BOSTON -- Governor Charlie Baker returned a climate bill to the Legislature with proposed amendments today.
The House and Senate voted to send the climate bill to Governor Baker's desk on January 28, after the governor declined to sign into law an identical bill passed at the end of the previous legislative session.
Governor Baker raised no objections to some of the key provisions of the bill, including energy efficiency standards for appliances and a requirement for at least 40% of Massachusetts' electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030. His amendments would weaken language allowing cities and towns to set stronger energy efficiency requirements for new buildings, and require Massachusetts to reduce global warming pollution by only 45% below 1990 levels by 2030, rather than the 50% reduction proposed by the Legislature.
Legislators must now decide whether to accept Governor Baker's amendments or vote to turn the original bill into law without the governor's signature. Mass Power Forward, a statewide coalition of more than 200 organizations, sent a letter last week asking legislators to pass the bill into law without any weakening amendments by February 19.
Ben Hellerstein, state director for Environment Massachusetts, issued the following statement:
"Governor Baker's message to the Legislature is a mixed bag. He supports some of the bill's most important provisions as-is, while asking legislators to weaken others.
"Legislators should reject any weakening amendments — and, most important, they should act quickly to pass this bill into law. It's time to turn the page on last session's climate bill, so legislators can get to work on the other climate policies awaiting action. This bill is an important step toward a cleaner, healthier future, but we will need to go further in 2021 to put Massachusetts on track to 100% renewable energy."