February 4th Roundup: When Can We Expect a Final Climate Bill?

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– When can we expect a final climate bill? Soonest looking like last week of February (Tim Cronin):  Last Thursday the Senate and House overwhelmingly passed their roadmap climate bill, sending back to Governor Baker the exact same bill he vetoed in January. The Governor now has 10 days, until this Sunday (February 7th), to consider whether he wants to sign the bill outright, return it with amendments, veto the bill, or let it take effect without his signature.

It’s widely believed that Baker will return the bill with amendments. According to an email from Senator Barrett, the chief Senate sponsor for the bill, “Governor Baker will almost certainly choose door #2 [sending it back with amendments]. This is his opportunity to suggest changes.”

If the Governor does indeed propose changes to the bill, the Senate and the House have a few options of their own. They can accept each amendment, reject each, or further amend each. Technically, if they accept any of the new language from Governor Baker it is considered a new bill, which restarts the clock all over again. Each legislative branch then takes as long as it needs to decide on this new version, hypothetically even to the end of the two-year session (January 2023). Yet, according to Senator Barrett, “the understanding is that both the President and the Speaker will want to move quickly. Given the complexity of a 200-person Legislature, there is always potential peril at this stage, in the form of either major weakening amendments or delay.”

Once they’ve come to a decision on the Governor’s amendments, legislators will again pass a version of the bill (with any changes included) and return it to Gov. Baker. Again, Baker gets to consider his choices for up to another 10 days, but this time his options are more limited. He can either veto it, sign it, or let the bill take effect without his signature.

If the legislature does choose to consider any of the Governor’s amendments to the climate bill, no matter how small, the bill would likely become law in the last week of February (and that’s assuming the House & Senate quickly agree on which changes to accept).

Climate advocates, including Environment Massachusetts’ State Director Ben Hellerstein, are calling on the legislature to pass the bill without any major amendments, as soon as possible. Meanwhile, NAIOP Massachusetts, A Better City, and some building trades unions continue to push against provisions that seek to create an option net-zero stretch energy code for cities and towns.

[Email the Governor’s office and share your views on the bill here.]

– “Gov. Baker sees potential in regional approach to wind energy (Colin A. Young, SHNS via the Herald News): [read the article]

– “Take Two: Lawmakers Again Send Climate Bill to Baker” (Katie Lannan and Sam Doran, State House News Service via Earthwhile): [read the article]

– “Let’s try this (climate change bill) again” (Bruce Mohl, Commonwealth Magazine): [read the article]

– “Can Massachusetts Democrats Overcome the Power of Business Lobbyists and Pass Climate Legislation?” (Phil McKenna, InsideClimate News): [read the article]


– “As Boston gets on board, community power compacts gain steam” (Meg McIntyre, SHNS via WWLP): [read the article]



– “February 19 is deadline for new climate change law” by Ben Hellerstein, State Director of Environment Massachusetts, via Commonwealth Magazine

– “Baker take note: Net zero buildings make sense” by Meredith Elbaum, via Commonwealth Magazine.

– “We are the next generation. It’s time to embrace solar.” by Jacob Ammon and Omar Ayman Abdelaal – Nexamp Inc., via Boston Business Journal

– “Letter: Baker, Massachusetts need to take lead on climate change” by Susan Starkey, via Cape Cod Times)


 – “Local group seeks environment and wildlife preservation projects” (Stephen Landry, The Gardner News): [read the article]

– “Mass. Solar Farm Ordered To Pay $1M For Polluting Wetlands, River” (Associated Press via Earthwhile): [read the article]


– Sen. Markey joins Senator Duckworth, Rep Bush to introduce bill aimed at identifying environmental justice communities (Tim Cronin): The legislation (Environmental Justice Mapping and Data Collection Act of 2021) would work to identify and connect environmental justice communities with federal policy outcomes, building layered maps depicting which communities experience environmental injustices. According to a release from Markey’s office, the “legislation would help direct 40% of President Biden’s climate investment toward disproportionately impacted communities.” [Read the press release here]

– “As Final Vote On Electrical Substation Nears, East Boston Residents Say State’s Approval Process Has Left Them Out” (Miriam Wasser, Earthwhile): [read the article]

– “Climate Change Threatens Homes of Boston’s Most Vulnerable” (Ayurella Horn-Muller, Climate Central, Meteorologist Christopher Gloninger and Ale Zimmermann, NBC Boston): [read the article]


– “In push for clean transportation, Mass. focuses on electric cars over public transit” (Adam Vaccaro, Boston Globe): [read the article]

– “Biden Calls For An All-Electric Federal Fleet. GM Is Going Electric. And Your SUV Is Still A Big Problem” (Philip Warburg, WBUR): [read the article]

– “Want More Electric Cars? First We Need More Places To Charge Them” (Jesse Remedios, Earthwhile): [read the article]


– “Administration off to a good start on climate commitments” (Christian Morris, Climate XChange): [read the article]

– “’Better Than We Thought’: Biden Wins Early Praise From Skeptical Mass. Climate Activists” (Callum Borchers, WBUR): [read the article]


– “Offshore wind projects may get back on track” (Christian M. Wade, Newburyport News): [read the article]


– “Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey plans to play more offense with President Joe Biden in office” (Matt Murphy, State House News Service via MassLive): [read the article]


– “Massachusetts asks utilities for ways to avoid bill spikes from EV fast-charging” (Sarah Shemkus, Energy News Network): [read the article]


– “The Climate Crisis and Education Act can make Maryland a National Leader on Climate” (Wandra Ashley-Williams, Climate XChange): [read the article]


WEBINAR: The Road to 100% Renewable Energy (Noa Dalzell, Climate XChange): [register]


Missed the last CXC Roundup? Here are the top three climate headlines from the previous weeks:

  1. Report: Who’s Delaying Climate Action in Massachusetts?
  2. Legislators to re-vote on climate bill
  3. How Biden’s administration will impact Massachusetts

Read the full Roundup here from January 27th, 2020 here.

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Featured Image: Photo by King of Hearts via Wikimedia Commons