BOSTON (SHNS) – Though the negotiators have been named, the conference committee that will be tasked with producing a compromise offshore wind, energy and climate bill by the end of July has not yet begun its work.
Sens. Michael Barrett, Cindy Creem and Bruce Tarr, and Reps. Jeff Roy, Tackey Chan and Brad Jones were named last Thursday to reconcile the offshore wind-focused bill (H 4515) that the House passed in March with the broader climate and energy bill (S 2842) that cleared the Senate last month. Barrett and Roy each separately told the News Service that the group has not yet scheduled its first meeting, which is likely to be the only negotiating session that’s partly open to the public.
While the Senate negotiators had the benefit of being able to see the House bill before releasing their own proposal, the representatives on the conference committee have to get up to speed on the legislation that the Senate debated and passed the week that the House was rolling out its fiscal year 2023 budget.
During a State House News Service event last week that featured both Barrett and Roy, the Lexington senator said there is much that he and Roy agree on, but cautioned that getting to a compromise version will be “very tough stuff.” “This isn’t going to be trading one of our apples for one of the House’s oranges and neatly coming to a conclusion,” Barrett said.
The House bill is essentially a deep dive on offshore wind policy while the Senate’s legislation is a more broad climate and energy bill that touches upon offshore wind but also deals with topics like climate resilience, solar policy and electric vehicles.