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Veto of Landmark Climate Bill Is a Misstep by Gov. Baker and Missed Opportunity for Massachusetts

SOURCE: Ceres

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The decision by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker to pocket veto landmark climate legislation is “extremely disappointing and a step in the wrong direction for Massachusetts’ ability to mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis and protect overburdened and underserved communities,” said Alli Gold Roberts, director, state policy, at the sustainability nonprofit Ceres. 

The Next Generation Roadmap, which the Massachusetts Legislature approved in the final days of the legislative session last week, was the most comprehensive climate legislation put forth in the Commonwealth in more than a decade. Gov. Baker let the deadline to sign the bill lapse on Thursday night so the many provisions put forth by legislators to help ensure the state achieves its ambitious net-zero emissions goal by 2050 and establish legal rights for environmental justice communities would not become law.

In addition to codifying the state’s net-zero emissions goal, the legislation would have set interim emissions reduction targets of at least 50% by 2030 and 75% by 2040 to ensure the state reached its 2050 goal. It also included an increase to the Renewable Portfolio Standard that would have sped up the adoption of renewable energy by requiring 40% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030. It also would have updated the state’s appliance efficiency and building electrification codes, and ensure equity issues were addressed in future state planning.

“From a rise in floods to worsening air pollution, this last decade made it abundantly clear that the severity of the climate crisis requires immediate action,” Roberts added. “Massachusetts legislators understood the need for this urgency as they pushed forward comprehensive, bold climate policy in the midst of dealing with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The resulting legislation that was sent to Gov. Baker included input from the business community, the clean energy industry, community organizers, environmental justice advocates and the public health community. The collaboration among lawmakers and numerous stakeholders helped produce a bill that would have led to climate action, new clean energy job growth and the necessary transition away from fossil fuels to power and heat our homes and buildings, at a time when we need it most. We call on legislators to reintroduce the legislation immediately and send it back to the governor for consideration as soon as possible. Businesses are already making strides toward meeting their own net-zero goals and the Commonwealth cannot afford to delay the transition to a net-zero emissions future that is already underway.” 
 
The Next Generation Roadmap aligns with Gov. Baker’s commitment to a net-zero emissions future for the commonwealth. Just last month the Baker administration released two reports—Massachusetts 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap Report and an interim 2030 Clean Energy and Climate Plan—which detailed policies to get Massachusetts to net-zero emissions by 2050. He also played a leadership role in launching the regional Transportation and Climate Initiative to help decarbonize the transportation sector, and he has taken first steps to support environmental justice communities in the transition to a net-zero emissions future. 

Ceres is a sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. For more information, visit ceres.org and follow @CeresNews.

Tweet me: The decision by @MassGovernor is “extremely disappointing and a step in the wrong direction for Massachusetts’ ability to mitigate the impacts of the #climatecrisis and protect overburdened and underserved communities." - @alligroberts https://bit.ly/3oMyOox

KEYWORDS: Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, CERES

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