- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
- Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Launches Resilient MA Action Team
Boston — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced the launch of the Resilient MA Action Team (RMAT), 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. Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito kicked off the first meeting of the RMAT today, followed by panels of state, municipal, and business leaders to discuss partnering on climate resilience in the Commonwealth.
“Climate change is a challenge that will affect every government agency and every community across the Commonwealth, and our coordination in addressing this challenge will help protect Massachusetts residents, infrastructure and natural resources while improving quality of life year-round,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Resilient MA Action Team is the next step in our aggressive, integrated efforts to prepare for the effects of climate change in a data-driven, equitable and cost-effective manner.”
“The Resilient MA Action Team is dedicated to ensuring our detailed plans turn into real action, and that solutions developed by the Commonwealth are shared and utilized by our local, regional, and private sector partners,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “As we continue to work with cities and towns to build resilience on a local level, we are acting to integrate climate resilience into agency investments and decision-making processes.”
The launch of the RMAT implements a core component of Governor Baker’s Executive Order 569, which established an integrated climate change strategy for the Commonwealth. The RMAT will provide guidance and decision-making for State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan implementation, further refine priority actions, and ensure actions are integrated into agency practice and policy. In its first year, the Resilient MA Action Team will be exploring development of statewide climate resilience standards and completing a resilience evaluation for our annual capital planning process to ensure that investments are climate-smart.
The State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan, released in September 2018, provided a national model of integrating hazard mitigation priorities with forward-looking climate change data and solutions. The plan engaged over 500 stakeholders and is the first in the nation to fully integrate federal hazard mitigation planning requirements, with a proactive approach to addressing the impacts from climate change. Throughout the development of the plan, every state agency completed a vulnerability assessment of their assets and functions and identified initial strategies to increase resiliency. The plan recommended 108 actions for the Commonwealth to pursue to increase resilience and reduce risks and vulnerabilities to natural hazards and projected climate change.
“The intensifying impacts of climate change on Massachusetts have made clear the importance of incorporating climate change into our decision-making, risk management, policies and budgets moving forward,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “This coordinated effort across state agencies will ensure the Commonwealth is leading by example in preparing for the challenge of climate change.”
“Hazard Mitigation is the best way to reduce the risk associated with disasters,” said Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Samantha Phillips. “We are excited about the launch of the Resilient Massachusetts Action Team because mitigation works best when it is championed by multiple stakeholders. The innovation and collaboration of the RMAT creates an environment for sustained action.”
The State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan is also implemented by municipal partnerships through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program. This grant and designation program provides communities with technical support, climate change data, and planning tools to identify hazards and develop strategies to improve resilience. The Baker-Polito Administration has awarded over $17 million to date to the 249 municipalities actively engaged in the MVP program. The next grant round will be released in late September 2019.
Governor Baker also filed the Resilient MA legislation to support municipalities and help protect Massachusetts residents, communities, economy, natural resources and infrastructure from the adverse effects of climate change, through an increase in the excise on real estate transfers to fund a substantial and sustained investment in climate change adaptation through programs like MVP and the implementation of the State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan. 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 deposited into the Commonwealth’s Global Warming Solutions Trust Fund to support municipalities, regional municipal partnerships, and agencies to implement priority adaptation projects.