At the June 11 meeting of the Local Government Advisory Commission, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides (center) discusses ways that the state and municipalities can work together to achieve environmental goals and prepare for the effects of climate change. Also pictured are Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (left) and MMA President and Norwell Selectman Ellen Allen.

On Aug. 28, Gov. Charlie Baker announced the launch of a new interagency team that will work to implement the State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan and coordinate responses to climate change across state government.

The Resilient Massachusetts Action Team will be co-led by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

The State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan, released in September 2018, is the first in the nation to integrate hazard mitigation priorities with climate projections and solutions.

The plan recommends 108 actions for the state to undertake that would increase the resilience of the built and natural environment and reduce the risks associated with weather events exacerbated by climate change. While the administration has already started to implement some of the recommendations, the action team will codify and coordinate the implementation process.

The MMA was invited to the RMAT launch event, where Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito reiterated the administration’s commitment to partnering with municipalities on climate resilience efforts.

“As we continue to work with cities and towns to build resilience on a local level,” she said, “we are acting to integrate climate resilience into agency investments and decision-making processes.”

EEOA Secretary Katie Theoharides discussed the state’s flagship climate resilience initiative, the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program. Nearly 250 municipalities have started to engage with the MVP program by developing local resilience plans, accessing technical assistance, and applying for grants. To date, the administration has awarded more than $17 million in grants through the MVP program. The next round of funding was due to be announced in late September.

The governor’s proposal to raise the deeds excise tax and direct the revenue to a Global Warming Solutions Trust Fund, which would fund the MVP program on an ongoing basis, is pending before the Legislature. The bill had a hearing before the Joint Committee on Revenue in June and has not yet been reported out of the committee.

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