On Dec. 23, the Department of Energy Resources released draft regulations for the Municipal Fossil Fuel Free Building Construction and Renovation Demonstration Project.

The climate law signed last August allows up to 10 communities to apply to participate in a demonstration program that prohibits or restricts fossil fuel use in new building construction or major renovation projects. The pilot program will allow the DOER to study the implementation of fossil fuel bans in municipalities and evaluate future best practices on decarbonization.

The law charged the DOER with promulgating regulations to establish the framework, requirements and timeline for the 10 cities and towns to participate in the program.

The draft regulations recognize 10 prioritized communities — Acton, Aquinnah, Arlington, Brookline, Cambridge, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Newton and West Tisbury — which were first to file home rule petitions with the Legislature to formally apply for the program. The prioritized communities are required to confirm their participation by submitting a letter of intent to the department by Sept. 1. Any community that chooses to withdraw from the program must notify the department by letter no later than Sept. 1.

The DOER issued a proposed model rule, which provides a sample article, sample motion, and sample bylaw as recommendations for municipalities.

The DOER will hold a virtual public hearing on the draft regulations and model rule on Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. (Click here to register for the Zoom session.) Written comments will be accepted at green.communities@mass.gov until 5 p.m. on Feb. 10.

The draft regulations, the model rule, and additional information are available on the Department of Energy Resources website.

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