Pittsfield- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) is pleased to announce that he has been appointed to a new policy working group, the Biofuels Task Force, by Senate President Therese Murray (D- Plymouth). Downing’s appointment comes one week after he and Murray toured Berkshire Biodiesel’s Pittsfield facility.
Established by the leadership on Beacon Hill, the Biofuels Task Force has been created through an agreement between President Murray, Speaker of the House of Representatives Salvatore F. DiMasi and Governor Deval Patrick. Under this agreement, the Biofuels Task Force will examine and make recommendations for legislation to promote the development of an advanced biofuels industry in the Commonwealth.
Of his appointment, Senator Downing said “Massachusetts has an opportunity to pull ahead of the pack in biofuel innovation and lead the nation in clean energy policy and practices. I am grateful to have the confidence of the Senate President as I address these pressing issues.”
As part of its work, the Task Force will develop a strategic framework to accelerate the research, development and deployment of commercially viable biofuels. Existing barriers to advancing biofuel innovation in the Commonwealth will also be considered and legislative or administrative solutions to overcome those barriers will be filed by the Task Force with its final recommendations. The Task Force will also research the availability of federal grants for the advancement of biofuels. In developing its recommendations, the Task Force will consult with the New Fuels Alliance, a national organization committed to raising the awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of non-petroleum fuel, and at least one distributor of petroleum products in Massachusetts.
"I am proud to announce the appointment of Senator Downing to the Biofuels Task Force," Senate President Therese Murray said. “He has demonstrated a true commitment to the advancement of clean energy in Massachusetts, and he has a keen understanding of the challenges that lie ahead of us. Senator Downing and his fellow Senate appointees will be a great asset to this task force. The Senate has made it clear that we are committed to clean air and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. The Biofuels Task Force will help us reach our goals.”
The Biofuels Task Force will be comprised of nine members and chaired by the state Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The House and Senate as well as the Governor each have three appointments to the body. Downing is one of three state Senators on the panel, he will be joined by Senators Pamela P. Resor (D-Acton) and Bruce E. Tarr (R-Gloucester).
The Biofuels Task Force will file a report of its findings and recommendations with the Governor and with the Clerks of the House and Senate on or before March 31, 2008.