New Statewide Coalition Pushes For Environmentally Friendly Energy Policies

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Representatives from various groups in the coalition announced the new efforts in Pittsfield on Wednesday.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A new statewide coalition of community groups was launched on Wednesday to advocate for environmental friendly energy policies.
On Wednesday afternoon a half-dozen representatives from groups involved announced the coalition, Mass Power Forward, in Pittsfield and similar events were held across the state.
"We're a diverse group of faith, environmental, business groups, community groups, that are fighting for climate justice, fighting to make a better future for our families," Marlon Washington, of 350 Mass Better Future Project, said.
"We believe there is a moral responsibility to make this happen. We really want to see a bill that involves solar and off shore wind to make Massachusetts the leader its always been in making sure there is clean energy that is sustainable."
The group numbers 90 strong across the state and will fight against fossil fuel projects such as Kinder Morgan's proposed Tennessee Gas Pipeline and instead advocate for investment in renewable energy projects. Washington said hope is for a state bill expanding the renewable industries and limiting fossil fuels.
"It is truly statewide and a very diverse coalition," Washington said. 
Jane Winn of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team said by investing in clean energy, pollution can be reduced by 80 percent by 2050. She is calling on Gov. Charlie Baker and state lawmakers for policies to do so.
"The choices we make this year are ones we will have to live with for decades to come. We can chain ourselves to fracked gas and have our heating and electricity costs go up and down with the price of this fuel — and sending those dollars our of the state and continue to spew carbon into the air. Or we can invest in clean energy that has no fuel cost, keeps us on track to reduce our climate change pollution by no less than 80 percent by 2050 as required by state law, keeping our energy dollars local, and create local, full-time permanent jobs," she said.
Winn said the state is overreliant on natural gas and it pollutes the air while sending money out of the state. Christopher Kilfoyle of Berkshire Photovoltaic Services is calling for more incentives in the solar industry.
"Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources show that solar installations actually benefit customers by saving them tax and health care costs as well as reducing utility transmission distribution and energy purchasing costs," Kilfoyle said. "The recent study by the Acadia Center shows that under the present net metering and incentive structure solar production is undervalued by a third."
He said the Baker administration is trying to reduce solar incentives.

Tags: alternative energy,   green technology,   natural gas,   solar,   

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Pittsfield Hoop Club Awards Five Scholarships

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Pittsfield Hoop Club continues its long-standing tradition of supporting local student-athletes and celebrating the city’s rich sports tradition with the announcement of the Class of 2019 Scholarship Award Recipients.
Since 1998, The Pittsfield Hoop Club has contributed more than $85,000 to local student-athletes through their scholarship program. In addition to investing in the future of local student-athletes, the organization is also devoted to recognizing former players, coaches, and contributors to the game. Five senior basketball players, who are set to graduate this month from Pittsfield High School and Taconic High School, are being recognized by the Pittsfield Hoop Club – with each student receiving a $500 scholarship to be allocated to their post-secondary education.
“We are pleased to award these scholarships," club president John McLaughlin said. "The scholarship program has been a core part of our mission since The Pittsfield Hoop Club was founded close to 20 years ago. It’s gratifying to support these particular students in such a direct way.”
The Pittsfield Hoop Club scholarships are awarded at a time when the average annual college tuition hovers around $10,000 at public universities and $35,000 at private colleges, which does not include room, board, and other expenses. Kevin Codey and Tim Carroll, the Pittsfield Hoop Club Scholarship Committee co-chairs, noted the body of work that the annual scholarship recipients possess. 
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