With deadline looming, environmental leaders push for climate bill to become law

BOSTON – With less than 72 hours remaining for Gov. Charlie Baker to act on a climate bill, leaders from environmental and community groups delivered a letter, organized by the Mass Power Forward coalition, asking the Governor to sign the bill into law.

The House and Senate passed a climate bill (H.5060) last week that would reduce energy waste and help transition Massachusetts’ buildings and transportation system to clean energy. Among other provisions, the bill would require 100% of the cars sold in Massachusetts to be electric vehicles by 2035 and remove wood biomass from the list of technologies eligible to be counted as “renewable energy.” It would also require the owners of large buildings — such as offices, apartment buildings, hospitals, and universities — to disclose their energy use each year.

More than 50 organizations signed the letter calling on Gov. Baker to sign the bill. The deadline for the Governor to act on the bill is midnight on Sunday.

Jess Nahigian, state political director for Sierra Club Massachusetts, said:

“This bill takes important first steps towards achieving essential state climate goals. With deadly heat already impacting millions across the United States, the next couple of years are critical to accelerating our use of clean, renewable energy and running it through our buildings, cars, and transit. This bill begins to do just that while creating good jobs for Massachusetts residents in the process. We urge the Governor to rapidly sign this bipartisan legislation into law.”

Ben Hellerstein, state director for Environment Massachusetts, said:

“During his visit to Somerset last Wednesday, President Biden said that when it comes to fighting climate change, he won’t take no for an answer. With this bill, Massachusetts can say ‘yes’ to climate action. This summer we’ve already seen record hot temperatures in Boston, and experts predict that if we don’t act soon to reduce our carbon emissions, by the end of this century we could see up to 80 days each summer with temperatures above 90 degrees. I hope Gov. Baker will do the right thing and sign this bill into law. We can’t afford to wait any longer to take action.”

Sarah Dooling, executive director for the Massachusetts Climate Action Network, said:

“This bill will protect our health by preventing wood-burning biomass power plants from qualifying for renewable energy incentives in the Renewable Portfolio Standard program. This bill will also improve the economic opportunities by investing in workforce development in the clean energy sector and creating jobs in the off-shore wind industry. We urge Gov. Baker to sign this bill into law and protect our communities while creating jobs and reducing emissions before it’s too late.”