CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Shannon plans to be a leading Attorney General in the fight against climate change. As New England continues to warm faster than the rest of the planet, it has never been more important to have an Attorney General who can use the law to hold fossil fuel companies accountable and ensure that our state government meets our ambitious climate change goals. With more than two decades of experience in holding big corporations accountable for their abuses, Shannon is ready on day one to hold Exxon and other fossil fuel companies accountable for their role in climate change. She will work to ensure that marginalized communities who are most impacted by climate change and environmental hazards are centered to ensure equity and meaningful environmental justice.

As Attorney General, Shannon will:

    1. Set up a Green Bank to fund environmental justice projects;
    2. Hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their impact on climate change and polluting our communities;
    3. Fight to ensure a just transition for workers into a green economy;
    4. Enforce our ambitious climate laws;
    5. Ensure public utilities are transparent and accountable.

Establish a Green Bank

Massachusetts has strong enforcement capabilities to go after fossil fuel companies and other corporations who pollute our communities and our environment. It is not enough to simply collect financial penalties from these corporations when they pollute our planet; they should pay to fix the damage they cause to our communities. Shannon will prioritize establishing a Green Bank to ensure that polluters are held accountable and will use those penalties to invest in cleaning and restoring our environment. 

As Attorney General, Shannon will:

      • Establish a Green Bank fund using monetary penalties that the Attorney General’s Office collects from enforcement actions against corporations and entities for polluting our environment;
      • Partner with local organizations and leaders in communities impacted by pollution and environmental hazards to determine how funds can be most effectively used to address community needs and ensure that marginalized stakeholders are centered in the process;
      • Use funds collected from enforcement to invest in local environmental justice projects and similar initiatives.

Hold Corporations and Fossil Fuel Companies Accountable

For decades, fossil fuel companies misled the public about their massive impact on climate change. Decades of misinformation about the realities of climate change have hampered our ability to pass critically-needed legislation to reduce our emissions and have put our planet in jeopardy. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has spearheaded important litigation against Exxon Mobil for misleading investors and consumers about climate change, which helped spark a broader conversation about how to hold this industry accountable. Shannon has spent more than 23 years holding big corporations accountable for their wrongful actions and she will take the same approach to holding fossil fuel companies accountable. She will also hold corporations accountable for polluting our communities and will stand up to companies like Holtec, who is seeking to dump radioactive waste into Cape Cod Bay.

As Attorney General, Shannon will: 

      • Continue the Office’s ongoing landmark litigation against Exxon Mobil for deceiving the public about their impact on climate change;
      • Investigate additional fossil fuel companies for potential fraud and misleading the public on their role in climate change; 
      • Prevent corporations from polluting our communities, including blocking Holtec from dumping radioactive waste into Cape Cod Bay;
      • Partner with Attorneys General in other states in national litigation efforts.

A Just Transition for Workers

Shannon will not allow corporate America to use the transition to clean energy as an excuse to get rid of good paying union jobs. We need to make sure that as we expand the clean energy sector and get our electrical grid fueled more by clean energy, the corporations that are developing these clean energy sources are doing so through good paying jobs protected by union contracts.

As Attorney General, Shannon will fight for legislation to:

      • Advocate for Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) to be used as a required part of the package for corporations receiving public funding or incentives to transition their practices to clean energy;
      • Ensure that environmental justice communities and marginalized stakeholders are centered to ensure equity in the transition to a green economy;
      • Investigate corporations who misclassify their workers as independent contractors in the growing green energy industry;
      • Partner with unions to ensure proper training for workers whose jobs are being displaced to smoothly transition them into working in the clean energy sector.

Enforce Our Ambitious Climate Laws

Massachusetts has strong laws on the books to reduce our emissions and combat climate change. In the most recent legislative session, the legislature passed important legislation to set forth a Next Generation Roadmap to more aggressively reduce emissions and An Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind to further increase our procurement of clean, renewable energy. While these laws set important targets and goals, even the best laws do not enforce themselves. Shannon will use every tool available to the AG’s Office to keep our state government accountable and ensure we meet our climate and clean energy goals.

As Attorney General, Shannon will:

      • Ensure that our executive branch agencies meet our climate change goals set forth in the Next Generation Roadmap bill and the recently-enacted Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind;
      • Advocate for additional legislation to reduce our emissions, combat climate change, and create strong union jobs in the green economy.

Ensure Public Utilities Are Transparent and Accountable

Investor-owned utilities provide the overwhelming majority of our electricity in Massachusetts, while only about 14% of our energy supply is democratically-controlled through municipal light and power authorities. The Department of Public Utilities has significant influence over our energy landscape and in overseeing investor-owned utility companies. Recently, in setting out a roadmap for the future and phaseout of natural gas in Massachusetts, the DPU shut out non-industry stakeholders from the process and issued a report that significantly favored utility companies at the expense of our climate goals. The Attorney General has an important role to play to ensure fairness and transparency both as the top law enforcement official and through the Office of Ratepayer Advocacy. Shannon will ensure that the DPU and investor-owned utilities adhere to our climate goals and act in the best interest of the consumers they are meant to serve.

As Attorney General, Shannon will:

        • Use the Office of Ratepayer Advocacy within the AG’s Office to protect consumers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
        • Push for a major reorientation of the Department of Public Utilities’ planning priorities to ensure that all stakeholders, particularly in environmental justice communities, have a meaningful role in DPU’s deliberations;
        • Work with municipal light and power authorities to ensure that a greater share of the energy they provide is from clean, renewable sources;
        • Work with DPU to ensure that gas companies maintain reasonable prices and do not engage in price gouging of consumers.