For Immediate Release - February 19, 2013

Secretary Sullivan Highlights Governor Patrick's Plan to Create Jobs and Expand Opportunity

SALEM – Tuesday, February 19, 2013 – Following Governor Deval Patrick’s State of the Commonwealth address last month, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan today joined state and local elected officials to highlight Patrick-Murray Administration investments in the North Shore region, building on the Governor’s plan to create jobs and expand economic opportunity throughout Massachusetts.

“The Patrick-Murray Administration is committed to expanding opportunities and economic growth to every corner of the Commonwealth,” said Secretary Sullivan. “We must continue to make investments in the North Shore that improve our neighborhoods and protect the environment while providing a healthier, safer future for generations to come.”

In his address, Sullivan committed to continuing the Commonwealth’s ambitious clean energy agenda and working towards meeting the Administration’s nation-leading goals in renewable energy. The Patrick-Murray Administration has invested in 13 solar projects and 32 energy efficiency projects in the region since taking office.

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Department of Energy Resources recently announced that Salem, Swampscott, Hamilton and Wenham are four of the 16 communities to participate in the pilot Community Energy Strategies program. The program is designed to help communities assess and evaluate clean energy investments ranging from high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment and insulation to wind turbines and solar electricity systems. 

Participating communities and regional planning authorities will receive assistance from industry experts in assessing the area’s clean energy resources, infrastructure and community needs. The goal of the program is to provide communities with a menu of clean energy options depending on their needs and resources.

Including Salem and Beverly, there are nine designated Green Communities in Essex County and ten that have adopted a more energy efficient building code than the standard - these cities and towns have committed to be part of a “clean energy revolution” in the Commonwealth.

Residents have participated in 164 projects through the nation-leading Mass Save program to make their homes more efficient. This has saved the energy equivalent needed for 238 households annually.

Massachusetts earned the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy’s number one ranking in energy efficiency in 2011 and 2012 as a result of Governor Patrick’s policies.

Secretary Sullivan also underlined investments in urban parks as a means to reduce youth violence and increase regional economic opportunities– two goals of the Patrick-Murray Administration. In the Governor’s proposed budget, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) would receive $8.6 million in funding to expand investments in and increase the hours of operation at recreational facilities statewide.

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.