The Codcast: The politics of energy, Cape Wind

The Senate’s point person on energy and the developer behind Cape Wind share their concerns in this week’s Codcast about the House energy bill, which calls for the state’s utilities to solicit large amounts of offshore wind power and hydroelectricity from Canada, possibly in tandem with onshore wind or other forms of clean energy.

Sen. Ben Downing of Pittsfield, the cochair of the Legislature’s Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy Committee, says the House bill doesn’t go far enough, and needs to address energy efficiency, energy storage, and possibly even solar power. “The bill, as it’s currently constructed, is too narrow,” he says.

Interestingly, the bill came out of Downing’s committee, but was crafted and voted out by just the House members. “The process hasn’t been ideal by any means,” Downing says.

Jim Gordon, the energy developer behind Cape Wind, also thinks the House bill is too timid, but his biggest beef is with its language excluding the Nantucket Sound wind farm from participating in the procurements for offshore wind. No one on Beacon Hill is willing to come out and say it plainly, but their concern is that Cape Wind’s political baggage and its deep-pocketed opponents make it politically radioactive.

Matthew Beaton, the governor’s secretary of energy and environmental affairs, summed up the political dilemma on Thursday. “We’ve always wanted to include competition, but we’ve also got a long story with Cape Wind and we don’t want that to get in the way of what could be a successful development,” he said.

Gordon, who lost two key power contracts for his project in January 2015 when he was unable to complete the wind farm’s financing, now finds himself on the comeback trail, pleading for a chance to compete. It doesn’t seem like anyone on Beacon Hill is listening, and Gordon says he is hearing from friends in the industry who claim “this seems unconstitutional to exclude a bidder for no rational public policy.”

BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

Matthew Beaton, the governor’s secretary of energy and environmental affairs, wants a bigger hydroelectricity procurement  in the energy bill and indicates he shares House concerns about Cape Wind. (CommonWealth)

The conservative Mass. Fiscal Alliance selectively “dings” Democratic lawmakers for irresponsible reaching for budget earmarks, while ignoring some top Republican practitioners of the art, writes Frank Phillips. (Boston Globe)

House Speaker Robert DeLeo is readying to lead the charge for more early childhood education funding in next year’s budget. (Boston Globe)

Senate President Stan Rosenberg isn’t keen on Gov. Charlie Baker’s plan to have State Police cooperate with federal immigration authorities and put holds illegal immigrants who are arrested. (Boston Herald)

Citing a report from George Mason University giving Massachusetts a poor grade on fiscal health, an Eagle-Tribune editorial says state leaders on Beacon Hill should be paying attention.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia tapped a retired 32-year veteran of the city’s police force to be his new chief of staff but the contract will have to be rewritten after the Herald News found a number of discrepancies in the terms and dates.

The Herald says recently released City Hall emails show former AFL-CIO official Tim Sullivan continuing to push the union’s agenda after becoming a top aide to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. The paper also reports on emails showing that indicted city tourism chief Ken Brissette prepared “talking points” for a Walsh conversation with IndyCar executives that praised them for hiring two former Walsh campaign aides.

The “Hire a panhandler” initiative in New Bedford is growing as several more businesses have signed up to pay homeless people to wear sandwich board advertising signs rather than beg for money at downtown street corners. (Standard-Times) Meanwhile in Worcester, city manager Edward Augustus Jr. urges the public not to give cash to panhandlers. (Telegram & Gazette)

Bridgewater health officials shelved a proposed ordinance on farm animals after a social media backlash from residents and will use a state model instead. (The Enterprise)

The secretary of state’s office has ruled Brewster officials can withhold an audio recording of a special Town Meeting where the moderator insulted two women who questioned his actions. The Supervisor of Public Records said releasing the tape could identify and embarrass one woman the moderator called an alcoholic. (Cape Cod Times)

CASINOS

Wynn Resorts is planning only 10 boat slips at its $2 billion casino and hotel complex on the Mystic River. (CommonWealth)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Citizenship applications are up sharply in Massachusetts and across New England. (Boston Globe)

ELECTIONS

Hillary Clinton found her footing, torching Donald Trump as “unfit” to be president or have his finger near the nuclear button. But experts say her speech, which was billed as a major foreign policy address, was long on snark and short on specifics. (New York Times) A Herald editorial says Clinton’s rant against Trump was mostly on the mark, but the paper ends by reminding everyone that she’s an untrustworthy liar.

House Speaker Paul Ryan drops his Hamlet imitation and throws in with Trump, though he did it via a hometown oped rather than a joint public appearance. (U.S. News & World Report)

Scott Harshbarger joins the United Independent Party, saying democracy in Massachusetts needs a shot in the arm. (CommonWealth)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Jeff Jacoby says we require licensing for way too many occupations. (Boston Globe)

EDUCATION

About 400 adjunct faculty members at the University of Massachusetts Boston may be facing layoff due to a budget crunch at the Dorchester campus. (Boston Globe)

Officials at the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School in Marlborough have banned several students from graduation after they said a video shared on social media showed them drinking illegally and making inappropriate comments at a private house party. But the parents who hosted the barbecue say the school overreacted and nothing wrong occurred. (MetroWest Daily News)

Students at B.M.C. Durfee High School in Fall River are planning a walkout after air conditioning in the building broke down, leaving classrooms feeling like saunas. (Herald News)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Dr. Paul Hattis, a former member of the state’s Health Policy Commission, suggests the best way to address hospital pricing disparity may be to pave the way for the breakup of Partners HealthCare. (CommonWealth)

Prince died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl. (Time)

Through comic books, costumed characters, and  smartphone apps, drug companies and medical device makers are figuring out ways to turn kids into potentially lifelong loyal customers. (STAT)

TRANSPORTATION

The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority has partnered with Uber to give passengers who take the summertime train from Boston to Hyannis discounts on rides to their final destinations. (Cape Cod Times)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Do we really need zoos? (Greater Boston)

The state Department of Environmental Protection has ordered a halt to asbestos removal at a closed church in Quincy after the contractor failed to follow safety regulations in the densely populated neighborhood. (Patriot Ledger)

State officials want to test for arsenic in and around where a Danvers tannery was located a century ago. (Salem News)

State officials have renewed a ban through October on shellfishing in the North and South rivers in Marshfield because of a high bacterial count. (Patriot Ledger)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

A federal jury rejected a claim by a former prosecutor in the office of Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley that she faced wage discrimination as a woman and that she was fired for raising the allegations. (Boston Globe)

Lawrence continues Operation Blue Crush, as the ongoing crackdown on drug traffickers leads to the arrest of 30 people. (Eagle-Tribune)

A Brockton man freed in the Annie Dookhan state lab scandal has been found guilty of manslaughter for shooting a man six months after he was released from prison in the Dookhan affair. (The Enterprise)

MEDIA

Dan Kennedy makes a case that the secret financing of the successful Hulk Hogan suit against Gawker is a legitimate threat to the First Amendment. (WGBH)

Tribune Publishing is changing its name to tronc, an acronym for tribune online content, intentionally all lower-case. (The Verge)