- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Availability of $8 Million in Climate Change Funding for Cities and Towns
LOWELL — Continuing its commitment to working with communities to prevent and prepare for climate change, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced the availability of $8 million through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program. The grant and designation program, which was created in 2017 as part of Governor Baker’s Executive Order 569, provides communities with funding and technical support to identify hazards, develop strategies to improve resilience, and implement priority actions to adapt to climate change. With this announcement, made by Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito during an event at University of Massachusetts Lowell, the Administration has now committed $25 million through the MVP program to help communities prepare for climate change.
“Climate change is a challenge that will affect every city and town across the Commonwealth, and this funding announcement reflects our administration’s commitment to ensuring communities have the resources to protect their residents, infrastructure, and businesses from the growing impacts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Through our nation-leading MVP Program, and our legislative proposal to provide $1.3 billion over 10 years to invest in climate-smart infrastructure and nature-based solutions in communities, we look forward to continuing and growing our work to build more resilient communities.”
“Our administration is proud of the work Massachusetts communities have done so far to prepare for and adapt to the effects of climate change,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “With this funding, we hope to expand this critical work across the Commonwealth and ensure every city and town is able to invest in climate-smart infrastructure and prepare for impacts like more intense storms, flooding and droughts.”
The $8 million announced today will fund MVP Planning and Action Grants. Planning Grants enable municipalities to work through a community-based workshop process to identify key climate-related hazards, vulnerabilities and strengths, develop adaptation actions, and prioritize next steps. Results of the workshops and planning efforts are then used to inform existing local plans, grant applications, budgets, and policies. Upon successful completion of the program, municipalities are designated as a “Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program Community,” and are eligible for MVP Action Grants.
Action Grants fund implementation of on-the-ground projects to address the specific vulnerabilities to climate change identified by each municipality through their MVP Planning process. Projects are focused on proactive strategies to address climate change impacts and may include retrofitting and adapting infrastructure, detailed vulnerability assessments or design and engineering studies, stormwater upgrades, dam retrofits and removals, culvert upgrades, drought mitigation, actions to protect and engage environmental justice communities and improve public health, energy resilience, and strategies that focus on implementing nature-based solutions such as wetland restoration and floodplain protection. New project types in this grant round include funding for proactive mosquito control measures and subsidized low-income housing resiliency strategies.
In just three years since the program’s launch, 71 percent of the cities and towns in the Commonwealth have enrolled in the MVP program, which pairs local leadership and knowledge with a significant investment of resources and funding from the state to address ongoing climate change impacts like sea level rise, inland flooding, storms, and extreme temperatures. The program has also hired a manager and six regional coordinators to provide technical assistance to planning and action grant communities, and create shared learning opportunities on resilience best practices across the Commonwealth.
“The Commonwealth’s close collaboration with communities is a critical part of our comprehensive climate change strategy,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “We are thrilled to be working with 71 percent of Massachusetts communities through the MVP Program, and have hired regional coordinators to ensure all municipalities, regardless of size or location, can apply for the resources needed to prepare for climate change.”
The RFR opens today and closes on Thursday, November 14. The MVP Action Grants are open to all municipal governments in Massachusetts in FY20 that have received MVP designation from today through November 14. Projects that proposed nature-based solutions or strategies that rely on green infrastructure or conservation and enhancement of natural systems to improve community resilience, in addition to projects that engage and benefit Environmental Justice and/or vulnerable communities receive higher scores. MVP Planning grants are also open today through January 15, 2020 to communities seeking MVP designation with $1 million available in funding, and are reviewed on a rolling basis.
Governor Baker filed the ResilientMA legislation, or Senate Bill 10, to support municipalities and help protect Massachusetts residents, communities, economy, and infrastructure from the adverse effects of climate change, through a modest increase in the excise on real estate transfers to fund a substantial and sustained investment in climate change adaptation. The revenue would be directed towards investments in resilient infrastructure to help make communities safer, keep vital services online, reduce the long-term costs of climate-related risks and protect the value of property across the Commonwealth. The proposal is estimated to generate $1.3 billion over 10 years which would be dedicated to the Commonwealth’s Global Warming Solutions Trust Fund to provide funding for resiliency initiatives including grants and technical assistance to communities for implementing priority actions identified through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program and addressing climate-related risk in cities and towns throughout the state.
In August, Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito formally launched the Resilient MA Action Team, an inter-agency team that will work to implement the nation-leading State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan and improve resilience to climate change across state government. The RMAT is led by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, and is staffed by designated Climate Change Coordinators from each Executive Office.
“I have been proud that in my time on the City Council and now as state senator the City of Lowell has been a leader in the fight against climate change – supporting public and private solar installations and electric vehicles, participating in the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Green Communities Program, converting to LED streetlights, providing access to clean energy through the Lowell Community Choice Power Supply Program, and this year vowing to increase the amount of green energy used by that program to 59 percent with a goal of using 100 percent renewable energy by 2035,” said State Senator Ed Kennedy (D-Lowell). “I am very pleased to see the Baker-Polito administration continuing to support such efforts and providing the resources cities and towns need to continue to fight against climate change, the preeminent issue of our time. I look forward to seeing what great projects are funded through this grant program across the Commonwealth and will continue to champion legislation on Beacon Hill to combat climate change such as Taunton Sen. Marc Pacheco’s bold bill to commit the Commonwealth to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”