Update on the Home Heating Oil Tax and the Energy Bill Some Good News for a Change

by Ted Tripp
Sr. Political Reporter
When the Boston Broadside went to press at the end of July, the Energy Bill was still in conference committee where six conferees were trying to hammer out the final version of a bill before the end of legislative session on July 31st. The Senate version had a 2 ½ cent/gal home heating oil tax, a mandatory energy audit on your home before you could sell it, and a hefty $25 million/year penalty on the Pilgrim nuclear facility if it was not totally decommissioned within five years after ceasing operation. The House version of the energy bill did not include  these onerous new dictates.
The Broadside is pleased to announce that none of these Senate items made it into the final version of the Energy Bill, “An Act to Promote Energy Diversity,” H.4568.
The process was not pretty. The bill did not come out of the conference committee until 9:30 pm that Sunday night on July 31st. Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) refused to sign it, apparently because so many of the Senate sections were eliminated. Slightly more than an hour later, the 37-page bill was voted on by the House, 157-1, at 10:37 pm. Do you think any of these legislators had time to read and study the complexities of the bill? Representative Jim Lyons (R-Andover) was the only House member to vote against it.
Just minutes later, at 11:18 pm, the Senate passed H.4568 on a voice vote. I’m sure this rush was to finish up all the legislative business before midnight so the State House would not turn into a Giant Pumpkin.
What a way to pass important laws!
As a final note, the New England Power Generators Association, which is critical of the new law, warns that it might saddle consumers with the largest utility rate increases ever seen in Massachusetts. This is because the law pushes for more wind farms and renewable energy to meet self-imposed, reduced CO2 requirements. See the Boston Broadside August edition for more information.♦

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