State lawmakers consider ways to fight climate change

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – State lawmakers are looking at proposals to reduce air pollution in Massachusetts.

Right now, the legislature is considering two bills that aim to make Massachusetts more eco-friendly, but they could affect both ends of the state differently.

The GreenWorks proposal, backed by House Speaker Robert DeLeo, would provide cities and towns with the necessary resources to build renewable-energy infrastructure and invest in climate resiliency programs.

That proposal would be financed with $1 billion in borrowing.

Governor Charlie Baker also proposed a bill to address climate change, but this would be funded by raising the real estate transfer tax.

Some western Massachusetts residents worry that both proposals only benefit communities in the eastern part of the state.

“In eastern Mass, a lot of folks generate emissions, from transportation, from buildings, and from energy consumption. In western Mass there are a lot of forests that are conserved where the communities don’t get local revenues and that eastern Mass should help western Mass by providing some value for those conserved lands,” said Steve Long, director of government relations at the Nature Conservancy.

Many public officials are hoping to see the two climate change bills combine, but they said there are still several financial and logistical aspects to work out before that can happen.

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