Save Massachusetts Forests
Save Massachusetts Forests


 “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”  - Henry David Thoreau

Protecting our forests in this time of climate crisis and biodiversity collapse is recognized as an important way to protect our environment and our future health and well-being. Two bills have been submitted to the Massachusetts Legislature this session. One would permanently protect 412,000 acres under the care and control of the Division of Conservation and Recreation. The other would permanently protect 30% of the land owned by Fish and Wildlife, about 51,000 acres,  by 2030. These state agencies already have land in reserves where intact ecosystems are influenced primarily by natural processes. These bills request more reserves than we now have, and give them legal protection that they do not currently have. Together these actions would help Massachusetts to do its part to help mitigate climate change and protect our native natural heritage. 

                                    Help to support our efforts! Donate today.

                          Save Massachusetts Forests is a project of  RESTORE: The North Woods. 


Send a Letter: State Legislation on Municipal Powers to Regulate Solar

Send a letter to state legislators asking them to co-sponsor S. 1319/H.2082

3. S1319/H2082  An Act Regarding Municipal Zoning Powers, sponsored by Representative Paul McMurtry and Senator Jacob Oliveira 
The hearing was November 14, 2023 - Posted here Hearing Details - Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government
This bill simply strikes language from the zoning actSection 3 of Chapter 40A of the General Laws would be amended by striking the following language: "No zoning ordinance or bylaw shall prohibit or unreasonably regulate the installation of solar energy systems or the building of structures that facilitate the collection of solar energy, except where necessary to protect the pubic health, safety or welfare." This sentence was added to the law in 1985, when the thought of acres and acres of solar panels was unimaginable. 
This bill would make sure that municipalities can pass and enforce reasonable regulations for solar just as they are allowed to do for any other development. This bill does not encourage or discourage solar development. It protects citizens and municipalities who are often losing court cases while trying to uphold their zoning bylaws. The antiquated section of the law is used by solar developers to bypass local bylaws to put solar where they want to. This bill protects the longstanding tradition and value of local control in Massachusetts, and would potentially protect tens of thousands of acres of forests, wetlands and farmlands from large solar projects are deemed locally as inappropriate. 
S1319/H2082 Background and Fact Sheet
_Solar Fact Sheet.March 16 2023.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [160.3 KB]


                                                     and protect our forests


                                                See the ACTION - MA Biomass Subsidies page 



The Commission on Energy Infrastructure Siting and Permitting appointed by Governor Maura Healey has released a draft of its recommendations that removes local control and regional oversight for the siting of renewable energy facilities and certain utility infrastructure. Public comments are now being accepted.

1- Please email even a short statement to by the deadline of March 15. Background info below.
 2- Or sign here to tell the Commission, and including your Senator and your Representative, that you strongly oppose this gutting of home rule/local control and regional oversight over energy projects or any subsequent proposed legislation that weakens home rule. This can be signed anytime during the legislative session that ends July 31. 


3- Or both.


4 - Please forward to your friends, and town Boards ( Planning Board, Zoning Board, Conservation Commission, Board of Health)  who will be severely hobbled and basically shut out of the permitting process for  large scale solar, battery energy storage systems, wind turbine facilities ( including onshore), biomass and more. 


For an individual letter:


cc:,   (they are the Chairs, Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy)

Cc:  Your State Senator and State Representative found here
Subject line “Comments”

Include your name, town and your email address.


There is no representation on the Commission from Barnstable County, Duke’s County, Nantucket County or Berkshire County where much of the proposed reform will impact.


 The Commission is considering the following alarming changes to current law. Please oppose the following:
           All local and state permits would be consolidated into one state permit issued by a single state agency.
  • Municipalities would be stripped of permitting authority, and would only be allowed to submit advisory opinions to the state agency. They could conduct fact-finding with applicants and the public, but would otherwise have no local role.
  • Any reviews at a local level would be a consolidated review, combining Zoning Board of Appeals, Conservation Commissions and other local boards who may have opposing views and rulings but would need to issue one opinion.
  • The definition of clean energy projects removed from local control could be expanded to include not just commercial solar and wind turbine facilities and landfill-gas sites, but also energy-storage facilities (such as massive battery complexes and pumped-storage ponds), certain utility transmission and distribution infrastructure and biomass.
  • This single state agency would likely also be responsible for fossil fuel generation facilities, pipelines, and liquified natural gas storage units.
  • Other state agencies would also be stripped of permitting authority such as the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act or MEPA review which is currently required for many energy-related projects, particularly larger ones and would need to align with other agencies which have had historically opposing rulings.
  • Only “intervening parties” would be allowed to file briefs on disputed issues through evidentiary hearings held by the single state agency. This severely restricts who is allowed to participate in legal proceedings.
  • If the single state agency did not issue a permit within a restricted timetable, a consolidated permit would be issued automatically to the developer under a pre-defined set of permitting conditions, a so-called constructive permit.
  • Regional regulatory oversight, in the counties that have that right would be eliminated which is critically important to maintain checks and balances.

The Commission’s recommendations are expected to be followed immediately by legislative action.



        In the news - Carbon Forestry Committee Report released-

Report of the Climate Forestry Committee: Recommendations for Climate-Oriented Forest Management Guidelines


“Unsurprisingly, disturbing the forests of Massachusetts as little as possible and allowing forests to grow and age through passive management is generally the best approach for maximizing carbon, ecological integrity, and soil health.” (page 4)


More information about this report is here:

                                        Past News

       In the news- Massachusetts state land logging moratorium petition                                                     delivered to Governor Charlie Baker  



                  Pre-eminent Biologist E.O. Wilson Supported Our Bills

                              to Protect State- Owned Land 


"I strongly support this bill, which would permanently protect 13 percent of the Massachusetts land area, reaching from the Berkshires to the Atlantic Coast. This is the single most important action the people of thestate can take to preserve our natural heritage. As it has many times in the past, Massachusetts can provide leadership on this issue, inspiring other states across the country to take similar bold  action." 

With best wishes,     

Edward O. Wilson

E.O. Wilson Letter of Support for the Forest Protection Bill - February 19, 2019
E.O. Wilson In support of HD.3500 (10).p[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [137.1 KB]

                                                                                                        July 6, 2019

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