State Rep. Carolyn Dykema and State Sen. Becca Rausch meet with MMA Policy Committee on Energy and the Environment.

Rep. Carolyn Dykema and Sen. Becca Rausch, the new co-chairs of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, met with the MMA Policy Committee on Energy and the Environment on May 12 to discuss policy priorities for the current two-year legislative session.

Dykema said her committee’s top priorities are COVID recovery, climate change (particularly protecting water resources and open space, and coastal impacts), and environmental justice. She said the committee will hold virtual hearings approximately every two weeks, and local officials are encouraged to sign up to testify or to submit written comments.

Rausch invited MMA policy committee members to share their challenges related to environmental issues in their communities. Committee members identified drought conditions in the Ipswich River watershed, increased recycling contract costs, and PFAS contamination in drinking water, among other issues.

Two bills in the MMA’s legislative package for 2021-2022 have been assigned to the Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture: HB. 1000, An Act to assist municipal and district ratepayers, and HB. 2152, An Act providing for the establishment of sustainable water resource funds. Hearings for these bills have not yet been scheduled.

Policy committee members discussed other legislative priorities among the bills that have been assigned to the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee, including in the areas of solid waste and recycling and water resources.

As the former vice chair of the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee, Dykema led a Green Recovery Task Force that held hearings on topics of concern to a variety of stakeholders related to a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The MMA gave a presentation to the task force in December.

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