March 26th Roundup: Next Generation Roadmap Bill Becomes Law

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– Its (Finally) Law: Next Generation Roadmap legislation signed by Governor (Tim Cronin): This afternoon (3/26) in the state house library, Governor Baker joined legislative leaders to officially sign the Next Generation Roadmap bill (S.9) into law. This comes after months of back and forth between the legislature and the Governor over details of the bill, culminating in it passing the Senate and House three times and being vetoed twice by the Governor.

Last week the legislature rejected Governor Baker’s biggest proposed changes, including ones to weaken the bill’s new stretch code program, reduce the 2030 emissions limit, and remove sector-by-sector limits. Ultimately, Baker was left with few options to stop the bill, which commanded large veto-proof majorities in both chambers and a pledge from legislative leadership to override any final veto from the Governor. [watch the video of the signing ceremony here].

– Lawmakers take victory lap on overhaul of climate laws (Tim Cronin): At the end of the day, the new climate law is a big win for the legislature, including Speaker Mariano, President Spilka, and members of the House and Senate from both sides of the aisle. Notable leaders in the effort include Senator Barrett and Representative Golden, who led negotiations over the bill’s underlying policy and struck the inter-chamber compromise that gave us the version that became law today.

They are not the only ones who deserve credit for the final law, whose many important components were championed by multiple lawmakers. Of note is Representative Meschino, an early architect of the bill in the House. It was Rep. Meschino’s Net Zero Roadmap bill from 2019 that passed the House and ultimately joined with the Senate’s version to make the Next Generation Roadmap bill, a remarkable achievement for a lawmaker who was only in her second term when she filed it.

In the Senate, it was Senate TUE Chair Barrett who championed the idea of sector-by-sector sublimits, an idea he introduced first in the Senate version of the law. Senator Barrett also pushed a slew of other policies (like expansion in EV use) across the finish line in the Senate, policies that made it into the final law. Additionally, he led the Senate in passing new energy efficiency standards for appliances, based on a bill long championed by Rep. Cutler. Similarly, the inclusion of the net zero stretch code, was first led in the Senate by Senator Comerford, with a number of updates to natural gas use championed by Senator Creem.

In the House, it was Rep. Madaro, Miranda, and DuBois who ensured inclusion of a provision that added environmental justice into state law, ultimately getting it in the House bill via an amendment. Similarly, it was Rep. Decker who was able to rally House members around an increase to the renewable portfolio standard (RPS), which she got into the House version via a last-minute floor amendment. Also, it was Rep Golden (then the House TUE Chair) and Rep. Haddad who pushed for an expansion of offshore wind procurements to 5,600 megawatts.

By no means is this an exhaustive list, with a lot of other lawmakers able to claim credit for successes in this bill. Regardless, take a moment and thank your lawmaker or favorite legislative champion for making this climate bill law.

– Reactions Roundup: What folks are saying about the new climate law (Tim Cronin): Reactions to today’s signing of the climate bill into law:

  • GreenRoots: “After decades of fighting for environmental justice legislation, we have finally achieved what is a strong foundation to start reversing generations of environmental racism and systemic oppression.”
  • Senator Barrett: “The pace of climate change is picking up — so the pace of climate policy must pick up. The Next-Gen Climate Roadmap law reflects the concerns of people of every age, from every part of the state.”
  • Massachusetts Climate Action Network: “Celebrate today. Organize tomorrow.”
  • Speaker Mariano: “This is a bill that has more miles on it than my car… This shows the importance of this bill. the importance of the bill to the future of the Commonwealth.”
  • Senate President Spilka: “To the thousands of young people and others who called on us to act, this is your moment. Together, we have set MA on a course to net-zero by 2050, added fuel to our growing green economy and are working towards environmental justice.”
  • Rep. Ted Philips: “SIGNED!!!! Thank you to all the advocates who worked so hard to make this law a reality in our Commonwealth.”
  • Mayor Curtatone: “This is what happens when the veto-proof majority in the MA Legislature flexes its muscles. The Governor signs a climate bill he tried to derail & cheers about it.”
  • Senator O’Connor: “The legislation has been years in the making… The action taken today shows that we’re serious about this issue & we recognize the need to be a leader…”
  • 350 Mass: “@MassGovernor deserves NO credit for signing the Next-Gen Roadmap into law in the face of a veto-proof supermajority.”

 NEW LAW SUMMARY: “What You Need To Know About The New Mass. Climate Law” (Miriam Wasser, Earthwhile): [read the article]


– “Mariano to pursue clean energy investments on South Coast” (Greg Ryan, Boston Business Journal): [read the article]

– “Why A Federal Order In The Weymouth Compressor Case Has The Natural Gas World Worried” (Miriam Wasser, Earthwhile): [read the article]

– “Critics warn Massachusetts’ climate progress is headed for traffic jam” (Sarah Shemkus, Energy News Network): [read the article]


– “Report to policymakers: ‘Remove barriers’ and ‘go big’ on offshore wind off Cape Cod” (Doug Fraser, Cape Cod Times): [read the article]

– “Somerset struggles amid slow rollout of offshore wind” (Bruce Mohl, Commonwealth Magazine): [read the article]


– “Save The Bees: Massachusetts Issues New Rules To Restrict Some Pesticides” (Hannah Uebele, GBH): [read the article]

– “Natick To Study Water Contaminant With $135K State Grant” (Neal McNamara, Patch): [read the article]

– “Cape Cod Researchers To Test New Camera That Could Protect Right Whales From Ships” (Hannah Chanatry, Earthwhile): [read the article]


– “Climate pact up in the air” (Christian M. Wade, SHNS via Salem News): [read the article]


– “Bitcoin Is Terrible For The Planet. Now There Are Better Choices” (Frederick Hewett, WBUR): [read the article]

– “GM signs deal with MIT-spinout to reduce electric vehicle battery costs by 60%” (Michael Wayland, CNBC): [read the article]


– “Climate is on the agenda this year. A carbon tax should be too.” (Mark Reynolds and Isabella O’Connor, Telegram and Gazette): [read the article]


– “Massachusetts Auto Salvage Company Settles Alleged Clean Water Act Violations” (EPA): [read the article]

– “Lee, Massachusetts, Residents File Lawsuit Against Officials Who Approved PCB Dump” (Nancy Eve Cohen, New England Public Media via Earthwhile): [read the article]


– “Hydropower project faces more headwinds” (Christian M. Wade, SHNS via Salem News): [read the article]


– “Split on party lines, RI House passes Act on Climate” (Alex Kuffner, Providence Journal): [read the article]


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

  1. Senate, House overwhelming pass the (final) NextGen Climate bill
  2. “Women’s Leadership is Central to the Climate Fight”
  3. “As climate change makes more droughts likely, state plans to issue controversial new policy that may increase water restrictions”

Read the full Roundup here from March 19th, 2021 here.

FOR MORE CONTENT from us subscribe to the Climate XChange Newsletter (Fridays, weekly) and check out the fourth season of the Cooler Earth Podcast.

Featured Image: Photo by Joshua Qualls/Governor’s Press Office via Flickr