State Senate to debate broad climate bill next week
BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP)–Transportation, clean energy and the construction fields feature as the primary areas of focus in a policy-heavy, $250 million bill that top Senate Democrats rolled out Thursday.
The wide-ranging legislation (S 2819), which Sen. Michael Rodrigues said would hit the chamber floor for debate next week, targets a trio of sectors that Senate President Karen Spilka said “really need significant attention if we are to meet our ambitious goals of having net-zero emissions by 2050.”
Among its many provisions, the legislation would require all new motor vehicles sold to produce zero carbon emissions starting in 2035, overhaul the procurement process for new offshore wind installations, allow agricultural and horticultural land to be used for solar installations in some situations, and create local options for all-electric building.
“Let’s face it: improvements we make in education or health care policy won’t mean anything if our coastal cities and our cities are underwater,” Spilka told reporters, flanked by about a dozen other senators. “This is the most important issue of our time.”
The bill would use $100 million to create a Clean Energy Investment Fund, allocate $100 million to incentivize adoption of electric vehicles, and deploy $50 million to build out the state’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Senators hope the bill will empower the steep reductions in carbon emissions required for Massachusetts to become net-zero by 2050 as outlined in a major climate law Gov. Charlie Baker signed last year. The proposal could put the Senate at odds with the House, which last month approved a narrower bill aimed at turbocharging the offshore wind industry without tackling transportation or building issues.