CLIMATE CHANGE BILL (S 2296)

By Bob Katzen

The House 145-9, Senate 38-2, approved and sent to Gov. Charlie Baker a 57-page climate change bill. A key section makes the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal net zero by 2050.

requires the state’s greenhouse gas emissions be reduced from 1990 levels by 50 percent in 2030, 75 percent in 2040 and at least 85 percent in 2050.

“I owe a special debt of gratitude to Speaker Mariano for his invaluable mentorship over my six years as House energy chair,” said Rep. Tom Golden (D-Lowell), House Chair of the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. “It is his long-standing recognition of Massachusetts’ opportunity to play a leadership role in offshore wind and his fearless commitment to push forward when others hang back that have led us to advance legislation as ambitious as the Next Generation Roadmap bill.”

“While I believe protecting the environment is of the utmost importance, this bill guarantees the construction of nuclear power plants in Massachusetts communities, of which I am deeply concerned about their placement and eventual consequences in Worcester County and Massachusetts in general,” said Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) who voted against the measure. “The bill gives unregulated power to unelected bureaucrats with severe consequences on homeowners, communities and the energy sector. Everyday homeowners will be forced to change to a new home heating system, most likely with little to no financial assistance from the government that is forcing these changes upon them.”

“The climate change bill takes a comprehensive approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including recognizing how forests and other natural and working lands can be used to promote carbon sequestration and help Massachusetts reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050,” said House Minority Leader Bradley Jones (R-North Reading). “It also incorporates municipal lighting plants as partners in these efforts by setting greenhouse gas emissions standards and establishing an equal playing field for these facilities. I’m proud to have served on the conference committee that produced this historic bill which reaffirms Massachusetts’ role as a national leader on clean energy issues.”

“This bill steps up the pace of our collective drive to contain climate change,” said Sen. Mike Barrett (D-Lexington), Senate Chair of the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. “It’s the strongest effort of its kind in the country. With the tools the Legislature assembles here, we’re constructing the response we need and providing a blueprint to other states.”

“I support green energy research and usage,” said opponent Rep. Paul Frost (R-Auburn). “My concern is this bill would be forcing and mandating higher prices at the gas pumps and on home heating oil, and higher electricity costs on homeowners, renters and small businesses. Green energy is costly to produce with today’s technology and not always reliable, therefore I look forward to a time when it will be cost-effective and far more dependable than now.”

(A “Yes” vote is for the bill. A “No” vote is against it.)

Rep. Christine Barber Yes Rep. Mike Connolly Yes Rep. Denise Provost Yes Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes

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