Commission to Study Vegetation Removal by Public Utility Companies
Mr. Ross moved that the bill be amended by inserting the following new section:-
Section XX. Section 1. There shall be special commission to make an investigation and study relative to the fiscal and environmental impact that vegetation removal by public utility companies has on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In order to assist lawmakers in determining if the increased safety and grid reliability resulting from vegetation removal activities are worth the costs, the commission shall investigate and study the effect that vegetation management activities have on endangered species, including whether the endangered species act should apply to such activities, home values, municipal property tax income, water supply quality, public safety, reliability of the electrical grid, and dangers that will exist if trees are not removed.
(a) The special commission shall consist of: 2 members of the Senate or their designee, 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader; 2 members of the House of Representatives or their designee, 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader; 2 residents on whose property a public utility company completed vegetation removal activities around transmission lines within the preceding 2 years, 1 of whom shall be appointed by the speaker of the House and 1 of whom shall be appointed by the Senate president; 1 member who shall be appointed by the Massachusetts Municipal Association; 2 representatives of public utility companies; 1 town or city assessor, who shall be appointed by the Massachusetts Association of Assessing Officers; the Chair of the Department of Public Utilities or a designee; the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection or a designee; the Commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game or a designee; the Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety or a designee. All appointments shall be made not later than 30 days after the effective date of this section. The chairpersons shall meet with the commission not later than 60 days after the effective date of this section. Members shall not receive compensation for their services but may receive reimbursement for the reasonable expenses incurred in carrying out their responsibilities as members of the commission.
(b) The commission shall report to the General Court the results of its investigation and study and its recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry its recommendations into effect by filing the same with the Clerk of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives not later than June 30, 2014.