spoken at the briefing on 6/6

Dear Committee members,

My name is Alicia Wu and I’m a high school junior living in Sharon, MA. I’m here to speak to you all, on behalf of my fellow youth members in Our Climate and the Massachusetts Youth Climate Coalition, about the Make Polluters Pay Act, also known as (H.872 /S.481).

I am standing before you today because I am scared and angry. Scared that my future will have to be indeterminately altered by the mass pollution caused by fossil fuel companies, and angry that my state representatives, some of whom have explicitly told me that “this is a bill they would support,” still are refusing to demonstrate this support publically.

Let me ask you this: Why is it that fossil fuel companies have existed for long over a century, and still have not been held accountable for the pollution they’ve released? Why are they still reaping profits off of one of the most destructive, anti-life substances we have discovered, without any form of consequence? Failing to pass laws like Polluters Pay essentially endorses fossil fuel companies’ continued dominance in our economy and our society. 

Time is ticking. The fact is that we cannot wait for another hundred years to pass by before we take action. As a contributor to the actual writing of this bill, I am certain that the Make Polluters Pay Act is the crucial step towards ensuring the healthiest future for our state. The benefits of this bill are two-fold - first, it would fine fossil fuel companies an estimated total of $75 billion in the state of Massachusetts, without any of this cost burden being transferred to consumers. Second, the money collected would then be used to fund climate adaptation projects in the state, 40% of which going to environmental justice communities. These climate adaptation projects would protect our infrastructure and coastlines from future climate disasters, decrease carbon emissions, and increase energy efficiency, saving our government billions of dollars in the long-term. The potential that this bill holds for moving Massachusetts towards a brighter, cleaner, and healthier future, is undeniable. 

I am not alone. I offer this written testimony from other youth across the Massachusetts Youth Climate Coalition, who were not able to be here because of the short notice. We urge you to pass the Make Polluters Pay through committee and help us get it to the floor for a vote as soon as possible. Thank you.

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