ACEC/MA and AIA MA Submit Comments on Climate Change Bills
The bill is designed to push Massachusetts toward net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, establish interim emissions goals, adopt appliance energy efficiency standards, and address needs in environmental justice communities.
The amendments Governor Baker sent back cover many of the same topics he cited as concerns last month when he vetoed the same bill sent to him in the waning days of the previous legislative session -- the creation of an opt-in municipal stretch energy code, the 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, and the sector-specific emission reduction sublimits proposed by the Legislature.
But they also show some flexibility around many of the details. Returning the climate bill with amendments gives legislators and Governor Baker a way to negotiate. It is most likely to end with lawmakers either agreeing to some of the changes Baker has suggested and him signing the bill or rejecting his proposed changes and overriding another gubernatorial veto.
On the 2030 emissions reduction target, the governor proposes that the executive branch be allowed to set a range of between a 45% reduction from 1990 emissions levels (his administration's preferred target) and 50% (which lawmakers wrote into the bill). For the 2040 target, Baker similarly proposes that the executive be allowed to set it between 65% and 75%.
The administration had previously said the difference between 45% and 50% could be as much as $6B in extra costs to the state and residents, but Baker said in his letter that the flexibility "will also help the Commonwealth avoid the costs that are expected to result from imposing a higher limit, particularly on those who can least afford it."
2/3/21: The Massachusetts Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA MA) and ACEC/MA submitted the letter below regarding S. 9 – An Act creating a next-generation roadmap for Massachusetts climate policy, including the one-year deadline to develop and adopt, as an appendix to the state building code, a municipal opt-in net zero code. ACEC/MA strongly supports the overall bill. We do, however, have several recommendations to improve the bill outlined in the attached letter. We believe that several other business and real estate associations would also support these recommended language changes.
In late August, the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA MA) and American Council of Engineering Companies/Massachusetts (ACECMA) submitted a joint letter to the legislative conference committee working out the differences between the House and Senate versions of major climate change legislation. ACEC/MA is very pleased that the House and Senate have passed climate change bills designed to, among other things, re-envision the way the Commonwealth approaches energy efficiency in the built environment. We look forward to seeing the Legislature put a bill on the Governor’s desk. We respectfully submitted our perspective on the issues before this conference committee.
The Massachusetts House passed a major climate/energy bill at night on 7/31, which is very different from a climate bill the Senate passed in January 2020. The House bill is now H4933; The Senate bill is S2500.
Both chambers passed legislation to put Massachusetts on a path towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, but negotiators will have a wide array of other issues to reconcile as advocates and business groups lobby for their priorities.
The Senate overwhelmingly passed a package of climate bills in January that called for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and set deadlines for the state to impose carbon-pricing mechanisms for transportation, commercial buildings and homes. The House,
which had earlier passed a $1.3B climate adaptation bill, on July 31 passed its response to the main Senate proposal, addressing the 2050 emissions reduction roadmap, solar energy net metering, grid modernization, workforce development, energy efficiency, and municipal electric and light plant clean energy targets.
The conference committee named on August 5 to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill includes: Sen. Michael Barrett and Rep. Thomas Golden, the co-chair of the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, Senate Majority Leader Cynthia Creem, Speaker Pro Tempore Patricia Haddad, House Minority Leader Brad Jones and Sen. Patrick O'Connor, They will try to come up with a compromise version that can pass both chambers. Meanwhile, a slew of environmental advocacy organizations, business groups and activists -- many of whom put pressure on lawmakers to get climate policy bills done -- have given some indication of what they like and don't like about the House and Senate bills.
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