Goldstein-Rose’s Clean Energy Caucus up and running

  • State Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose is chairman of a new Clean Energy Caucus. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Sunday, April 15, 2018

AMHERST — When a criminal justice reform bill was recently adopted by the state Legislature, its contents were supported by the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, which had long championed such changes.

State Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose, I-Amherst, hopes to see similar support for clean energy initiatives through a new Clean Energy Caucus that began in March. While the caucus won’t have immediate impacts on legislation, Goldstein-Rose, chairman of the caucus, said he is inspired by the results of criminal justice reform. The Clean Energy Caucus is in the early stages of addressing how to confront climate change and better understand how it is creating a public health crisis.

“Clean energy is a massive opportunity for economic development and national leadership in Massachusetts,” Goldstein-Rose said.

More than 20 members of the House and Senate have joined the caucus that held its first briefing in early April, titled “Clean Energy=Public Health,” which brought in experts from the American Lung Association, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University

Goldstein-Rose said among the information provided was that in a warming world, with rising seal levels and more potential for powerful Category 4 storms, floods could be more frequent that would prevent state residents from getting to Boston-area hospitals.

“One of the startling facts is that 80 percent of hospitals beds would be inaccessible,” Goldstein-Rose said.

Goldstein-Rose said the goal of the caucus is get the topic of clean energy on people’s minds and not just respond when there are emergencies. He added the caucus will be the place for an all-encompassing conversation and for eventually formulating policy to address climate change, including through economic development. Initially, though, the caucus will learn about energy systems.

The caucus is bipartisan and has been endorsed by leaders in the House and Senate.

“It’s been very well received by leadership,” Goldstein-Rose said.

Among the 22 founding members are Sen. Eric Lesser, D-Longmeadow, who said in a statement that it is important to raise awareness of how clean energy improves quality of life.

“The clean energy revolution is surging in Massachusetts, and particularly in Western Mass,” said Lesser, chairman of the Senate’s Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee.

The next briefing will be Wednesday.

Updates of the caucus work will be published online at cleanenergyma.weebly.com

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com