Massachusetts Governor vetoes climate bill - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions, Regulation, Solar  -  January 19, 2021

Massachusetts governor vetoes climate bill

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) vetoed a bill on Jan 14 that would update the state’s carbon emissions goals to make the state “net neutral” by 2050, citing that the bill didn’t do enough to help cities and towns adapt to the effects of climate change. 

“While my administration wholeheartedly supports the environmental justice goals of this bill, intent without the tools to address those issues are empty promises,” Baker wrote in a letter to lawmakers, as reported by State House News Service. "The bill does not have language or funding to address the ongoing impacts of climate change faced by those communities.”

Baker also wrote that the bill didn’t rely on “scientific and detailed data analysis” and used “certain out-of-date policies” to devise some of its emissions goals, which may be too aggressive and risk “undue expense.”

The bill also included provisions to exempt large businesses from the state’s NEM cap, enable small municipal buildings to host rooftop solar and create a new solar energy grant program for nonprofits. 

“While I'm disappointed in Gov. Baker’s veto of the climate bill, our discussion reminded us all to look at the positive side,” Senator Mike Barrett (D), one of the key negotiators of the bill, said in a statement. “We are energized by the battle to get this bill into law. We're more motivated than ever. We're getting right back to work.”

The state senate’s president and house speaker plan to refile the bill in the new legislative session. Baker wrote that he looked forward to working with the lawmakers to “improve the bill and quickly reach agreement.”

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