July 30 2019

Mass House Approves $1.3 Billion for Community Climate Resiliency Projects


The Massachusetts House of Representatives is taking aim at climate change with the support of Burlington’s representative. 


“As climate change becomes a larger concern at the local-level, State Representative Ken Gordon (D-Bedford), joined his colleagues to fight the ongoing, negative effects of global warming,” a release from his office states. 


Casting a unanimous vote 158 members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed legislation to invest $1.3 billion to help cities and towns across Massachusetts fund infrastructure projects aimed at fighting climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 


“It is critical we take initiative to reverse the issues climate change has created and work to take our communities and towns towards a cleaner, greener future,” said Gordon. “Bedford and Burlington have already taken their own steps to move toward a sustainable and environmentally-friendly future, so to support their efforts was an easy choice to make.”


Locally, Burlington has already taken steps to be more green. To date, the town has installed panels on both Burlington High School and Marshall Simonds Middle School. It has also taken steps to enter the Green Communities Designation and Grant Program. 


Modeled after the state’s MassWorks program, GreenWorks funds projects that improve climate preparedness and resiliency, promote or produce clean energy or energy efficiency, build energy storage facilities, implement measures included in Massachusetts’ statewide climate adaptation strategy or otherwise help mitigate the impacts of climate change or reduce carbon emissions, the release states. 


“Combating Climate change is one of the most important tasks before us,” said Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Chair of the House Committee on Ways & Means (D-Boston). “By making such a substantial investment into climate resiliency, this legislation will help our communities better prepare for the challenges that lay ahead.” 


The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs will accept applications annually and administer the program, which is funded through the issuance of bonds. In addition, the legislation makes targeted investments of $325 million in energy infrastructure, including:


- $100 million for investments in municipal microgrid energy systems

- $125 million for electric vehicles in municipal or regional transit authority fleets

- $20 million for the hiring of sustainability coordinators to develop and manage municipal projects resulting for the GreenWorks program 

- $50 million to establish the Green Resiliency Fund to offer low-interest loans for municipalities when pursuing GreenWorks projects

- $30 million for the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources’ MOR-EV electric vehicle rebate program 


The bill has been sent to the Senate.


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