Massachusetts takes $2 billion step towards climate restoration, adaptation & resilience

On July 12, 2018, Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) and his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate passed H.4613, “An Act promoting climate change adaptation, environmental and natural resource protection, and investment in recreational assets and opportunity,” colloquially known as the “environmental bond bill.”

Other states would do well to follow their legislative leadership, which address both climate restoration and climate change adaptation (resilience). The legislation authorizes the issuance of more than $2 billion in bonds to implement climate change adaptation programs and to improve existing climate resilient infrastructure.

Massachusetts has continually demonstrated leadership in the fight against global climate change, and the investments authorized in this legislation ensure that cities and towns across the Commonwealth are protected and that public spaces and infrastructure are improved and maintained for the public good.

This bill is another important step needed to secure our Commonwealth’s climate readiness, and to ensure that our municipalities have the resources needed to preserve their public spaces and infrastructure,” said Senator DiDomenico, Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate. “With this bond bill, my colleagues and I in the Senate have once again reaffirmed out commitment to environmental stewardship and our support for our local communities.

With every record setting blizzard, every flooded T station, and every endangered species, we experience the effects of climate change in real time,” said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “The legislation that we passed today represents the Massachusetts Senate’s commitment to climate preparedness and the preservation of the Commonwealth’s ecosystems and open spaces.

The legislation ensures that climate change prevention programs are sufficiently funded and authorizes capitalization of the Global Warming Solutions Trust Fund, which is to be used to fund costs associated with implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act, the Commonwealth’s Clean Energy and Climate Plan, and state and local strategies for climate change adaptation.

This bill is an important next step in our continued efforts for a sustainable future,” said Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “We authorize investments in critical projects across the state to preserve and improve our environmental and energy assets and help plan for and mitigate the effects of climate change.

A goal of the Environmental Bond Bill is to preserve our natural resources and promote economic growth, while at the same time maintaining fiscal responsibility,” commented Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “We are fortunate in Massachusetts, especially in our area, to have so many wonderful natural resources that make our region an ideal place to live and work. This bill is a prime example of how Massachusetts continues to lead in environmental stewardship; strengthening our commitment to the environment, while maintaining our ability to address our budget needs.

Additionally, the bill requires the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to: (i) coordinate to strengthen resilience and prepare for the impacts of climate change; (ii) publish, every five years, an integrated state climate adaptation and hazard mitigation plan; (iii) establish frameworks for state agency and municipal vulnerability assessments that will be incorporated into the state plan; and (iv) implement the state plan and incorporate information learned from implementing the state plan in plan updates.

Image of Boston, Massachusetts via Adobe Stock.

See full text of H.4613.

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