Last week, Rep. Joe McGonagle, along with his colleagues in the House passed a bill that created a road map to clean energy in Massachusetts by 2050. Part of this bill featured an amendment co-sponsored by McGonagle that protected environmental injustice communities from further harm due to pollution and improper waste disposal. The amendment was primarily sponsored by Representative Adrian Madaro of East Boston.
During the House session, McGonagle spoke at the rostrum saying:
“I rise before you to speak in favor of amendment 52. During COVID-19 pandemic, we saw how unfairly certain communities of lower incomes were affected. We acknowledged the problem and addressed it immediately. So it only makes sense that we do the same when it comes to recognizing environmental justice communities and the struggles we face. Too often they are overtaken by development that puts health and the environment at risk. If we want to build a cleaner state, we must protect those who have been burdened by environmental injustice. And kids who grow up in urban areas deserve green space and clean air just as much as kids from rural towns. And the children of this generation have already lost so much due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we cannot let them lose more by not acting on environmental justice and this is how we can continue to build a better future. The choice to support a cleaner state is an easy one. And I thank you in advance for your support.”
Madaro, the primary sponsor, spoke earlier on the amendment saying, “These burdens harm our environment, releasing carbon and matter into the atmosphere. It is my neighbors and I who suffer the consequences. Our planet is facing a reckoning but the burden of these fumes has been borne by EJ (environmental justice) communities from the beginning. The consequences are real.”
By a roll-call vote of 159-0, the amendment was adopted.
“The entire bill was environmental legislation that the House has been working on for years,” said McGonagle. “That was really important to get passed, but I am especially proud of passing Amendment 52. Rep. Madaro did a fantastic job with it, I’m really grateful he asked me to be a part of it. This legislation is a true commitment to building a cleaner Massachusetts for future generations.”
By a roll-call vote of 142-17, the bill was engrossed. Other major tenets of the bill included 2050 emissions reduction roadmap, solar energy net metering, grid modernization, and workforce development.
The bill will now begin to be discussed with the Senate.