Massachusetts Legislature Sends Bipartisan Climate Bill to the Governor
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is reviewing sweeping legislation to reduce the commonwealth's greenhouse gas pollution, spur clean energy jobs, electrify buildings, and protect communities disproportionately harmed by pollution.
The bill passed by 38-2 vote in the State Senate and in the House 145-9, but Baker has not committed to signing the bill and could use a pocket veto to let it die following the conclusion of the legislative session overnight. In addition to mandating net-zero greenhouse gas pollution by 2050, the legislation would also boost offshore wind energy and codify the definition of "environmental justice populations."
It would increase fines for pipeline safety violations, following a deadly series of explosions in late 2018. The bill's passage follows Gov. Baker's release of plans to eliminate greenhouse gas pollution by 2050, ban the sale of new internal combustion cars by 2035, and electrify heating in 1 million homes.
As reported by The Associated Press:
The focus on pipeline safety follows the series of explosions in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover in September 2018 that killed one person, injured almost two dozen and damaged more than 100 buildings. Federal investigators blamed the explosions on overpressurized gas lines.
The explosions led to a $56 million settlement between Massachusetts and Columbia Gas of Massachusetts and its parent, NiSource last year.
Newly elected Democratic House Speaker Ron Mariano said the bill sends the message Massachusetts "will empower our environmental justice communities, achieve net zero emissions by 2050, continue to lead on offshore wind, increase equitable access to our clean energy programs, and create pathways to clean energy jobs for underserved and low-income communities."
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