The House recently passed landmark climate legislation that includes Rep. Andrian Madaro’s amendment on environmental justice.
The nation-leading climate legislation, known as the Next Generation Climate Roadmap bill, which overhauls the state’s climate laws, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, advances the clean energy industry, and prioritizes and protects environmental justice communities.
Madaro’s amendment will once and for all set criteria of what defines an environmental justice community based on race, income, and language-proficiency criteria. Madaro’s amendment will give community members a much more meaningful role in the decision-making process about new projects that impact the environment and quality of life for thousands living here.
One key point of Rep. Madaro’s amendment is something called cumulative impact rule. The cumulative impact rule must take into consideration environmental impacts new projects may have when weighted cumulatively with past projects that bear environmental burdens on Eastie and other Environmental Justice Communities.
Madaro pointed to Logan Airport growth and expansion and how many environmental impact statements from Massport are weighed apart from past projects that are already causing a burden environmentally.
“For the first time in Massachusetts history, Environmental Justice (EJ) is now law,” said Madaro. “Low-income communities and communities of color have borne a disproportionate burden of pollutants and environmental hazards for far too long, while being excluded from the decision-making process affecting their neighborhoods. This law is the first step in a long overdue process to ensure environmental equity and finally recognize environmental justice and EJ communities in Massachusetts. After a veto from Governor Baker at the end of last session, the House and Senate worked quickly to get it on the Governor’s desk again in the new legislative session, and I am excited that it has now been signed into law. I want to thank my fellow sponsors, co-sponsors, and the many grassroots activists of the Environmental Justice Table who worked so hard to get this done.”
The bill now returns to the Governor’s desk.