Somerville, MA– Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) proposed a new 10-year plan on Friday that focuses on fighting climate change in the state.
DeLeo announced this at Greentown Labs in Somerville, and called his new program "GreenWorks," most likely a spinoff of "MassWorks," which funds infrastructure projects.
WBUR reported DeLeo's explanation of the rationale for this bill: "I represent two coastal communities," said DeLeo. "This isn't all just about the water situation, flooding and all that. It deals with every single city and town, no matter what their needs may be. There will be money to address those needs."
Different towns and cities will be able to apply for monetary grants for projects such as solar panels, electric car charging, and any needs related to renewable energy. Rather than telling each city/town what to use the money for, towns may submit proposals for grants to fund projects which they might not be able to afford otherwise.
As an added benefit, successful proposals will create new jobs for the implementation of these projects.
Massachusetts Climate Action Network Executive Director Carol Oldham praised the initiative, adding that fighting climate change is expensive, but necessary: "One of the issues that I know a lot of us in the environmental community and the climate community have been talking about is that resilience is going to be very expensive for a lot of communities in Massachusetts over the next decade," she said. "It has to be done. It's not optional, but it's not going to be cheap."
In early February, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker also announced about $500,000 in funding for what he described as eight “early-stage clean energy companies.” It seems the state is really ramping up its efforts to fight climate change.
All of this comes in the wake of the controversial Green New Deal, first proposed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. That program outlines sweeping changes to the way the nation funds efforts to combat climate change. It's clear Massachusetts isn't planning to wait for that to make its way through Congress.