Massachusetts Governor Signs Climate Bill
BOSTON — Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts has signed a climate bill that both boosts support for renewable energy and sets limits on fossil fuel use.
The Massachusetts state Legislature passed the bill at a time when the federal Build Back Better plan appeared dead, having been declared so, literally, by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
Between then and the governor’s signing the bill last week, however, much had changed in Washington: Manchin struck a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., making a “slimmed down” Build Back Better — now called the Inflation Reduction Act — a possibility.
Then the Senate and House both promptly passed it, with the adoption of the state law in Massachusetts falling in between, making for quite the week in climate policy.
“This bill is a big deal,” said Ben Hellerstein, state director for Environment Massachusetts, a non-profit advocacy group based in Boston.
“It will require the owners of large office and apartment buildings to disclose the amount of energy their buildings use each year,” he said. “It will ensure that all new cars sold in Massachusetts are electric by 2035. It will accelerate our transition to renewable sources of electricity like wind and solar. And it will allow up to 10 cities and towns to require new buildings to include clean, all-electric heating and appliances, paving the way to safer, healthier homes and businesses for all of us.
“With this bill becoming law, leaders in Massachusetts of all political stripes are showing that states can take meaningful climate action,” Hellerstein continued. “This bill gives me hope that we can work together to build a future where all of us can thrive. We’re thrilled for our Commonwealth to play a key role in building a world powered by 100% clean energy.”
According to data from the Solar Energy Industries Association, about a fifth of all electricity consumed in Massachusetts comes from solar energy.
In a series of tweets written after the signing of the bill, Baker recounted his administration’s efforts to address climate change and foster the use of renewable energy dating back to 2015.
“Addressing climate change requires bold, urgent action. I am proud to have supported the Commonwealth’s leadership on these critical issues to preserve our climate and our communities for future generations,” he said.