35 Massachusetts Candidates Pledge to Refuse Money from Major Fossil Fuel and Utility Companies

September 2, 2016

The climate advocacy organization 350 Mass Action has formally launched the Clean Money for Climate Pledge, which calls on candidates running for office in Massachusetts to refuse campaign contributions from executives, lobbyists, and others employed by ten major fossil fuel and utility companies through the duration of the 2016 election cycle. 

As of this morning, 35 candidates for state legislature had signed the pledge, including Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Pacheco. 

“The undue influence of climate polluters has no place in any legislative system,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton). “As legislators, it is our job to create effective policy for those in the Commonwealth by using sense and science. I fully support the work of 350 Mass Action and I look forward to swiftly moving ahead with a clean energy future for Massachusetts.”

Last legislative session 97 out of 160 state reps signed a letter opposing the pipeline tax, and the state senate voted unanimously to ban the pipeline tax in the recent energy bill. Yet in the final hours before the bill was passed, the legislature dropped the pipeline tax language from the bill. Additionally, the legislature failed to increase the percentage of renewable energy that utilities are required to purchase and provided weaker than proposed support for offshore wind. Climate advocates blame the unfair influence of utility and fossil fuel companies for the bill’s limitations.  

“In the end, utilities Eversource and National Grid got more or less exactly what they wanted from the energy bill. In the face of the climate crisis, Massachusetts needs lawmakers who are free to stand up to fossil fuel companies and utilities and lead us safely to a future powered by 100% clean, renewable energy,” said Craig Altemose, Executive Director of 350 Mass Action. 

The pledge requires candidates to refuse donations of $200 or more from employees of ten corporations: BP, Chevron, Eversource, ExxonMobil, Global Partners, Global Petroleum, Kinder Morgan, National Grid, Shell and Spectra Energy. Pledge organizers selected companies for their history of making significant campaign contributions in the state and their financial interest in influencing energy policy that affects Massachusetts.  

“All of these companies continue to advocate against a transition to renewable energy,” said Altemose. “We call upon these ten companies to drop their obstructionist ways and instead engage as constructive participants in building a clean energy economy.”

In addition to Senator Pacheco, a number of other senior incumbents have signed the pledge, along with new challengers seeking their first election to the legislature. Candidates from across the state have signed on, from the Berkshires to the Cape and Islands. Numerous candidates in high-profile contested primary races have also signed, including Senator Pat Jehlen and challenger Leland Cheung, Representative Tim Toomey and challenger Mike Connolly, and all candidates in the open races for both the state senate seat in the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden district, and the state representative seat in the Third Hampshire District. 

“We’re delighted to see so many candidates sign so quickly, and we welcome their colleagues to join them,” said Altemose.

Post-launch, the 350 Mass Action volunteer network will work with partnering groups to make sure every candidate running for office in the state of Massachusetts has the chance to sign the pledge. Constituents will be able to use the Clean Money for Climate Candidate Tracker to submit real-time updates on which candidates have been asked to sign.

Find a list of candidates here.