ELM Action Fund Endorses Lydia Edwards for Boston City Council

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The Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM) today announced its endorsement of Lydia Edwards for Boston City Council because of her strong commitment to environmental justice and sustainability in a rapidly changing and expanding Boston.

“Lydia Edwards will be a much-needed dynamic addition to city government who will advocate for fair and sustainable growth. We are sure she will bring her energetic vigilance to the challenges that climate change and development pose to Boston,” said ELM Action Fund Executive Director Joe O’Brien

ELM has decided to support Edwards in this important race for Boston’s 1st District (which encompasses East Boston, North End and Charlestown) because of her commitment to the environmental issues and her belief that accelerating development should always consider the wellbeing of ordinary citizens while promoting and protecting the city’s unique and fragile environment.  The general election will be held on Tuesday, November 7th.

“Lydia Edwards has solid ideas for an environmentally smart future for Boston, “continued O’Brien.  “That includes enhancing public transportation by expanding ferry service all around the underutilized Boston Harbor to ease problems with traffic, parking and emissions,”

Boston’s vulnerability in the face of climate change is very much on Edward’s mind and she is a strong supporter of the Climate Ready Boston program and of engaging the brain power from our universities to develop solutions for rising sea levels and other climate related challenges.

 “She is ready to speak up for the rights of Bostonians for public space – whether it be parks or along the harbor – in the face of rapid development that often ignores provisions for public access,” said O’Brien. “We think she will be able to keep both developers and city authorities accountable when it comes to building and planning,” said O’Brien.

Edwards, who has two law degrees, successfully pushed for legislation enhancing protection of domestic workers, including immigrants, while working at the non-profit Greater Boston Legal Services. More recently she has been advocating for fair and affordable housing practices for both tenants and landlords (she is a landlord of small property herself) as deputy director of the Office of Housing Stability.

Raised by a military mother, Edwards and her twin sister grew up “around the world,” she says. She received a law degree from American University in Washington D.C. and a LLM in taxation from BU School of Law.  She served as a clerk for a Massachusetts Appeals Court justice and for the Massachusetts Superior Court.  Fluent in Portuguese and Spanish, she lives in East Boston with her husband, an electrician and small business owner. To learn more about Lydia visit www.lydiaedwards.org.

Andy Vargas Endorsed by Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund

The Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund today endorsed Democrat Andy Vargas of Haverhill in the special election primary for the 3rd Essex District, a credit to his commitment to the environment.

“We support Andy Vargas because he understands the importance of our state investing in clean energy, sustainable transportation, and parks to help address climate change, create jobs, and build healthier communities,” said ELM Action Fund President Elizabeth Henry.

“Andy Vargas understands that we can have both a healthy environment and a strong economy," stated ELM Action Fund Executive Director Joe O’Brien. “He knows that in cities and towns across the state we need to build a clean energy economy including wind turbines and solar arrays that will power us into the future."

Andy is running in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, October 10th in a special election to fill the seat of retiring State Representative Brian Dempsey. 

Andy Vargas was born in Cambridge and moved to Haverhill when he was just six years old.  Since an early age he has been active in his community, helping to lead sports and mentoring programs for Haverhill youth. After college Andy moved back to Haverhill and has been engaged in efforts to improve his community. In 2015, Andy was elected as an at-large member of the Haverhill City Council. His first term has been marked by strong advocacy for economic development, education, and financial transparency.

Andy and his wife Rikelma live in downtown Haverhill. He is the Senior Marketing Manager at Entrepreneurship for All. Learn more about Andy at www.andyforhaverhill.com/

The ELM Action Fund is a nonpartisan organization that helps pass laws that protect our environmental legacy, holds our elected officials accountable, and works to build the political power of the environmental community. To learn more about our work and our recent electoral victories go to www.elmaction.org/campaigns.

Paul Feeney Endorsed by Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund

Credit to Strong Commitment to the Environment and Creating Green Jobs

The Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund today endorsed Democrat Paul Feeney of Foxborough, in the special election for the Norfolk and Bristol State Senate district, a credit to his commitment to the environment. 

