Leonardo Angiulo: How State Law Can Be Used To Promote Clean Energy
Monday, June 09, 2014
Without much exaggeration, the issue of how power gets generated divides people into three distinct camps. The first see significant environment harm caused by energy sources like coal. That harm begins with the mining, continues during the processing, and culminates in the exhaust from the final burning. Some groups, such as the Sierra Club, see strengthened EPA regulations as an unqualified victory by promoting health and growing the economy through renewable energy projects. It's also no secret that many people link carbon emission and air pollution. The chemical poisoning of the public drinking water in West Virginia this past January, however, is another reminder that even the processing of carbon fuels like coal can have a high environmental cost.
The second group considers the current modes of energy production as a vital part of our economy that should not be cast aside based on speculation. The American Coal Council presents itself as the voice of an industry and disputes major assertions of their opponents, such as the ability of alternative energies to keep up with demand or the efficacy of clean coal technology, on their website. Other associations, like the United Mine Workers of America, are concerned by the idea of their way of life ending. In the short-term, if we transition away from coal energy less people would work in mines, resulting in some families having less income and some small businesses in mining towns closing.
The third group of people either haven't considered the issues enough to have an opinion or don't care.
Those that do care, however, should know that Massachusetts regulations currently provide them with an opportunity to act on their beliefs. Our state's laws are structured in such a way that residential and commercial electricity bills are comprised of delivery fees and generation fees. The delivery fee is the cost to send energy through, and maintain, infrastructure like power lines. The generation fee reflects the payment due to the entity that sources the electricity you eventually receive. Massachusetts has been a competitive supply state since the passage of Chapter 164 of the Acts of 1997. This means every resident and business has the right to choose who they purchase their electricity from and, therefore, how that energy is generated.
The language of the Chapter 164 presents several bases for its enactment. Of note is the legislature's interest in encouraging competitive pricing and opening the market to new and improved technologies. While the bill affected several individual laws the overall impact is clear: if you have an opinion about how electricity should be generated in the future you should act now.
Interestingly, if you don't exercise your rights to competitive supply the result is your distribution company gets to choose for you. If you happen to fall into that third group of people who don't sweat this stuff then feel free to carry on. If, however, you care then don't hesitate to speak up. With your wallet.
- Leonardo Angiulo: U.S. Supreme Court Renews 2nd Amendment Debate
- Angiulo: What the Amanda Knox Retrial Says About American Justice
- Angiulo: Virginia Ruling Opens New Chapter in Gay Marriage Debate
- Angiulo: New Mass. Case Limits Warrantless Electronic Surveillance
- Angiulo: Pretrial Probation—A Way to Avoid a Criminal Record
- Angiulo: There is No Sixth Amendment in China
- Leonardo Angiulo: Legally Speaking, What is Intent to Distribute?
- Angiulo: Comparing Legalized Prostitution in Canada versus America
- Angiulo: New Law Enforcement Tool Raises Important Questions
- Leonardo Angiulo: The Limits of the Presumption of Innocence
- Leonardo Angiulo: Medical Decision-Making in the Case of Children
- Angiulo: Legal Upskirting: MA Got a Lot Creepier for Two Days
- Angiulo: Storytelling Traditions Alive in Today’s Courtrooms
- Leonardo Angiulo: MA Criminal Justice Attorney Pay at Crisis Level
- Leonardo Angiulo: US Incarceration Rate May be Unsustainable
- Angiulo: Ten Years of Same-Sex Marriage in Massachusetts
- Leonardo Angiulo: Supreme Court Rules Raging Bull Lawsuit to Go Another Round in Federal Court
- Leonardo Angiulo: The Impact of Parole on Murder Sentences
- Leonard Angiulo: Evolving Status of Animals in the MA Legal System
- Leonardo Angiulo: Money in Politics
- Leonardo Angiulo: The Evolution of Federal Sentencing Guidelines
- Leonardo Angiulo: A Good Day for FBI, A Bad Day for Politicians
- Leonardo Angiulo: When a Car Accident Isn’t Just an Accident
- Leonardo Angiulo: Freedom of Information in Action