MASSACHUSETTS

Coverage of Massachusetts from New England Public Radio, NPR, and other NPR stations.

Its atomic size and structure make carbon a key component in all forms of life on Earth. But when carbon combines to form fossil fuels and is burned, it creates climate changing emissions that threaten all life on Earth.

That’s why getting carbon out of energy products is a hot topic these days.

In Massachusetts, there’s an effort to have consumers take the lead and make the state the first in the nation to transition to a low-carbon economy.

Discouraging The Demand For Fossil Fuels 

When it comes to real estate, the old phrase “location, location, location” still applies.

And for many, there’s no better real estate than along the water. That includes along the Mystic River in Everett.

That’s where workers for the planned Wynn casino are transforming what had been home to industrial chemical plants into a glittering, 27-floor Las Vegas-style casino.

But as the tower rises — it’s now up to five floors — focus is on the ground and along the water when it comes to mitigating the effects of climate change.

The Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston.
William Zhang / Creative Commons

A former Boston city councilor is offering a suggestion he says could help his city -- and Springfield.

Mike Ross wrote a column in Boston magazine saying Massachusetts should auction off its historic statehouse, so it could become condos. 

Susannah Whipps, during a meeting with the Springfield Republican editorial board.
Mark M. Murray / The Republican

This is a big week for Massachusetts' new marijuana industry. The makeup of the five-member Cannabis Control Commission will be finalized.

Low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately affected by the consequences of climate change -- think New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. These areas suffer from poor air quality, increasing temperatures, and extreme weather.

People playing the slot machines at the Plainridge Park Casino
Don Treeger / The Republican

As some high profile Massachusetts politicians criticize recent legislation that paves the way for casinos in the commonwealth to serve alcohol until 4 a.m., elected officials in communities where resort casinos will operate are generally supportive of the law.

The change allows the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to issue liquor licenses allowing casinos to serve alcohol to people gambling on casino floors until 4 a.m. The new time, which amounts to a two-hour extension, was included in the state budget Governor Charlie Baker signed into law.

A PVTA bus.
Mark M. Murray / The Republican / MassLive.com/photos

The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority has wrapped up a series of public hearings on proposed bus route cuts or service reductions. The PVTA Advisory Board is preparing to announce its final decisions next week, after hearing from outraged riders -- and area colleges.

The Massachusetts State House.
File photo / State House News Service

Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a bill Tuesday that would lift a restriction on welfare benefits --the so-called "Cap on Kids."

In Massachusetts, a parent with one child on transitional aid receives $478 per month if the family has no income that is counted against the grant.

If there are two children, the grant goes up by $100 a month, but if that second child was conceived when the family was on welfare, there is no increase.

UMass Amherst denied Kalsang Nangpa's request to carry the Tibetan flag during a special part of the university's commencement ceremony.
Submitted Photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette

Graduation at UMass Amherst is less than two weeks a way. One senior, a public health major from Medford, wants to carry the Tibetan flag in a parade of flags, but the university says no.

Millers River near Erving, Massachusetts
jkb / Creative Commons

Massachusetts is still in the process of recovering from a drought.  The next few weeks are a critical time for recharging ground water supplies.

Most of Massachusetts, except for Berkshire County, is under a drought advisory -- a step above normal conditions, with some limits on watering and irrigation.

And yet the state is in much better shape than last fall when most of Western Massachusetts was in a severe or even extreme drought.

Each year billions of pounds of food go to waste. That means billions of dollars, too. The Environmental Protection Agency says more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other one material in our trash. And for supermarkets, that leftover food equates to lost dollars.

The Massachusetts State House.
File photo / State House News Service

Last November, Massachusetts voters legalized recreational marijuana. There's a long way to go before pot shops open in the state, but lawmakers move one step closer Monday as the legislature's new marijuana committee holds its first public hearing at the State House.

For more, we spoke to Matt Murphy, a reporter with the State House News Service. He said the list of state officials who will testify includes Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Attorney General Maura Healey and Gaming Commission Chair Steve Crosby.

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