“Paul Feeney knows how to create jobs for the 21st century,” stated ELM Action Fund Executive Director Joe O’Brien. “He knows that in cities and towns across the state we need to build a clean energy economy including wind turbines and solar arrays that will power us into the future. Paul Feeney understands firsthand how these types of policies are creating well paying jobs that can’t be sent overseas and are saving communities and consumers money."

“Paul Feeney also understands the importance of our state investing in clean energy, sustainable transportation, and parks to help address climate change, create jobs, and build healthier communities,” said ELM Action Fund President Elizabeth Henry. “We need strong leaders like Paul in the State Senate who understand that we can have both a strong economy and a healthy environment.”

Paul Feeney has spent his adult life giving a voice to the hard-working middle class families, seniors and young people in the Bristol Norfolk district and across the state. He has worked in the private sector, as well as working in local and state government. Paul has also served in public office, being elected to the Foxborough Board of Selectmen in 2007, and Paul served as Chairman of the board in 2009. To learn more about Paul and his record of service to the community, please visit his website at www.votefeeney.com.  

The ELM Action Fund is a nonpartisan organization that helps pass laws that protect our environmental legacy, holds our elected officials accountable, and works to build the political power of the environmental community. To learn more about our work and our recent electoral victories go to www.elmaction.org/campaigns.
 

ELM Action Fund Endorses Mayor Joe Petty for Re-election in Worcester

The Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund announced today its endorsement of Joe Petty in his bid for re-election as mayor of Worcester, due to his proven track record of leadership on environmental issues and his commitment to making Worcester a more sustainable community.

Over the past six years, Petty has overseen the ongoing renaissance of Worcester into a vibrant, growing and increasingly livable mid-size city, all the while keeping the city focused on its responsibility to sustainability and environmental innovation.

Under Petty’s leadership, Worcester has become home to New England’s largest municipally owned solar energy farm, has invested heavily in energy efficiency upgrades to public buildings,  made large investments in city parks and undertaken a program to analyze and improve the area’s ponds and lakes.

“We appreciate Mayor Joe Petty’s leadership in increasing Worcester’s emphasis on sustainable energy sources and his commitment to making good environmental policy part of the city’s growth in opportunity and job creation,” said ELM Action Fund President Elizabeth Henry.

“As one of the first mayors in the state of Massachusetts to commit their city to the Paris climate goals after President Trump pulled out of the international agreement, Joe Petty has proven that he is on the right side of the effort to save the planet for our children,” continued Henry.  “It’s clear after Trump’s withdrawal that states and municipalities are going to be the ones leading the way on reducing dependence on fossil fuels and addressing the challenges of climate change. Joe Petty is a great example of the kind of forward-thinking local leadership that we need.”

Joe Petty is a practical leader.  In August, the city officially connected the municipal power grid to an 8.1 megawatt, 28,600-panel solar farm created on 25 acres of the former Greenwood Street landfill. The $27 million project is expected to save the city $60 million over the next 30 years.

“This makes good environmental sense and good fiscal sense,” said Petty at the ribbon cutting ceremony at the former landfill. “This is a good investment that is good for the environment.”

Petty has led the city’s efforts to make municipal buildings more energy efficient with the investment of $26.6 million in upgrades, including the installation of solar panels on eight schools.  He has also initiated a comprehensive plan to address the presence of the toxic chemical PCB in some public schools.

Under Petty, Worcester is also transforming all of its 14,400 streetlights to LED lighting that will dramatically reduce energy usage, save money and provide better service.

In June, the city kicked off its Lakes and Ponds Program, aimed at improving the questionable health of Worcester’s network of waterways to make them available for swimming and recreational use, and the resulting economic opportunity.

Petty has embraced and is an enthusiastic leader and participant in the city’s comprehensive environmental program known as “A Greener Future, Today” that very specifically addresses sustainability and climate change.

With the environment under assault in Washington, the ELM Action Fund has launched a new campaign to endorse candidates for local governments who are actively addressing the issues posed by climate change, and who are able to see the challenge as opportunity for growth rather than obstacles to development.

