Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
The House and Senate on July 30 passed a $2.4 billion environmental bond bill and sent it to Gov. Charlie Baker.
The bill provides funding for investments for environmental programs, including authorizations for municipal infrastructure improvements to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.
It also includes $75 million for the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grant program, which supports cities and towns in planning for and adapting to the impacts of climate change by completing climate-related vulnerability assessments, developing resiliency plans, and completing integrated climate change adaptation and local hazard mitigation plans.
Adaptation solutions may include changes to policies, bylaws and plans, municipal infrastructure improvements, nature-based climate adaptation strategies, and repairs to address vulnerability and improve resiliency. More than 40 percent of cities and towns are now participating in the MVP program, according to the Baker administration.
The final bill did not include several provisions that were opposed by the MMA. The Senate version would have imposed mandates on municipalities to meet solid waste reduction targets. That version of the bill also included language, known as the “public lands preservation act,” that would have codified the requirement to mitigate the loss of Article 97 land by providing comparable replacement land, resulting in no net loss of protected land, and would have required a process with the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to include a feasible alternatives study and a review of the replacement land.
The final bill codifies key principles in Gov. Charlie Baker’s Executive Order 569, “Establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth,” issued in 2016.
In addition, the legislation directs the secretaries of Energy and Environmental Affairs and Public Safety to publish a statewide adaptation plan every five years and establish and maintain a framework for each executive office to complete a vulnerability assessment. The bill also codifies into law the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program.
The bill includes funds for the construction, repair and removal of coastal infrastructure and resiliency measures and for municipally owned dams. Funds for the Department of Environmental Protection include investments in air and water quality, grants for implementation of the Commonwealth’s Sustainable Water Management Initiative, and grants to municipalities to support compliance with new federal stormwater rules.
In a letter to Gov. Baker, the MMA expressed support for many of the initiatives funded in the bond bill and for a provision that would place agricultural composting programs under the purview of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The MMA asked the governor to veto several sections of the bill that would impose a mandate on cities and towns by adding new record keeping requirements for municipal animal inspectors.
The House passed its final bill on June 13 and the Senate did so on July 12. A House-Senate conference committee was named on July 17 to work out differences between environmental bond bills passed by each chamber.