Last week Rep. Adrian Madaro and Sen. Joseph Boncore helped push the passing of landmark climate change legislation in the House and Senate.
The legislation aims to overhaul the state’s climate laws, drives down greenhouse gas emissions, creates clean energy jobs, and protects environmental justice communities.
The passage of An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy (S.9), sets a 2050 net-zero greenhouse gas emissions limit, as well as statewide limits every five years. The bill increases the requirements for offshore wind energy procurement bringing the statewide total authorization to 5,600 megawatts and requires emission reduction goals for MassSave, the state’s energy efficiency program.
For the first time the bill establishes the criteria in statute that define environmental justice populations like the one that lives here in Eastie.
“For the first time in Massachusetts history, Environmental Justice (EJ) will become the law,” said Rep. Madaro. “Despite the governor’s unfortunate veto of the first bill, the legislature recently passed an identical bill by an overwhelming margin. We have allowed low-income communities and communities of color to bear a disproportionate burden of pollutants and environmental hazards for far too long, while excluding them from the decision-making process affecting their neighborhoods. The provisions in this bill are the first step in a long overdue process to ensure environmental equity and finally recognize environmental justice and EJ communities in state law. I was proud to join my colleagues in the House and Senate to pass this legislation as part of the larger Climate Roadmap bill, and 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 is good news for Eastie residents who have been overly burdened environmentally by Logan International Airport, a highway that cuts through the middle of the neighborhood and other environmental impacts.
“The swift passage of the Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy underscores the Legislature’s commitment to addressing the devastating impacts of the climate crisis and protecting our environment for future generations,” said Sen. Boncore (D-Winthrop). “From storms that flood our coastal streets, to increased rates of asthma among children, the climate crisis is in our backyards. This legislation supports a targeted approach to combating climate change in our Environmental Justice communities.”
The legislation also increases support for clean energy workforce development programs including those targeting low-income communities, and improves gas pipeline safety.
The bill is now on the Governor’s desk to be signed into law or not.