Worcester is a perfect example of a community that recognizes sound environmental policy can make a community more livable, create jobs and save communities money. Leaders like Joe Petty are putting Massachusetts at the forefront of enacting policy, generating action and opportunity, and increasing awareness about the challenges of climate change.

Petty is a lifelong Worcester resident and knows its strengths and challenges. He is a graduate of Holy Name Central Catholic High School and received a BS in Business Administration from Nichols College and a law degree from New England School of Law, Boston. He served two six-year terms on the Worcester City Council starting in 1997. He is married with three children. For more information about his campaign, go to www.josephpetty.com.

The ELM Action Fund is a nonpartisan organization that helps pass laws that protect our environmental legacy, holds our elected officials accountable, and works to build the political power of the environmental community. To learn more about our work and our recent electoral victories go to www.elmaction.org/campaigns.

MA Environmental Advocates Urge Congressional Delegation to Protect National Monuments

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The state’s leading environmental advocates today urged the Massachusetts congressional delegation to oppose the Trump Administration’s unprecedented effort to reduce protections for more than two dozen national monuments.

The advocates, including the Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM), the Massachusetts Sierra Club, Mass Audubon, and the Appalachian Mountain Club among others, urged the state’s 11-member delegation to contact Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and strongly oppose the administration’s attempts to roll back these hard-fought protections, including those for the recently designated Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine Monument off the coast of Cape Cod.

“Our national monuments are treasures which deserve protection for future generations,” said Nancy Goodman, ELM's Vice President for Policy. “They are the best and rarest of places, drawing thousands of visitors who contribute to local economies. We call on citizens that care about the environment to make their voices heard and urge Secretary Zinke to listen.” 

The letter contributes to ongoing local and national campaigns to protect the national monuments –driven by grassroots and digital activism. ELM volunteers have been gathering support and comments around the state at public events and directing voters to the comment page via the hashtag #MonumentsForAll. The period for public comment closes on July 10th.

“Massachusetts is blessed with incredible beauty – from the mountains of the Berkshires to the beaches of Cape Cod, and our residents value these natural wonders, including the underwater gem that is the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument,” said Massachusetts Sierra Club Chapter Director, Emily Norton. 

“At a time when our oceans are under severe threat from warming and acidification, it is imperative that we protect these marine wonders for our own, and future, generations.”

The process for designating a national monument makes use of the best available science to document the resources in need of protection, incorporates a strategy to manage various aspects of the land while protecting natural resources, and includes a robust public process.

The letter urges our congressional delegation to ensure a transparent review process before any designation is rescinded by asking the Department of the Interior (DOI) to make all public comments available for review and create a publicly available report summarizing the comments and addressing action to be taken in response.

“A host of powerful constituencies are gathering steam to try to roll back these vital environmental protections. It’s essential that our delegation know we strongly oppose these attacks and join with us in opposing this President’s disgraceful attempts to harm our planet,” said Goodman.
 

ELM, Sierra Club, CLF Rally For Our National Monuments

Last Friday, June 16, Secretary of the Interior Zinke was visiting Boston as part of his review of 2 dozen national monuments, including the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument 150 miles off Cape Cod. The environmental community joined together to stand in defense of our national monuments outside the State House. 

Learn more about our campaign to protect our monuments.

ELM Action Fund Launches Grassroots Campaign to Preserve Marine Monuments Against Trump Administration Action

BOSTON – On the eve of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s visit to Massachusetts, the Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund (ELM) has launched a grassroots campaign to preserve vulnerable national monuments from a Trump administration protections rollback, engaging people in their communities, in the halls of power, and online in an orchestrated campaign.

Joining with the national League of Conservation Voters (LCV), the campaign will draw attention to the first-ever protected marine monument in the Atlantic, Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine Monument off the coast of Cape Cod and waters in Maine.

