His Excellency Charles D. Baker
Governor of the Commonwealth
State House, Boston
Delivered Electronically

Dear Governor Baker,

On behalf of the cities and towns of the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Municipal Association appreciates the opportunity to submit comments on the Baker-Polito Administration’s Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2030. We applaud your commitment to addressing the climate crisis as a core priority of your Administration through both mitigation and adaptation strategies. Our members are committed to helping the Commonwealth achieve its net-zero-by-2050 goal and the interim targets set in this plan.

As stated in the plan, local government plays an essential role in statewide climate change mitigation efforts, implementing clean energy and efficiency initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and accelerating the transition to a cost-saving low-carbon economy. Many municipalities have already started to take important action and stand ready to implement the local strategies outlined in your plan, including “siting of new renewable energy and transmission resources; implementation of zoning and building ordinances that support the development of high-performance, low-carbon emitting buildings and smart growth; expansion of the electric vehicle charging network; increasing climate adaptation and resilience; and equitable implementation of policies that impact residents and businesses in their jurisdictions” (pg. 9).

Cities and towns will need substantial financial and technical assistance resources to implement the strategies and targets outlined in the plan. Municipalities are grateful for the initiatives spearheaded by the Administration that help communities develop solar energy capacity, transition to electric vehicles and facilitate their use, and divert recyclable materials from the solid waste stream, to name only a few examples of state support for municipal emissions reduction. Additional resources should be distributed equitably to ensure that all communities have the ability to take necessary action, with a focus on economically and fiscally challenged cities and towns, and smaller and more rural communities. To be successful, this initiative cannot impose new unfunded mandates on local governments, as that would undermine progress on our shared climate goals, and compromise other aspects of municipal operations.

We are pleased that the Administration seeks to ensure that the policies reflected in the plan “do not exacerbate but instead assist in closing the health and economic disparities experienced in environmental justice communities and communities of color” (pg. 10). The MMA applauds this commitment to supporting environmental justice communities and populations most vulnerable to the causes and effects of climate change.

The MMA also asks that you consider enhancing the description of a “high-performance” stretch energy code to include a definition of net-zero buildings. In a letter to the conference committee reconciling House and Senate climate bills last September, the MMA requested language that “would direct the state to develop and adopt, as an appendix to the state building code, and in consultation with the Board of Building Regulations and Standards, a municipal opt-in specialized stretch energy code that includes, but is not limited to, a definition of net-zero building.” We noted that several of our member cities and towns are taking action locally to plan for and construct net-zero buildings, and incorporating an optional net-zero stretch energy code into the state building code would facilitate and improve efforts already underway between municipalities, the construction industry, and the state to reduce emissions. We would like to see similar language in the Clean Energy and Climate Plan.

The MMA and our member municipalities appreciate your Administration’s partnership with cities and towns, as this collaboration is essential to address the climate crisis for the next decade and beyond. If you have any questions about our comments or require additional information, please do not hesitate to have your office contact me or MMA Legislative Analyst Ariela Lovett at alovett@mma.org or 973-634-5307 at any time.

Thank you very much.


Geoffrey C. Beckwith
MMA Executive Director & CEO