Hilltown Voices: Kulik achieves perfect score on environmental legislative scorecard

  • Rep. Stephen Kulik, D-Worthington, achieved a perfect score on an environmental legislative scorecard put out by the Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund. Recorder file photo

For the Gazette
Published: 10/24/2016 4:24:55 PM

The Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund has recognized state Rep. Stephen Kulik, D-Worthington, for achieving a perfect score on the organization’s 2015-2016 legislative scorecard on the environment.

“I am very honored to receive this recognition. I have always made the environment and energy issues a priority in my work in the Legislature and I will continue to do so,” Kulik said last week.

He said that the Environmental League of Massachusetts has been one of several “great partners” he has worked with on issues of climate change, clean energy, land protection and conservation.

“When it came to votes this session, Representative Kulik supported our pro-environment agenda, but didn’t stop there,” ELM Action Fund President George Bachrach said. “Representative Kulik demonstrated leadership on conservation and the ELM Action Fund is pleased to recognize him as an environmental champion.”

One of the issues that Kulik was recognized for was his opposition to the Northeast Expansion project proposed by Kinder Morgan and the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, and his rejection of a bill that would have made electric ratepayers pay for gas pipelines.

“Along with Brad Jones, I lead the effort that got 93 members of the House to sign a letter requesting that the pipeline not be part of the house energy bill,” Kulik said. “I think that this killed the pipeline project and helped to point us toward a greener, sustainable more energy future.”

The scorecard is based on three components: a voting score where 95 is the perfect score, a bonus score where legislators can receive bonus points for actions like filing pro-environment legislation, and amendments that have important statewide environmental implications. Points are deducted for filing anti-environment legislation and amendments. Scores are capped at 100.

Kulik received a score of 95, plus 17 bonus points.

“Legislative scorecards are common but this one is unique, measuring leadership, not just votes,” Bachrach said. “This is our best effort to give voters a sense of who is really on their side in the critically important work that takes place out of public view.”

This is the second year that the ELM has produced the scorecard. In the 2014-2015 inaugural edition Kulik was also given a score of 100 percent.

The group also has a “Dirty Dozen” list of state legislators, highlighting state representatives and senators with poor voting records on key environmental issues.

The Environmental League of Massachusetts is the oldest environmental advocacy organization in the state.

Established in 1898, it is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting the air, land and water for the people of the Commonwealth.

Broadband survey

To assess the town’s readiness for broadband cable services, Worthington has circulated a survey to all households in the hopes of gathering information from residences on their current telephone and internet service and the number of people who will be interested in subscribing to broadband.

Charlie Rose, chairman of the Worthington Broadband Committee, said this information is important to have as the town moves forward in securing cable service to its residents.

“Our goal is to build a fiber-to-the-home network that serves the needs of the town in a sustainable way,” Rose said.

Rose said the survey has been out for about a month and the town has received roughly 200 responses.

“We are hoping for 300 as that would be half the town,” Rose said. “We want to have all of our facts straight and finance in a row when we go before the Select Board to present our case.”

Rose said the committee hopes to be able to meet with the Select Board by early December but called that estimate a “moving target.”

“We extended the original deadline for the survey because we will be more comfortable with a higher response rate,” Rose said, noting that there is no deadline but that residents are strongly encouraged to fill out the surveys as soon as possible.

As it stands now, Rose says things are looking good for a sustainable fiber-to-the-home network, as the surveys are coming in at a two-to-one ratio in favor of participating in the service.

The committee is emphasizing that this survey is different than a previous survey conducted by WiredWest, which, while useful, does not provide the information that is currently needed to participate in the readiness assessment process with the Massachusetts Broadband Institute.

Surveys delivered to homes should be filled out and mailed to Town of Worthington, PO Box 247, Worthington MA 01098, or they may be dropped off at the town hall, the transfer station, Corners Store or the town library.

Surveys can also be filled out online at: bit.ly/WorthingtonBBSurvey, or via the town website at www.worthington-ma.us.

Ideas for this column on life in the hilltowns can be sent to Fran Ryan at Fryan.gazette@gmail.com.




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