Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo this week unveiled the details of the plan he announced last February that will provide $1.3 billion to combat the ever-increasing effects of climate change. Among the major aspects of the plan will be the awarding of grants to cities and towns across the state to encourage green energy initiatives and climate change resiliency efforts, which are particularly needed for our vulnerable coastal communities.
The grant program, called GreenWorks, would be funded by $1 billion in bonds and paid out over a decade. The program, to be run by the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, will allow local governments to seek grants for a variety of projects that will focus on climate change preparedness and clean energy production in order to reduce carbon emissions.
The bill also would set aside an additional $295 million in state spending for energy infrastructure, including $100 million for municipal microgrid systems to increase the resiliency of the electricity grid and $125 million for electric vehicles in municipal fleets and regional transit authorities.
There no longer is any dispute that climate change is occurring and that our coastal communities, including the City of Boston, are ill-prepared at the present time to address the twin threats of rising sea levels and more powerful storms.
Speaker DeLeo’s GreenWorks initiative represents a major step forward in protecting our vulnerable coastline, while at the same time creating jobs in the green energy and clean tech industries.
Given the urgency and pressing need to address the issue of climate change, which is occurring at an ever-accelerating pace, we urge our state senators to join with Speaker DeLeo and the Mass. House in presenting a bill for Gov. Charlie Baker’s signature by the end of this year.