Meeting on cleaning up former gas station site tonight

The town will hold a public hearing at St. Mary Parish, 208 Samoset Ave. – which if we are not mistaken is the gathering space at St. Ann's Church – on a grant application to clean up the former Waveland gas station site at the intersection of Nantasket Avenue and Bay Avenue East.

A draft of the grant application summarizes the former Superfund toxic waste  site, contamination issues, cleanup standards, laws, and the protocol the town hopes to implement to accomplish its goals and restore this property to use.

Your participation and insights will be welcome. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.

Nevada nets $3.7 million in 1st month of marijuana tax collections

By Colin A. Young
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

The Silver State is seeing green, having hauled in $3.68 million in state tax revenue during the first month of legal marijuana sales.

The bulk of the revenue was generated by Nevada's 10 percent retail tax on sales of recreational marijuana, totaling $2.71 million in July, the Nevada Department of Taxation reported. Another $974,060 came from a 15 percent wholesale tax charged to all cannabis cultivators.
Wholesale tax revenue goes to Nevada schools and is expected to bring in $56.2 million over the next two years.

Revenue from the 10 percent retail tax will go to the state's rainy day fund and is expected to produce $63.5 million over the next two years. Marijuana became legal in Nevada on Jan. 1 and retail sales began July 1, making the state the fifth in the country to provide legal retail access to marijuana.

Massachusetts consumers will pay a state excise tax of 10.75 percent, the 6.25 percent sales tax, and a local option tax of up to 3 percent on retail sales.

Based on estimates compiled by the Department of Revenue – using a range in taxable sales between $771 million and $1.433 billion – a 20 percent effective tax rate on marijuana could produce between $72 million and $134 million annually, or between $6 million and $11 million a month in Massachusetts.

Although Nevada's population is less than half of that of Massachusetts, 203 of the 250 marijuana licenses issued in Nevada are in Clark County, which includes the major tourist destination Las Vegas, according to that state's Department of Taxation. So far, Nevada has licensed 53 retail stores, 92 cultivation facilities, 65 product manufacturing facilities, 31 distributors, and nine testing labs.

After largely avoiding marijuana policy proposals for years, the state Legislature this year rewrote the voter-approved law legalizing adult use of marijuana. The redrafted law boosted tax rates and state and local officials are now eyeing pot tax revenues as they compile future spending proposals.

Bay State voters approved marijuana legalization last November. Retail sales in Massachusetts are expected to begin in July 2018.

 

Markey, Senate Dems dig in against GOP Arctic drilling push

By Michael P. Norton
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

Seven U.S. Senate Democrats, including Sen. Edward Markey, plan to call Tuesday for Republicans to remove language from a budget resolution allowing for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Senior Vice President Tiernan Sittenfeld earlier this month said GOP budget proposals "include a huge giveaway to oil and gas companies by paving the way for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, home to the Gwich'in people and iconic wildlife."

LCV officials plan to join Markey and senators from Colorado, Washington, New Mexico, Oregon and Minnesota at 11:15 a.m. to discuss their views. According to Markey's office, 40 senators are backing legislation he introduced in April with Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado designating the Coastal Plain of the Arctic refuge as wilderness and protecting it from drilling.

"Drilling in the Arctic Refuge is not a budget issue, and it's not a political bargaining chip to pay for tax cuts," Sittenfeld said. "Budgets and tax plans are about priorities, and there is perhaps no better example of whose side the extreme Republican leadership is on than their outrageous attempts to use the budget resolutions to drill in this national treasure."

Saying he wanted to open up America's energy potential, President Donald Trump in April signed an executive order requiring the federal government to review regulations put in place in 2016 that the Trump administration believes could limit exploratory drilling on the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf.

"It reverses the previous administration’s Arctic leasing ban," Trump said at the time. "So hear that: It reverses the previous administration’s Arctic leasing ban, and directs Secretary Zinke to allow responsible development of offshore areas that will bring revenue to our Treasury and jobs to our workers."

On Friday, the New York Times reported that energy exploration supporters see hope for activity in the 19 million-acre refuge in northeastern Alaska.

