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Massachusetts Legislature rejects initiative, more signatures now needed for ballot

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May 11, 2010

BOSTON, Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Legislature Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy decided to not make a proposed initiative a law that would mandate that waste-to-energy sources that rely on heat for decomposition to emit at most 250 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour in order to be categorized as "alternative energy developments." This now leaves EcoLaw, organizers of the petition, to gather more signatures in order to place the measure on the ballot and let voters decide. According to the committee's report on the initiative, “The initiative petition, HR 4458, places severe emission restrictions on a broad range of renewable energy plants, including biomass and waste-to-energy plants, limiting our energy choices, harming our state’s economy, and preventing the state from meeting our renewable energy goals,”[1][2]

The measure has had a long journey up to this point, as Massachusetts' law concerning citizen initiative ballot measures calls for multiple steps to be taken to ensure ballot access. Supporters must have collected a minimum of 66,593 valid signatures from registered voters by December 2, 2009; except for veto referenda, where they must have collected 33,297 signatures. The measure then had to be reviewed by Legislature. Massachusetts Legislature had until the May 4, 2010 deadline to either make the initiative a law, or send it back to petition organizers to collect more signatures. Petition organizers now must obtain signatures from about 1/2 of 1% of voters who voted in the last governor election, and those signatures must be submitted to the Secretary of State's office before or on July 7, 2010. The 1/2 of 1% signatures that must be obtained totals out to 11,099 signatures.[3]

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