Executive Order

Executive Order  No. 620: Establishing the Commission on Energy Infrastructure Siting and Permitting

Date: 09/26/2023
Issuer: Maura Healey
Mass Register: No. 1506

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth is committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions with a minimum 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as compared to 1990 levels in 2050;

WHEREAS, achieving said requirements will require that a significant amount of new renewable and clean energy generation, distribution, and transmission infrastructure be constructed throughout the Commonwealth to ensure a strong and reliable electricity grid;

WHEREAS, challenges in siting and permitting are frequently cited as a major obstacle to the timely deployment of new clean energy resources and associated infrastructure;

WHEREAS, it is necessary to build said infrastructure in a responsible manner, which is protective of natural and working lands;

WHEREAS, environmental justice populations historically have been disproportionately impacted by the siting of energy-related infrastructure;

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth’s 2050 Clean Energy and Climate Plan calls for the development of a holistic statewide plan for siting and permitting energy infrastructure;

WHEREAS, input and feedback from leaders, experts, and other stakeholders outside of the Executive Branch will help to better inform the development of a holistic statewide siting and permitting energy infrastructure plan;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Maura T. Healey, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution, Part 2, c. 2, § I, Art. I, do hereby order as follows:

Section 1. Commission on Energy Infrastructure Siting and Permitting

  1. There is hereby established a Commission on Energy Infrastructure Siting and Permitting (the “Commission”) within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
  2. The mandate of the Commission shall be to advise the Governor on: (1) accelerating the responsible deployment of clean energy infrastructure through siting and permitting reform in a manner consistent with applicable legal requirements and the Clean Energy and Climate Plan; (2) facilitating community input into the siting and permitting of clean energy infrastructure; and (3) ensuring that the benefits of the clean energy transition are shared equitably among all residents of the Commonwealth.
  3. The Commission shall consist of the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs or her designee, who shall serve as chair; the Secretary of Economic Development or her designee; the Secretary of Housing and Livable Communities or his designee; the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development or her Designee; the Chairs of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy, who shall serve as ex-officio members; and public members to be appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs who shall not be full-time employees of the Executive Branch and who shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs shall ensure that her recommendations for these additional members reflect a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds from outside stakeholders, including, for example, environmental and land use policy experts, municipal government officials and regional planners, utility companies, agricultural policy experts, environmental justice advocates, youth advocates, clean energy developers, housing and real estate developers, lawyers, and labor representatives.
  4. The Chair shall be responsible for convening meetings of the Commission.
  5. The Commission shall engage a broad set of stakeholders to gather input into its work.

Section 2. Siting Practitioner Advisory Group

  1. The Commission shall convene a Siting Practitioner Advisory Group, appointed by the Chair. The Siting Practitioner Advisory Group shall consist of experienced energy project siting professionals.
  2. The Chair will appoint one of the public members of the Commission to lead the Siting Practitioner Advisory Group.
  3. The Group will provide technical assistance and advice to the Commission as needed, both on its own and as requested by the Commission. The leader of the group will convene meetings of the group as needed to achieve this purpose.

Section 3. Interagency Siting and Permitting Task Force

  1. The Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, together with the Secretaries of Economic Development, Housing and Livable Communities, and Transportation, shall convene a group of subject-matter experts from across the Executive Branch, to be known as the Interagency Siting and Permitting Task Force (“Task Force”), to support the work of the Commission.  
  2. The Task Force shall observe and participate in meetings of the Commission as directed by the Chair.
  3. The Task Force shall include staff from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Executive Office of Economic Development, the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities, the Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Fish and Game, Department of Public Utilities, Department of Energy Resources, Department of Agricultural Resources, Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Massachusetts Port Authority, and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, among others, as directed by the Chair.

Section 3. Review and Report

  1. The Commission shall review and assess existing statutes, regulations, and administrative processes and make recommendations to the Governor concerning the reform of state and local permitting and siting processes for energy related infrastructure, including, for example, options to accelerate the deployment of clean energy generation and electric distribution and transmission infrastructure while ensuring that communities have adequate input into the siting and permitting processes for said infrastructure.
  2. The Commission’s recommendations may include suggestions for administrative, regulatory, and legislative changes to existing laws and procedures. The Commission shall develop these recommendations in consideration of various benefits of the recommended policies to Massachusetts, with particular focus given to compliance with state climate laws, affordability, equity, and balancing the need for the infrastructure with its impact on the environment and climate. 
  3. The Commission shall, by March 31, 2024, and with the assistance of the Task Force, produce a report conveying its recommendations to the Governor. The Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs as Chair may set target dates for interim determinations and the completion of interim work products to support the Commission in completing its final report and recommendations.

Section 4. End Date

  1. The Commission shall disband on July 31, 2024.

Section 5. Effective Dates and Amendment

  1. This Executive Order shall take effect upon execution and shall continue in effect until amended, superseded, or revoked by subsequent Executive Order.


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