"With Republicans holding both houses of Congress and the presidency, the prospects for opening the refuge, at least to studies of its oil and gas potential, are better than they have been in years," the Times reported. "And a budget resolution introduced late last month, and supported by Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, may help pave the way."

Markey, of Malden, in late September drew attention to GOP efforts to link budget matters with the Arctic refuge.

"By releasing a budget today that sets the stage for attaching drilling in the Arctic Refuge to the Republican attempts to fast track a tax package, they have shown that they have learned none of the lessons of the Trumpcare failures," Markey said on Sept. 29. "There is bipartisan opposition to drilling in our nation's most pristine wildlife refuge and any effort to include it in the tax package would only further imperil the legislation as a whole. I will fight vigorously on the Senate floor to remove this extraneous giveaway to Big Oil from the budget and protect this special place."

MassDOT issues advisory for Columbus Day holiday travel

* Scheduled road work shutting down Friday at 12 p.m.

Free coffee at 18 MassDOT service plazas during overnight hours

HOV lane opening early Thursday and Friday

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation reminds residents to plan ahead for the upcoming Columbus Day holiday weekend, utilize the appropriate technology tools to make informed decisions on route and timing of travel, and consider public transportation, if possible.

"We encourage all members of the public to make informed decisions by visiting www.mass511.com, downloading our GoTime mobile app, going to www.mbta.com to view transit schedules, and considering the best route to take or time to travel,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. "We know from previous years there are higher volumes on the roadways during the Columbus Day holiday weekend and we advise everyone traveling to check traffic conditions and plan ahead in order to reach their destinations in an efficient manner."

MassDOT is taking steps to support safe and efficient travel for members of the public, including shutting down scheduled roadway construction activities at 12 p.m. on Friday, which could impact traffic with scheduled work resuming at the start of normal business hours on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

All MBTA services including subway, commuter rail, ferry, and bus service will operate on a regular weekday schedule on Monday, Oct. 9. For information about T schedules, visit www.mbta.com. [Please note that some scheduled work on MBTA lines will continue this weekend, including the installation of federally mandated Positive Train Control equipment on the Needham and Haverhill commuter rail lines and Red Line track work on Boston's Longfellow Bridge.]

Free coffee will be served at the 18 MassDOT service plazas from 10 p.m. Monday, Oct. 9, through 5 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10. The plazas serving free coffee include 11 service plazas along I-90 plus plazas along Route 3 in Plymouth, Route 128 in Beverly, Route 128/I-95 in Newton and Lexington, Route 6 in Barnstable, and the Route 24 northbound and southbound plazas.

The High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on I-93 between Boston and Quincy will open early for the afternoon commute, at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5, and 1 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6. The HOV lane will be closed on Monday, Oct. 9, and will then reopen during regularly scheduled hours on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

The U.S Army Corps of Engineers reports that there will be no lane restrictions on the Sagamore Bridge or Bourne Bridge during the Columbus Day weekend period.

Customers are also advised that the Registry of Motor Vehicles offices are closed for the designated state holiday of Columbus Day on Monday. Please visit at any hour of the day the RMV online at www.massrmv.com to skip the line and perform many transactions. In addition, AAA members now have the opportunity to conduct many RMV services at numerous AAA branch office locations in Massachusetts during AAA normal business hours.

For traffic and road conditions, drivers may use the following options to make decisions:

• Download MassDOT’s GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions before setting out on the road.

• Download Waze, the traffic navigation app that provides motorists with real-time traffic conditions across Massachusetts.

• Visit mass511.com to view travel times, road construction, traffic alerts or crashes along a route. Incidents, road closures, lane closures, real-time live traffic cameras, and weather alerts/forecasts, can all be viewed on the interactive live Traffic Map.

• Dial 511 from a landline or cell phone to hear information on current conditions on major roadways.

• Check MassDOT Highway Traffic and Travel Resources.

• Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT as incidents that impact traffic flow are generally mentioned in tweets if they occur on the state’s major highways.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation wishes all members of the public a safe and enjoyable holiday.