On behalf of the cities and towns of the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Municipal Association wishes to offer our support for S. 2196, the climate adaptation management bill released by the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. Climate change is threatening our communities, and we appreciate your work on this legislation to develop a framework for the Commonwealth to fight climate change and build resiliency. Municipalities are on the front lines of environmental protection and the fight against climate change, and municipal leaders take this responsibility seriously. Local officials are committed to upgrading our infrastructure in order to adapt to the changing environment and are prioritizing the use of clean and renewable energy to combat climate change.
The MMA strongly supports S. 2196, as it would establish a comprehensive adaptation management plan to address climate change. The plan would provide a process for local and regional climate vulnerability assessment and adaptation strategy development and implementation. The bill directs the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs to develop an adaptation management plan grant program that will provide financial and technical assistance to municipalities. We are pleased that a member of the advisory commission will have expertise in local government, and look forward to continuing conversations with you regarding the details of the legislation, future regulations, and the adaptation plan.
Local officials are incorporating climate change into their local decision-making process. Last year, Governor Baker signed Executive Order 569, which mapped out the state’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve resiliency, and protect against the impacts of climate change. Since the signing of the order, local officials have participated in summits on state-local climate change collaboration, considered how to reduce emissions from the transportation sector, and participated in the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program, which provides grants for cities and towns to identify local hazards and vulnerabilities and develop strategies to become more resilient. As Massachusetts continues to combat the impact of climate change and build more resilient infrastructure, state and local officials will need to work as partners to ensure that communities have the tools they need, including technical assistance and funding opportunities.
We urge you to support S. 2196, and ask that you please support Amendment #16, filed by Senator Rodrigues, to ensure that the bill does not unintentionally make it difficult for state agencies to implement effective and timely permitting processes. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to have your office contact me or MMA Legislative Analyst Victoria Sclafani at (617) 426-7272 at any time.
Again, thank you for your leadership on this important issue.
Geoffrey C. Beckwith
Executive Director & CEO