GOVERNOR PATRICK SIGNS INVESTMENT BILL CONTINUING UNPRECEDENTED GROWTH IN ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Governor Patrick signs H. 4375, “An Act Providing for the Preservation and Improvement of Land, Parks and Clean Energy in the Commonwealth,” to help support continued growth in the Commonwealth’s clean energy sector and improve on the Patrick Administration’s record investments to protect the environment. (Photo: Eric Haynes / Governor’s Office)
BOSTON — Wednesday, August 13, 2014— Governor Deval Patrick today signed H. 4375, “An Act Providing for the Preservation and Improvement of Land, Parks and Clean Energy in the Commonwealth,” to help support continued growth in the Commonwealth’s clean energy sector and improve on the Patrick Administration’s record investments to protect the environment.
“These investments are not only good energy and environmental policy, but also good economic policy,” said Governor Patrick. “With the Legislature's help, this legislation helps Massachusetts continue to lead in clean energy innovation and job growth.”
The $2.2 billion bond legislation authorizes $62 million for clean energy and energy efficiency through the Accelerated Energy Program, and funding relative to the construction of the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal and associated dredging of New Bedford Harbor. The terminal will be the first facility in the Nation designed to support the construction, assembly and deployment of offshore wind projects – creating a new national industry centered in Massachusetts. The bill also calls for the creation of the Massachusetts Water Innovation Trust, building on the successful Innovation Partnership Missions Governor Patrick has led overseas to solidify Massachusetts as a leader in the water technology sector, helping to solve our global water challenges while creating local jobs.
“From clean energy to conservation to climate change: the Patrick Administration has consistently led the way in crafting a forward-thinking energy policy for the 21st century,” said Congressman Joe Kennedy. “I applaud this bond bill which will help create a strong framework for our investments moving forward. I’m particularly pleased to see authorization included for the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal which will be an economic boon for the entire South Coast.”
“Massachusetts has a national reputation for its land conservation efforts, energy efficiency programs, and development of renewable energy technology,” said Congressman Jim McGovern. “I want to commend the Patrick Administration for making environmental protection a top priority. It is my sincere hope that investments such as this will continue to encourage the adoption of clean energy technology, thereby decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels.”
“Massachusetts remains a national leader in clean energy initiatives, and this legislation represents our continued commitment to promoting the highest environmental standards," said Senate President Therese Murray. "This comprehensive bond bill makes investments in a wide range of environmental services, including reforesting, innovative green projects and water reform initiatives, which are all essential for protecting the health of our communities for years to come.”
“This bill represents an important investment in our environmental future,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “Cleaning up hazardous waste and protecting our shorelines will make our state a better place to live, work and enjoy. I thank Governor Patrick, Senate President Murray and my colleagues in the Legislature for their efforts on this bill.”
The legislation also builds on the Patrick Administration’s efforts to prepare for the impacts of climate change by authorizing the establishment and $10 million for the capitalization of a Climate Change Adaptation Infrastructure Investment Fund.
“This legislation will ensure that we improve our quality of life by protecting our open space, improving our recreational facilities and reducing greenhouse gas emissions thanks to the growth of the clean energy industry,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett. “The Patrick Administration is committed to making strategic investments in innovation, education and infrastructure, which will have a positive impact for generations to come.”
“This bond bill allows Massachusetts to continue to be a leader in energy efficiency while making fiscally responsible investments that will strengthen our Commonwealth for future generations,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Glen Shor. “Under Governor Patrick’s leadership, initiatives like the Accelerated Energy Program have helped reduce our carbon footprint and ensure our state facilities are efficient and sustainable.”
The bond bill also reauthorizes successful land conservation programs focused on protecting working lands and important habitat, as well as investments in urban parks. The Patrick Administration has made an unprecedented investment of more than $300 million, which has protected more than 120,000 acres of land and created 170 new parks. Urban parks have been a major part of this effort particularly focused on the 26 Gateway Cities. The bond bill provides $111 million in authorization for the Gateway City Parks Program, which was created to make strategic park, greenway and open space investments as part of a larger focus on improving life in these communities.
The legislation authorizes nearly $640 million to support the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) park infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, conservation and land protection efforts, and will permit DCR to purchase street lights, enabling more efficient management of the 13,000 lights on DCR property, and providing the agency with an opportunity to invest in energy efficiency lighting, saving up to $800,000 annually.
“I’d like to thank Governor Patrick for signing this important environmental bond bill into law today to ensure Massachusetts continues to prioritize the improvement of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land on which we walk and rely for food,” said Senator Marc R. Pacheco. “Through our unanimous support of this legislation, the State Legislature agreed we must preserve our natural assets, promote energy efficiency and embrace climate preparedness efforts in Massachusetts. I look forward to seeing this Governor and the next Governor use its authorization for the betterment of our environment and for the strengthening of our economy.”
“A goal of the Environmental Bond Bill is to preserve our natural resources and promote economic growth, while at the same time maintaining fiscal responsibility,” said Representative Anne Gobi. “We are fortunate in Massachusetts, especially in our area, to have so many wonderful natural resources that make our region a prime place to live and work. This bond bill strengthens our commitment to the environment, and at the same time does not compromise our ability to address our budget needs.”
"I join Governor Patrick in applauding these investments to improve our environmental quality and build a more sustainable energy future for the Commonwealth,” said Representative Stephen Kulik. “I am especially pleased with our strong support for protecting important agricultural and conservation lands and critical habitats, all of which enhance our quality of life, promote good stewardship of natural resources and sustain our rural communities."
The Patrick Administration’s aggressive clean energy initiatives have made Massachusetts a leader in energy efficiency, renewable energy and emissions reductions. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy has named Massachusetts number one in energy efficiency for three years running. Last year, Governor Patrick set a new solar goal after reaching the previous goal of 250 megawatts four years early. The Commonwealth now aims to install 1,600 megawatts of solar capacity by 2020. Currently, there are 615 megawatts installed, capable of powering nearly 94,000 homes. The clean energy revolution is yielding economic benefits as well, with 11.8 percent job growth in the last year; nearly 80,000 people are employed in the cleantech industry in the Commonwealth.