Legislation filed in 2011 in the House of Representatives seeks to phase out coal-fired electric generation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by 2020. The bill, H.2612, was presented by Lori A. Ehrlich, the State Representative of the 8th Essex District, on January 21, 2011 and heard on May 18, 2011 by the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. The bill would require all owners or operators of coal-fired electric generation or cogeneration facilities in Massachusetts to submit, by December 31, 2018, plans for retiring such facilities or repowering them for renewable energy generating sources or natural gas. Retirement or repowering would be required by December 31, 2020. Such plans would be reviewed by the Commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources (“DOER”). The bill would also establish a “Community Repowering Fund” to mitigate the impacts of any retirements on the employees of retiring facilities and the municipalities in which such facilities are located.
The bill was filed contemporaneously with additional legislation also addressing issues related to coal-fired electric generation, including H.2614, which includes provisions to: require DOER to adopt a plan for replacing all use of coal as an energy resource in Massachusetts by 2020; establish a “Pollution Public Health Effects Mitigation Trust Fund,” funded by fees collected for each pound of air pollutant emitted by a major source, to support research and education regarding the health impacts of pollution; address coal ash disposal; and, prohibit new generation facilities from utilizing coal.