On July 31, 2020 the Massachusetts House passed H.4912 (An Act creating a 2050 roadmap to a clean and thriving commonwealth) by an overwhelming majority (142-17). The Roadmap Bill establishes a net zero carbon reduction by 2050, requiring the state to reduce emissions by 50% and 75% below 1990 levels respectively. The bill was amended to codify the definition of environmental justice into statute, which was an important legislative priority.
While there remains a lot of work to do to guarantee a rapid transition to a clean energy future in Massachusetts, the legislature is currently poised to pass a major climate package for the first time since the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008.
Here are some of the reasons why we are grateful for the Roadmap Bill:
- Environmental Justice communities must be recognized by law. With your help, Amendment #52 was successfully added to the Roadmap Bill, codifying the definition of Environmental Justice as the “involvement of all people with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies, including climate change policies; and the equitable distribution of energy and environmental benefits, and environmental burdens.” This amendment establishes protections for EJ communities that are currently missing in state policy, and a Governor-appointed Environment Justice Council.
- Municipal Light Plants need to be part of the climate solution. MLPs have historically been exempt from state’s renewable energy requirements that govern investor owned utilities. The Roadmap Bill mandates that MLPs get to Net Zero by 2050 by shifting their energy portfolios to renewable sources (Amendment #19). This better positions Munis to be the centers of clean energy innovation we know they can be.
- We need our decision-makers on buildings to be energy experts. We know that we won’t be able to meet our climate goals without transitioning our building stock to Net Zero standards. That’s why you’ve been helping us keep up the fight for a Net Zero building code that all communities can adopt. Amendment #8 to the Roadmap Bill adds four energy efficiency-focused seats to the Board of Building Regulations and Standards, ensuring that our statewide decision-makers on buildings are also experts on clean energy technologies.
We greatly appreciate your support in reaching out to our State Representatives Kay Khan and Ruth Balser over the past weeks, urging them to act on climate! We also thank our representatives for their leadership to achieve a more renewable and equitable future.