
More than a dozen area environmental groups and residents convened at First Parish Church Saturday for Green Framingham United 2.0 – a brainstorming session aimed at finding ways to make Framingham and surrounding communities more sustainable and green.
“We’ll have some really creative ideas,” Michael Croci, organizer, said before the brainstorming began. “This is a community building event.” (read more)
After a powerful storm ravaged coastal communities with severe flooding late last week, Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday that Massachusetts has “a lot of work to do” to protect seaside cities and towns from recurring floodwaters, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo expressed his own desire to begin chipping away at the problem.
And one can count Salem among the coastal communities significantly impacted - so much so that a postmortem evaluation prompted Mayor Kim Driscoll to say more needs to be done, too.
In the storm’s aftermath, photographs reveal Salem seawalls along Collins Cove, Salem Willows and Forest River Park sustained quite the damage. They will require costly repairs and/or reconstruction, wrote Driscoll in a Facebook post on Saturday.
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