Rep. Benson Votes to Pass $2.4 Billion Environmental Bond Bill

BOSTON – Representative Benson (D-Lunenburg) and her colleagues in the Legislature voted on Monday to pass a $2.4 Billion Environmental Bond Bill focused on improving climate change resiliency and adaptation, enhancing environmental and natural resource protection, and investing in parks and recreational assets. The legislation ensures that Massachusetts can continue to plan for global warming and a changing climate, including along our vulnerable coastlines.

“The changing climate is already affecting Massachusetts in the form of record-breaking storms, coastal erosion, and more frequent flooding,” said Representative Benson. “With this bond bill, our communities and industries will have the resources to take proactive steps to protect themselves from the worsening effects of climate change.”

“These investments protect critical natural resources, preserve our parks and recreational areas and aim to make our Commonwealth is more resilient to the threats of climate change for years to come,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “I’m proud to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to fund these important initiatives.”

Among other spending, the bill appropriates:

  • $225,000,000 for community investment grants;
  • $100,000,000 for energy and environment coastal infrastructure;
  • $75,000,000 for municipal vulnerability preparedness;
  • $55,000,000 for river and wetland restoration programs; and
  • $54,000,000 for rural investments.

The bill also requires the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to publish an integrated state climate adaptation and hazard mitigation plan every five years. Additionally, the legislation creates and funds a Global Warming Solutions Trust Fund to fund the implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act, the state’s Clean Energy and Climate Plan, and state and local strategies for climate adaptation.

The Environmental Bond Bill also emphasizes the importance of public and parkland throughout the Commonwealth, appropriating $150,000,000 to tree planting, urban and suburban parks, EEA land acquisition, and trails. The bill also establishes an Agricultural Innovation Fund to finance grants for the Commonwealth’s agricultural producers.

The legislation now awaits action by the Governor.