Here are documents provided by the sponsors of the articles detailing further information on the topics for the Candidates for Town Office to consider in responding to the CLC annual Question. We look forward to reading your responses.
The largest source of Lexington’s emissions comes from our electricity consumption. How can the Town of Lexington help local residents and small businesses switch to cleaner and cheaper electricity?
The Board of Selectmen has submitted a warrant article asking Town Meeting to authorize the Town to enter into a Community Choice electricity aggregation program that would consolidate residential and commercial retail electricity demand in order to seek proposals for cheaper and cleaner sources of power on behalf of our residents and businesses.
We are lucky to be living in Massachusetts, one of only 5 states in the country that allows local residents and businesses to collectively choose a competitive supplier by pooling their buying power with the goal of choosing a cleaner and cheaper supplier for our electricity.
All electricity consumers in Massachusetts have the option to select a competitive retail electricity supplier. But only 10% of Lexington’s residential customers have switched to competitive suppliers. It is not hard to understand why so few have taken advantage of this opportunity. Picking a vendor can be complicated and time consuming, and many residents are concerned they might not have enough information to make a good choice.
In contrast, 86% of the electricity consumed by Lexington’s commercial customers comes from competitive electricity suppliers. Large commercial customers have proven that they can effectively obtain lower rates by switching to competitive suppliers. The Town of Lexington has also had great success with our competitive supplier, purchasing electricity for 22% less than the NSTAR Basic Service rate last year. With the recent rate hikes, the Town is looking even smarter. Our long-term supply agreement allows the Town to buy electricity at half the rate of NSTAR’s Basic Service rate and get cleaner energy than NSTAR’s Basic Service!
If approved, the Town’s electricity broker would develop an aggregation plan that would be reviewed and approved by the Board of Selectmen, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and the Department of Public Utilities. Once the plan is approved, the broker would solicit bids for cleaner and cheaper power, all at the broker’s own cost and risk.
Customers would continue to receive one bill from NSTAR and NSTAR would continue
to provide electricity delivery, emergency services and customer support. Individual
residents and businesses would retain the right to opt-out with no penalty and choose
any other competitive supplier or the default Basic Service energy supply provided by
Many local governments are achieving a powerful range of objectives for their residents and businesses using Community Choice programs:
Competitive, often significantly lower, electricity rates
Transition to a cleaner, more efficient energy supply
Consumer choice, consumer protection, & local control
If that sounds good to you, ask your Town Meeting members to approve the Community Choice warrant article.
Draft Warrant Article: To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to enter into a Community Choice electricity aggregation program and contract for electric supply for Lexington residents and businesses as per MGL 164, Section 134, or act in any other manner in relation thereto.
Comment: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by enacting Chapter 164 of the Acts
of 1997, has established a competitive electricity marketplace. If a Community Choice
Aggregation program is implemented in Lexington, individual residents and businesses
would retain the right to opt-out with no penalty and choose any other competitive
supplier or the utility’s default Basic Service energy supply.
Lexington RESOLUTION ON FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT—DRAFT
TOWN OF LEXINGTON RESOLUTION ON FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT
—DRAFT 1/26/15 Some changes in wording may be made before Town Meeting, but the content will essentially be the same. The resolution number will be added when it is available
WHEREAS, Global warming, caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels and the resulting increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, is a serious threat to the health and well-being of current and future generations in Lexington and around the world; and
WHEREAS, The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report found that global warming is already causing costly disruption of human and natural systems throughout the world, including the acidification of the oceans, melting of Arctic and glacial ice, rising sea levels, increasing heat waves, floods, droughts, extreme weather, and corresponding food and water shortages, property damage, threats to national security, loss of biodiversity, increased health consequences such as mosquito and tick borne diseases, pollen related allergies and asthma and even death; and
WHEREAS, The effects of global warming will further intensify with increased temperatures such that almost all governments in the world, including the United States, have agreed (through the 2009 Copenhagen Accord) that any warming above a 2°C (3.6°F) rise would be unsafe for human habitation. Further, that the time is fast approaching when it will be impossible to limit the rise in temperature through human actions; and
WHEREAS: The Town of Lexington has a moral obligation to protect the health, welfare and property of its residents from the threat of global warming and has already made a conscientious effort in this regard by becoming a Massachusetts Green Community, establishing the Sustainable Lexington and the Energy Conservation Committees, by installing solar panels on schools and other municipal buildings, by installing bike lanes, and electric vehicle charging stations, replacing its streetlights with LED bulbs, and hosting a weekly farmer’s market in the summer; and
WHEREAS, Proven coal, oil and natural gas reserves, counted as assets of fossil fuel companies, equal roughly five times the maximum amount that can safely be burned to prevent more than 2°C of global warming; and
