Support Article 31 at Town Meeting to start moving towards a safer climate future
The warrant article and motion would allow Lincoln to restrict the use of fossil fuels in new buildings and major modifications. If approved at Town Meeting, the next step would be a “home rule petition” to the state legislature, as currently is required for a town to exercise such authority. If approved by the state legislature, Lincoln could adopt a new bylaw at a subsequent Town Meeting, after an appropriate Town-wide deliberative process to determine the most appropriate details for such a bylaw.
The idea is to begin the process of shifting our building stock from burning fossil fuels to operating entirely on electricity, while we also move to increasingly generate our electricity from clean renewable energy. These are two of the important changes needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Fossil fuels used for buildings cause about 1/3 of Lincoln’s emissions of greenhouse gases (“GHGs”). The good news is that with current technology, all-electric heating, cooling, and cooking is economical, comfortable, reliable, and safe. In fact, when building new, going all-electric can save money on both up-front installation costs and operating costs, compared to relying on gas or other fossil fuels. Related good news is that Lincoln residents can already get “100% green” electricity, which increases the amount of renewable energy on our electric grid. (Sign up here.)
Eventually, existing buildings will also need to convert to all-electric, for the same reasons. This motion would not generally require retrofitting existing buildings -- that’s a problem we need to address separately. One exception is that the new bylaw could be applied to “major modifications”, which some other towns have defined to mean “gut” renovations that redo at least 75% of the building floor area.
As noted above, the details of the new bylaw would remain to be developed though additional public processes in Lincoln. For example, Lincoln could choose to still allow installing an emergency generator powered by fossil fuels, such as a propane tank or natural gas, and could authorize other exceptions from the general prohibition on new fossil fuel hook-ups.
More information on these is available at the links collected here.
Citizen's Petition— Restrict Fossil Fuel Systems in New Buildings
A group of residents is asking Town Meeting to support a petition to the State Legislature that would result in new construction being all-electric for heating, cooling, and indoor cooking. Lincoln would thus join with other towns who have similarly petitioned the state, to help achieve the statewide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions needed to meet the deadlines in the climate act signed in March 2021. Learn more at Zoom meetings Monday March 14 at 7 - 8 pm or Thursday March 17 at 3 - 4 pm. Zoom Links are shown below. Additional information will also be posted at LincolnGreenEnergy.org. Call Trish O’Hagan (781-248-5657) or Paul Shorb (617-543-5590) with questions.
Topic: Citizen's Petition for All Electric Construction Webinars (choose one)
Time: Mar 14, 2022 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82072433671
Meeting ID: 820 7243 3671
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Time: Mar 17, 2022 03:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81095315671
Meeting ID: 810 9531 5671
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Here is more information about this Citizen's Petition.
Here are more resources related to this petition.