Secretary Sullivan Highlights Governor Patrick's Plan to Create Jobs and Expand Opportunity
NEW BEDFORD – Tuesday, January 29, 2013 – Following Governor Deval Patrick’s State of the Commonwealth address earlier this month, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan today joined state and local elected officials to highlight Patrick-Murray Administration investments in the South Coast region, building on the Governor’s plan to create jobs and expand economic opportunity throughout Massachusetts.
"The Patrick-Murray Administration is no stranger to the South Coast," said Secretary Sullivan. "At EEA, we have invested significant state and federal resources in the South Coast region to support harbor clean-up, encourage renewable energy production and energy efficiency, and protect the region's natural habitats."
Secretary Sullivan underlined the New Bedford Marine Commerce terminal project, which, once constructed, will be the first-of-its kind facility in North America designed to support the construction, assembly, and deployment of offshore wind projects. In addition to strengthening Massachusetts’ leadership in renewable energy, the facility will also function as a seaport engineered to handle high capacity cargo and shipping.
The U.S. Department of Energy predicts 43,000 jobs will be created in the offshore wind industry by 2020. Massachusetts is now home to nearly 5,000 clean energy companies that employ nearly 72,000 people. In the last year alone, the clean energy job sector in the state saw job growth of more than 11 percent.
In 2007, the Patrick-Murray Administration set an ambitious goal of reaching 250 megawatts of solar by 2017. Massachusetts currently has 194 megawatts installed statewide. One of the tools in reaching that goal is the Green Communities Act, signed by Governor Patrick. There are now 110 green communities – including Lakeville, which was designated last year.
Secretary Sullivan also celebrated environmental investments in the South Coast. Over the past five years, the Gateway Cities Parks program, one of the Administration’s signature initiatives in urban revitalization, has invested $3.5 million in park projects for the cities of Fall River and New Bedford.
The Patrick-Murray Administration has also worked with local farmers to improve their land with energy efficient technology, protected thousands of acres of land and wildlife habitat; and reduced pollution in coastal waters.
EEA and its agencies have made efforts to renovate boat access areas so more people can enjoy local waterways, improved stormwater and sewer systems, removed dams to restore headwaters, increased recycling rates across the Commonwealth, and rehabilitated reservations and beaches, like Horseneck in Westport, making them accessible to all.
In Governor Patrick’s State of the Commonwealth address and in his budget announcement earlier this month, he laid out a plan to grow jobs by making investments in education, innovation and infrastructure to grow opportunity in the near-term, and strengthen our Commonwealth in the long-term.
The Governor has proposed a comprehensive, fair, dedicated and competitive investment plan that will strengthen the state’s economic future by cutting the sales tax from the current rate of 6.25 percent to 4.5 percent and raising the income tax from 5.25 percent to 6.25 percent. The Governor’s proposals will support important investments in our infrastructure in order to pay the bills the Commonwealth inherited from the Big Dig, maintain existing infrastructure, promote regional equity and make targeted expansions to unlock long-term economic development and reinvest in the Commonwealth’s education system by providing universal access to high quality early education, fully funding K-12 education and allowing extended school days in high-need schools; make college more affordable and accessible, and allow community colleges to expand their efforts.