WHEREAS: Investments in fossil fuel companies could prove highly risky given that 80% of their proven reserves could become "stranded" and unusable assets with the occurrence of the following: governments acting to put a price on carbon that recognizes its harmful effects, cost-effective renewable energy resources continuing to be developed, increasing costs of fossil fuel extraction, changing social norms bringing increased energy efficiency, expanded environmental regulation, and suppressed growth of fossil fuel demand in key economies; and
WHEREAS, The Town of Lexington has a duty to its employees and taxpayers to maintain the value of funds invested on their behalf and to avoid risky investments; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT Lexington Town Meeting urges its Retirement Board and Trustees of Public Trusts to review their investment portfolios in order to identify any holdings that include direct or indirect investments in fossil fuel companies, defined for purposes of this Resolution as any of the two hundred publicly-traded companies with the largest coal, oil and gas reserves (as measured by the gigatons of carbon dioxide that would be emitted if those reserves were extracted and burned) such as those companies listed by the Fossil Free Indexes, LLC; and
Be it FURTHER RESOLVED, That Lexington Town Meeting urges its Retirement Board and Trustees of Public Trusts to adopt policies to divest from such existing public equities, corporate bonds, or other direct holdings in fossil fuel companies within five years and to preclude any new direct investments in fossil fuel companies in the future, and
Be it FURTHER RESOLVED, That, for any investments of the Town of Lexington in commingled funds that are found to include fossil fuel companies, Town Meeting urges the Retirement Board and the Trustees of Public Trusts to contact their fund managers and request that the fossil fuel companies be removed from such funds over a period of five years; and
Be it FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Retirement Board and the Trustees of Public Trusts release annual updates, that are made available to the public, which detail progress made towards full divestment from fossil fuel companies within five years; and
Be it FURTHER RESOLVED, That Town Meeting urges the Board of Selectmen, and Retirement Board to ask the managers of the State of Massachusetts Pension Reserve Investment Trust Fund (PRIT) to foster a more sustainable future for our residents by divesting statewide retirement funds from fossil fuel companies, and
Be it FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Town Clerk is requested to send copies of this Resolution to Lexington’s elected state and national officials including President Barack Obama, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, Representative Katherine Clark, Representative Jay Kaufman, Governor Charlie Baker, State Senators Michael Barrett and Kenneth Donnelly, as well as to State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC) and managers of the Pension Reserve Investment Trust (PRIT), or take any other action relative thereto.
Nothing herein shall be construed as requiring the Town Retirement Board or
Trustees of Public Trusts to violate their fiduciary duty as determined by the Town’s Counsel,
or, in the case of the managers of PRIT, by the appropriate state appointed counsel.
Below is the letter that Candidates received, asking for a response.
Citizens for Lexington Conservation annually invites candidates for public office in the Town of Lexington to address a topic related to conservation and the environment that is of concern to our members. Candidates' responses will be included in our annual Candidates' Forum newsletter that will be published during February. This issue of our newsletter will be sent to you and over 300 other Lexington families. It will also be available at the Cary Memorial Library and on the CLC web site, http://www.clclex.org.
CLC Candidate Question, 2015
CLC has chosen to focus on two warrant articles for this year’s candidate question. Both are related to energy issues and their impact on global warming.
The first article would authorize the Town to enter into a Community Choice electricity aggregation program that would pool the buying power of local residents and small businesses, and choose a competitive supplier with the goal of choosing an environmentally cleaner and cheaper source of electricity. This article is being submitted to Town Meeting by the Board of Selectmen at the recommendation of the Sustainable Lexington Committee.
The second article is a citizens article being proposed by the Global Warming Action Coalition that would have Town Meeting approve a nonbinding resolution for the Town to take a stand on fossil fuel divestment. This article would urge the Town to take certain steps to reduce the Town’s investments in the oil, gas and coal industry, and to recommend fossil fuel divestments to the State Retirement Board.
Warrant article numbers had not been assigned at the time of distribution of this question to candidates. Final warrant article numbers will be posted to the CLC web site as soon as they are available.
CLC’s question to all candidates for elective office is; what position will you be taking on both warrant articles? Please include a brief explanation as to the justification for your position. Further information on both articles may be found on the CLC web site at: http://www.clclex.org.
Please respond to the question using no more than one half page. E-mail replies are preferred, but typewritten and even legible handwritten ones will be accepted. Please put your name, precinct number, telephone number, email address and the position you are seeking at the top of your statement. A copy of the topic you are addressing will be printed in the newsletter, so you do not need to repeat it in your response. To be included in our newsletter, your statement must reach me at one of the addresses given below no later than Tuesday, February 10, 2015. If you use email, I will send a return acknowledgment, so you will know that your response was received.
Kate Fricker, Editor CLC Newsletter
1010 Waltham St, Apt. 220, Lexington, MA 02421-8062
Telephone: 781-862-8868, or 781-640-1276