The Trump administration ordered a review of national monuments - the first step in a choreographed attack on iconic public lands and waters that are critical to the nation’s economy and way of life. These efforts attempt to roll back President Obama’s declaration of marine monuments like the Seamounts, which was designed to protect and preserve these landmarks. Secretary Zinke will be in Boston tomorrow to discuss the marine monument with local fishing stakeholders and others.

Trump’s review affects over two dozen parks across the country, and also leaves other public lands vulnerable to attack.

“It is essential to protect these areas in order to maintain healthy New England ecosystems and preserve the lands for future generations,” said Joe O’Brien, Political Director of the ELM Action Fund.

The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine Monument lies just 150 miles off the coast of Cape Cod and was designated by President Obama in September 2016. It consists of extinct volcanoes and canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon. The underwater treasure is home to deep-water corals, anemones and sponges, as well as Kemp’s ridley sea turtles and sperm, fin and sei whales.

“Our oceans are in danger and the direct impacts of climate change, overfishing and the proposed extraction of oil, gas and other resources threaten their health,” said O’Brien. “The Gulf of Maine, where this treasured monument is located, is warming at a rate faster than almost any other marine area in the world.”

The ELM effort joins with its national partner, LCV, in its national campaign to protect more than two dozen national monuments across the country designated since January 1996.

ELM Action Fund has organized a campaign to join with the LCV and collaborate with legislative and congressional voices to push the President at all levels.

The campaign will kick off with organizers and coordinators hitting the streets in communities – at local meetings, farmer’s markets and more – to encourage citizens to get active and engaged. The effort will be joined with a unique digital and social media campaign to engage the grassroots where they are: online.

Throughout the campaign, the ELM Action Fund will make calls to environmental supporters across the Commonwealth, run ads on Twitter and Facebook, and attend events across the state to garner more comments and volunteers.

To learn more about the campaign, please visit: http://www.elmaction.org/save-our-national-monuments/

State Senator Tom McGee's Campaign for Lynn Mayor Endorsed by Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund

The Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund today endorsed Tom McGee for Mayor of the city of Lynn. The endorsement was due to McGee’s leadership building a renewable energy industry, and the jobs that go with it, and his commitment to a modern transportation system that’s affordable and dependable.

“Tom McGee knows how to create jobs for the 21st century,” stated ELM President Elizabeth Henry. “In Lynn and in cities across the state we need to build a clean energy industry including wind turbines and solar arrays that will power us into the future. Tom McGee also knows that we need a 21st century transit system that will get us to and from our jobs. He is prepared to invest in this critical infrastructure that will create jobs now and build a new economy for the future.”

“While we rarely endorse candidates for local office, we will do so increasingly. We want legislative leaders who support clean energy and a modernized transportation system to know we’ve got their backs, whether they’re running for re-election or for municipal or other offices. The ELM Action Fund is proud to endorse Senator McGee for Mayor because of his strong commitment to addressing these issues in Lynn and across the Commonwealth,” said Joe O’Brien, ELM Action Fund Political Director. “In his work as a State Senator he has led state efforts to invest in clean energy, sustainable transportation and parks to help address climate change, create jobs, and build healthier communities."

In his tenure in the state Senate, McGee has been a tireless advocate for investments in transportation infrastructure and helped pass the legislation to keep the costs of public transit affordable for working families. He also has worked to expand access to public transportation, including leading efforts to establish commuter ferry service from Lynn to Boston. During McGee’s tenure as one of the leaders of the State Senate, Massachusetts has led the nation in policies to address the impacts of climate change, invest in renewable energy generation and create a more sustainable Commonwealth. 

McGee is a lifelong Lynn resident and is currently a member of the State Senate representing the Third Essex District, which includes all of Lynn and several surrounding communities. McGee has served in the State Senate since 2002 and is co-chair of the Legislature's Transportation Committee. He also recently served a three-year term as the Democratic State Committee chairman. For more information about his campaign you can visit his website at www.mcgeeforlynn.com.

The ELM Action Fund is a nonpartisan organization that helps pass laws that protect our environmental legacy, holds our elected officials accountable, and works to build the political power of the environmental community. To learn more about our work and our recent electoral victories go to www.elmaction.org/campaigns.