Governor Patrick Signs Bills To Reduce Emissions And Boost Green Jobs
Global Warming Solutions Act and Green Jobs Act set nation-leading limits on greenhouse gases, spur growth of clean energy industry
"This legislation builds on the energy, oceans, and biofuels bills passed this session - all positioning Massachusetts as the clear national leader in creating a clean energy economy," said Governor Patrick. "Massachusetts will lead the way in reducing the emissions that threaten the planet with climate change, and at the same time stimulate development of the technologies and the companies that will move us into the clean energy age of the future."
The Green Jobs Act will provide support for the growth of a clean energy technology industry, helping Massachusetts to meet goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Backed by $68 million in funding over five years ($43 million from the FY07 surplus and $5 million per year from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust), this legislation gives initial authorization for $5 million in RET funding next year as well as $1 million each in for seed grants to companies, universities, and nonprofits; workforce development grants to state higher ed, vocational schools, and nonprofits; and low-income job training (Pathways Out of Poverty); plus $100,000 for a study of the clean energy sector.
"Massachusetts is leading the way in comprehensive energy reform and all of this session's accomplishments - from Green Communities and advanced biofuels standards to global warming solutions and now green jobs incentives - make us the envy of the nation," said House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, who sponsored the bill. "This law will help us create good-paying jobs in an already-thriving clean energy industry that can double or triple in size in the coming years because of our hard work."
"These initiatives show that Massachusetts is serious about the future of our environment and our economy," said Senate President Therese Murray. "Promoting our emerging clean-energy sector will create jobs and boost an industry that will work to reach the goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act. By focusing on these green-collar jobs, as well as the reduction of greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide emissions, we will help to ensure a healthier future for Massachusetts."
The Global Warming law requires the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, with a reduction of up to 25 percent by 2020. Gradual reduction of emissions levels will spur innovation and entrepreneurship in clean energy technologies across the economy. To facilitate the innovation and economic development necessary to meet those mandates, the Green Jobs Act will support research-and-development, entrepreneurship, and workforce development in the clean-energy technology industry of the future.
"With passage of the most progressive global warming bill in the nation, Massachusetts has positioned itself as a leader in the clean and renewable energy sector, and secured its position in the emerging green economy," said Senator Marc Pacheco, chairman of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. "The Legislature's approval of the Global Warming Solutions Act was an historic moment that will revolutionize the Commonwealth's future economy by spurring job growth, sparking innovation, and protecting our environment for future generations. I'm extremely pleased that we were able to take swift action now. The cost of inaction was just too great."
The law will establish a statewide and regional registry of greenhouse gas emissions. The Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) will determine the baseline emissions level of 1990 and calculate the expected 2020 emissions levels if no new controls were imposed after January 1, 2009 (the "business as usual" level). The Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs will set a 2020 emissions limit between 10 percent and 25 percent below 1990 levels and adopt a plan for meeting that limit by January 1, 2011. The Secretary will also set 2030 and 2040 limits, leading up to the required 80 percent reduction by 2050.
These bills follow three other major pieces of legislation signed by Governor Patrick to move Massachusetts toward a clean energy future:
- The Green Communities Act remakes the electricity marketplace in Massachusetts to favor efficiency over additional power generation, saving energy and money for consumers, and to support the development and use of renewable energy by residents, businesses, and municipalities.
- The Oceans Act, which requires the development of a first-in-the-nation comprehensive management plan for Massachusetts's state waters, allows for the development of wind, wave, and tidal power as part of a plan that balances new and traditional uses with preservation of natural resources.
- The Clean Energy Biofuels Act gives preferential tax treatment to non-corn-based alternatives to ethanol, requires biofuel content in all the diesel and home heating fuel sold in the state, and proposes a new fuel standard for the region that will encourage a range of emissions-reducing technologies for cars and trucks.
"I congratulate Governor Patrick, Senate President Murray, and Speaker DiMasi on launching the most comprehensive and forward-thinking set of clean-energy policies in the nation," said Hemant Taneja, co-chairman of the New England Clean Energy Council. "The legislation passed this year not only serves as an example to the nation that the United States must take a leadership position in addressing climate change, it will also serve to spur the early development of a low-carbon energy technology industry in Massachusetts, setting it on a path to becoming a global leader in this rapidly growing multibillion-dollar industry."