Climate change bill expected from Baker next week

  • Baker

State House News Service
Thursday, March 08, 2018

As Massachusetts continued to clean up Thursday from its second nor’easter in a week, Gov. Charlie Baker said he plans to file legislation next week addressing climate change.

Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito surveyed storm damage on the North and South shores last weekend, and Baker said it occurred to him then that “fixing whatever it is that’s there may just translate in something similar happening again at some point.”

“A lot of these places got hit pretty hard in the January 4 storm as well, and I think we’re going to have to come up with a different kind of strategy around resilience,” Baker said during his monthly appearance on WGBH Radio.

Storms in January and March combined with high tides to inundate coastal communities with floodwaters, events that have put a spotlight on strategies to respond to climate change.

“The time on some of this stuff seems to be now,” Baker said.

The Senate in November passed a bill that would require key state agencies to develop a comprehensive adaptation action plan, the fifth time they’ve passed a version of that legislation.

“Public safety officials tell us that the flooding is the worst that they have seen,” Sen. Mark Pacheco, the bill’s sponsor, said Monday. “If there is ever a time to get climate readiness and climate adaptation into statute, it is now.”

The Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Coalition has called on House lawmakers to take up the bill, and House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano, who leads a special House working group created to respond to Trump-era federal policy, said Tuesday his group is “in discussions now with putting that bill on the agenda and getting it moving.”

On the radio Thursday, Baker did not stake out a position on the Senate bill when co-host Jim Braude mentioned it. He said the nature of the ocean and the state’s coastline presents a challenge when pursuing policies in this area.