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A billboard sponsored by the citizens' group Save the Art - Save the Museum on routes 7 and 20 in Pittsfield calls for transparency from the Berkshire Museum. Photo courtesy Save the Art - Save the Museum

News Briefs: Save the Art – Save the Museum to host July 14 rally; Mass. Senate committee discusses report findings for clean energy bill

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By Wednesday, Jul 11, 2018 News

Save the Art – Save the Museum to host rally in front of Berkshire Museum

Pittsfield — Save the Art – Save the Museum invites the public to a rally Saturday, July 14, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the Berkshire Museum. The peaceful vigil will call on the museum to halt further sales of its art, and to be more open and transparent in its planning for the future.

The rally marks the first anniversary of the Berkshire Museum’s announcement of its plan to sell some of its art; alter its historic building; and move away from its original mission as a multifaceted museum of art, natural sciences, and history. In conjunction with the protest, Save the Art – Save the Museum has placed a billboard for the month of July along routes 7 and 20 just south of Guido’s Fresh Marketplace.

In answer to the public outcry calling for transparency, the museum has made available on its website the following forms filed with the appropriate federal and state agencies for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017: current financial statements, Form 990, the New York state form CHAR500 annual filing for charitable organizations and Massachusetts Form PC. The documents reinforce the conclusions of both the museum’s board of trustees and the Office of the Attorney General about the museum’s financial situation, including annual operating deficits of more than $1 million that could force the museum to eventually close its doors.

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Mass. Senate committee discusses report findings for clean energy bill

Boston — The Massachusetts Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change hosted a briefing Tuesday to discuss the findings of the Applied Economics Clinic and Sustainable Energy Advantage report, which focuses on the impacts of the major electric sector provisions in the 2018 Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future that passed the Massachusetts Senate unanimously last month.

The report looked at four specific policies within the Clean Energy Future bill:

  • Renewable Portfolio Standard: The Commonwealth should accelerate the percentage increase of the state’s RPS from 1 to 3 percent per year, requiring utilities and competitive suppliers to increase the amount of renewable resources for electricity they sell;
  • Offshore wind: Build 5,000 megawatts by 2035, which is equivalent to over three million residential homes;
  • Battery storage: Reach an in-state battery storage goal of 1,766 MW by 2025; and
  • Lift net metering cap: Remove the cap on net metering, which sells energy back into the grid, from small solar installations.

The report found that these four policies would bring the following benefits to Massachusetts:

  • 1,800 new jobs on average;
  • $263 million in economic growth per year from 2018 to 2030, totaling $3.4 billion in growth over the 12-year period;
  • 9,800 MW of total clean energy generation;
  • A reduction of 600,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions for the Commonwealth; and
  • No increase in Massachusetts electric rates and bills.

The Massachusetts Sierra Club offered the following response from chapter director Emily Norton:

“The science is clear, and now the economics are clear – Massachusetts can and must do more to reduce the greenhouse gases that are disrupting our climate,” said Norton. “This report demonstrates clearly what a win these policies are for Massachusetts residents, businesses and municipalities in terms of public health, job growth, and stable electricity bills. We urge swift action by the Massachusetts House before their July 31 deadline.”

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