Massachusetts Senate unveils sweeping climate proposal

Source: By Associated Press • Posted: Sunday, April 10, 2022

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate unveiled a sweeping climate bill Thursday aimed at helping the state meet its net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goal by 2050.

The bill sets out a range of strategies, from lending support to emerging energy technologies like nuclear fusion, networked geothermal, and deep geothermal energy, to allowing agricultural and horticultural land to be used to locate solar panels, as long as the panels don’t impede the continued use of the land for agricultural or horticultural use.

The bill would also increase by $1,000 — to $3,500 — the rebate for qualifying purchases and leases of zero-emission passenger cars and light-duty trucks costing $50,000 or less, while offering another $1,000 for buyers who are trading in an internal combustion vehicle.

Under the proposal the state would set electrification and emission-reduction requirements for ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft and require the entire MBTA bus fleet to consist of zero emissions vehicles by 2040.

Another proposal included in the bill would create two demonstration projects in 10 communities. One project would allow all-electric building construction by local option while a second would restrict the use of fossil fuels in new construction projects. Participating municipalities would have to receive local approval to participate.

The unveiling of the bill comes a year after Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed a climate change bill that set the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Thursday’s bill helps outline specific ways the state can reach that goal, according to supporters.

“We are taking an all-hands-on deck approach to saving the planet, with a particular focus on three area that will need significant attention if we are to meet our ambitious goal of having net zero emissions by 2050: the transportation, clean energy, and building sectors,” Democratic Senate President Karen Spilka said in a press release.

The state Senate intends to debate the bill next week.