Mass. Gov Wrong to Veto Climate, Energy, Justice Bill

Statement by Paula Garcia, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jan 15, 2021

In an unnecessary and disappointing move, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed a bill that would have strengthened the state’s carbon emissions goals, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Paula Garcia, senior bilingual energy analyst in the Energy Program at UCS.

“This is really disappointing. A lot of really good thinking from a whole lot of perspectives went into shaping this bill, and it has so many important pieces.

“The governor said he vetoed the bill in part because it would slow housing production. This is a false choice. We can address climate change and housing needs simultaneously. In fact, according to a UCS study, by 2045, about 7,000 residential properties, currently home to roughly 14,000 people in Massachusetts, are at risk of chronic inundation due to sea level rise. The total number of at-risk residential properties jumps to more than 89,000—home to about 178,000 people—by 2100. While Massachusetts has a network of shoreline stabilization structures along its coast, few of these are designed to keep out higher tides. And we know that people of color suffer disproportionately from climate impacts.

“Environmental justice shouldn’t have to wait even another month, and this is a horrible lost opportunity to stop perpetuating environmental injustices. Being a whole lot bolder about our climate trajectory is something we need now. Faster clean energy progress is incredibly important -- for addressing our enormous public health challenges, getting the economy back on track, and making sure that we’re bringing every tool to bear to dismantle systemic injustices. Action is especially important now, as the country grapples with the fallout from the coronavirus, myriad examples of racial injustice and the worsening impacts of the climate crisis.

“Massachusetts can and should do more, and we need to be as bold as we can be. With the speaker of the House and the Senate president committed to reintroducing the legislation, we’re not back at square one on this legislation. But at this point, we should be across the finish line.”