Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
A House-Senate conference committee was named on July 17 to work out differences between environmental bond bills recently passed by each chamber.
The bills would provide more than $2 billion in investments for environmental programs, including authorizations for municipal infrastructure improvements to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change and $75 million for the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grant program.
The MVP program 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 plans 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 bills passed by the House and Senate promote consistency with the integrated state hazard mitigation and climate change adaptation plan and include $10 million for the development of climate science and data.
The bills would codify key principles in Gov. Charlie Baker’s Executive Order 569, “Establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth,” issued in 2016.
The legislation would direct 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 would also put into law the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program, which provides financial and technical assistance to municipalities.
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.
The legislation includes $9 million for the Massachusetts electric vehicle incentive program, $60 million for the Clean Water Trust, and $55 million for the Complete Streets program.
The bill passed by the House on June 13 would fund infrastructure improvements and natural resource protection in addition to codifying language relating to planning for climate change.
The Senate version, passed on July 12, was similar to the bill that passed in the House until the Senate voted to adopt a number of amendments.
The final Senate bill would impose mandates on municipalities to meet solid waste reduction targets. The bill also includes language, known as the “public lands preservation act,” that would codify 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 require 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 MMA opposed both amendments.
The Senate bill also includes a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.