Legislature Passes Landmark Climate Change Bill
Rep. David Linsky (D-Natick) announced today that The Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate passed An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy (S.9). The passing of this legislation reaffirms the Legislature’s commitment to addressing the climate crisis facing the Commonwealth following the Governor’s veto of last session’s climate bill.
“I was proud to vote for the Conference Committee report on An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy. This bill builds the policy infrastructure to get us to our aggressive climate goals while keeping environmental justice at the center. Backed by science and supported by strong climate justice activists, this bill lays out a path to achieve at least net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050” said Linsky. “I want to thank Senate President Spilka and House Speaker Mariano for all their hard work in pushing the Legislature to get this incredibly important legislation passed as soon as possible.”
The policies S.9 includes will impact all sectors of our state’s economy while providing support for workforce development, training, and funding for the R&D necessary to explore energy innovation, ensuring we all participate in needed climate solutions to get us to net-zero.
The legislation includes, among other items, the following provisions.
Sets a statewide net-zero limit on greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and mandates emissions limits every five years, as well as limits for specific sectors of the economy, including transportation and buildings.
• Codifies environmental justice provisions into Massachusetts law, defining environmental justice populations and providing new tools and protections for affected neighborhoods.
• Requires an additional 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind, building on previous legislation action and increases the total authorization to 5,600 megawatts in the Commonwealth.
• Directs the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), regulator of the state’s electric and natural gas utilities, to balance priorities going forward: system safety, system security, reliability, affordability, equity, and, significantly, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
• Sets appliance energy efficiency standards for a variety of common appliances including plumbing, faucets, computers, and commercial appliances.
• Adopts several measures aimed at improves gas pipeline safety, including increased fines for safety violations and regulations related to training and certifying utility contractors.
• Increases the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by 3 percent each year from 2025 – 2029, resulting in 40 percent renewable energy by 2030.• Establishes an opt-in municipal net-zero energy stretch code, including a definition of “net-zero building.”
• Prioritizes equitable access to the state’s solar programs by low-income communities
• Establishes $12 million in annual funding for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center in order to create a pathway to the clean energy industry for environmental justice populations and minority-owned and women-owned businesses.
• Provides solar incentives for businesses by exempting them from the net metering cap to allow them to install solar systems on their premises to help offset their electricity use and save money.
• Requires utilities to include an explicit value for greenhouse gas reductions when they calculate the cost-effectiveness of an offering of MassSave.
• Creates a first-time greenhouse gas emissions standard for municipal lighting plants that requires them to purchase 50 percent non-emitting electricity by 2030 and “net-zero” by 2050.
• Sets benchmarks for the adoption of clean energy technologies including electric vehicles, charging stations, solar technology, energy storage, heat pumps and anaerobic digestors.
The bill is now with the governor.