After considering more than 150 amendments, the Senate yesterday passed a $250 billion climate bill with a range of investments and tools intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote clean energy.

The bill (S. 2819) centers around three significant blocks of funding:
• $100 million to create a Clean Energy Investment Fund
• $100 million to establish an Electric Vehicle Adoption Incentive Trust Fund
• $50 million to further develop the electric vehicle charging infrastructure across Massachusetts

The Clean Energy Investment Fund would advance clean energy research and technology, as well as providing for workforce development and training programs.

The Electric Vehicle Adoption Incentive Trust Fund would offer consumers rebates of $3,500 to $5,000 per electric vehicle.

The Senate bill includes a section, strongly supported by the MMA, that would establish a pilot program to allow 10 municipalities to adopt restrictions or bans on fossil fuel use in new building construction or major renovation projects.

In a letter to senators, the MMA wrote: “This innovative pilot program would set reasonable standards for municipal participation and would allow the Department of Energy Resources to collect data on best practices, monitor emissions impacts, and evaluate cost implications in participating cities and towns. This program will empower municipalities to pursue the net-zero emissions goals articulated in the 2021 Climate Act.”

Some cities and towns — such as Brookline, Arlington, Lexington, Acton, Concord and Cambridge — had sought fossil fuel bans on their own via home rule petitions, but those efforts face uncertainty under current state law. The MMA stated that Section 52 of the bill “would provide opportunities for many of those municipalities — so long as they are approved as part of the proposed demonstration program.”

The House passed its own climate bill (H. 4524), focused primarily on offshore wind and energy, on March 3. The House and Senate bills are expected to go to a legislative conference committee to work out the differences.

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