Boston- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) has been appointed by Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) to represent the Massachusetts Senate on a Special Commission to Study the Siting of Energy Facilities in the Commonwealth, in an effort to promote equity and efficiency in the energy industry statewide.
“As green industries continue to gain ground in the Commonwealth, it is important to ensure proper oversight and efficiency measures for both renewable and traditional sources of energy. We must allow for growth and innovation in these sectors in Massachusetts,” said Downing. “I expect the recommendations of this panel will contribute toward the safe expansion of energy generating facilities statewide.”
“As we continue to balance the need for traditional fuel sources with the desire to look to renewable energy, we must make sure that our laws and regulations keep pace with those changes,” said Senate President Therese Murray. “I asked Senator Downing to represent the Senate on this Commission because I know he will be a strong voice for the people of the Commonwealth.”
Created in Section 89 of Chapter 169 of the Acts of 2008, An Act Relative to Green Communities, the Siting Commission has been issued a broad mandate to examine whether current Massachusetts laws and regulations ensure a level regulatory playing field between renewable and fossil fuel based generating facilities, evaluate statewide uniform siting criteria, and evaluate ways to make permitting more transparent and predictable.
Drawing on the strengths of many disciplines, the twenty-five member panel includes legislative, executive, industry, municipal and environmental organization representatives. With a reporting deadline of January 2010, the Commission’s Chair Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian A. Bowles has scheduled a meeting for December 4th to begin the panel’s work.