Coalition presses for environmental justice in climate bill

Boston Statehouse

Massachusetts State House

BOSTON (SHNS) – A coalition of more than 40 groups that includes long-standing environmental organizations, big players in the state’s financial world, tech companies, and more sent a letter Friday to the lawmakers trying to hammer out a climate bill highlighting the importance of including environmental justice provisions in the final product.

Organizations like Health Care Without Harm, Northeast Clean Energy Council, Sierra Club of Massachusetts, A Better City, Eastern Bank, Trillium Asset Management, Greentown Labs and the Conservation Law Foundation said it is critical that a compromise climate policy bill includes provisions that attempt to ensure that everyone in Massachusetts benefits as the state shifts toward a clean energy economy.

“Everyone deserves equal protection against harm caused by environmental pollution,” the group of advocates and organizations wrote in the letter. “Lowincome Bay Staters, as well as Massachusetts residents of color and people with limited English proficiency, many of whom suffer economic, health, and environmental inequities, are not only more likely to live in communities polluted by fossil fuels or where toxic facilities are sited, but are also most vulnerable to extreme weather events and the effects of climate change.”

The Senate overwhelmingly passed a package of climate bills in January that called for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and set deadlines for the state to impose carbon-pricing mechanisms for transportation, commercial buildings and homes.

The House, which had earlier passed a $1.3 billion climate adaptation bill, in July passed its response to the main Senate proposal, addressing the 2050 emissions reduction roadmap, solar energy net metering, grid modernization, workforce development, energy efficiency, and municipal electric and light plant clean energy targets.

A six-person conference committee has been trying to iron out the differences in those bills since early August.

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