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All across the internet and throughout holiday conversations, everyone seems to be talking about what an awful year 2016 was. Between celebrity deaths and the election of Donald Trump, it definitely had some real black strikes against it. But as I’m looking back on the accomplishments of Clean Water Action in Massachusetts, I’m finding some real reasons to celebrate as well.

Here’s a reminder of some of 2016’s better moments!

  • The Massachusetts legislature passed a comprehensive energy bill that included guaranteed purchase of 1600 megawatts of offshore wind (the largest amount in the US), repair of potent gas leaks previously ignored by utilities but damaging to our climate and neighborhoods, energy storage targets for utilities, and formation of a public committee to oversee the safe decommissioning of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant;   
  • Clean Water Action and our partners in the Green Justice Coalition successfully advocated for the state's 3-year plan energy efficiency plan to include new ways for renters to have access to the benefits of energy efficiency programs;
  • The Kinder Morgan fracked gas pipeline proposal was withdrawn and a tax on electric customers to fund the construction of new pipelines was struck down by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court;
  • Boston's fire code was updated to allow modern approaches to safety without mandating the use of toxic flame retardants in furniture in schools, hospitals, theaters and other assembly spaces;
  • In April, Clean Water Action joined our partners in the Boston Recycling Coalition in co-hosting with the city a regional Zero Waste Summit, which was a major step towards securing the city's commitment to Zero Waste;
  • Clean Water Action settled 8 Clean Water Act citizen suits with Massachusetts companies that we found to be in violation of the Clean Water Act - forcing them to clean up their pollution and contribute to a local effort to improve water quality in the watershed in question;
  • Clean Water Action endorsed 16 candidates for state legislature--14 of whom won their seats--and supported the passage of two ballot questions to reduce pollution from factory farms through more humane treatment of animals and bring the Community Preservation Act to Boston.
  • On December 24th, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh signed into law an ordinance that will address concerns about worker safety, promote infrastructure coordination, and promote environmental protection from gas leaks.
  • The Massachusetts Senate passed a bill to ban toxic flame retardants in children’s products and household furniture (the House did not pass the bill before the session ended and so we will be working on that again in 2017).

As we head into 2017, we’ll be fighting hard to hold the line against environmental rollbacks at the federal level, but we also have many opportunities to win more victories like these at the state and local levels here in Massachusetts.  Let’s keep fighting for and celebrating those victories together.

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