State Capitol Briefs — Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Photo: Thinkstock
Photo: Thinkstock

(State House News Service) – HEALEY TOUTING OPPOSITION TO CASINOS AHEAD OF DEBATE
Ahead of her next debate with Democratic attorney general candidate Warren Tolman, former state prosecutor Maura Healey plans to visit with anti-casino activists in West Springfield to highlight one of the key differences between the primary foes. Healey, who supports a ballot campaign to repeal the state’s expanded gambling law, plans to meet with area activists who helped organize a successful effort to beat back a local referendum on a proposed casino in that community. MGM eventually won the first resort-casino license awarded in Massachusetts for a casino in neighboring Springfield. Healey and Tolman, a former state senator, are set to square off Thursday morning at the WCVB-TV studios in a debate to be aired Sunday morning. Calling casinos “the biggest consumer protection challenge facing the next Attorney General,” Healey has tried to use the casino issue to separate herself from Tolman, who supports the existing law. Healey has also criticized her opponent for his work with a gambling company Fast Strike Games, from which Tolman’s campaign says the candidate his divested all his interests. Healey’s campaign says the former assistant attorney general will visit Crepes Tea House on Union Street in West Springfield at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday to discuss her support for repeal, her opposition to expanded gambling and the role the attorney general will have to play if the ballot question fails and casino do get built in Massachusetts. – M. Murphy/SHNS

EPA CHIEF PLEASED WITH REGULATORY PROCESS ON POLLUTANTS
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said she has not heard any initial, major concerns with the proposed greenhouse gas regulations released in June, but she envisions some changes will be made. “We’re in the comment period, so it’s not done. We want to hear from people, but I am extremely excited that when we rolled out this rule we didn’t hear any big concerns being raised out of the gate,” McCarthy told reporters at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Tuesday. She said, “We read those comments and we make the changes that are appropriate. We’re going to do that with this rule.” The Clean Power Plan would aim to for the first time require existing power plants to reduce their pollution output, and the EPA is developing a proposal around ozone. The EPA plan would seek to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels over the next 15 years. The federal regulations would give states the ability to craft their own plans to meet the goals, including regional cap and trade programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) which Massachusetts participates in and has put the state ahead of the federal goal, according to state officials. The regulatory steps have been met with criticism from some quarters. On Tuesday, The Heritage Foundation, a conservative organization, called on Congress to “rein in” the EPA through the “power of the purse.” McCarthy said, “The environment has not been a partisan issue or a political issue,” and said she wants to talk to the agricultural community, federal officials and conservationists about a separate water regulation. EPA plans to issue an ozone proposal in December. “We know ozone is one of the most difficult and ubiquitous pollutants that we have to deal with. Ozone is ground-level smog. Remember it was really around very heavily in the 60s and the 70s in L.A. and other places?” McCarthy said. “Well, it’s still a problem and as the weather gets hotter, more and more ozone forms.” – A. Metzger, M. Murphy/SHNS

Copyright 2014 State House News Service

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