Governor Baker Releases Funds for Storm Damage Mitigation

Funds improvements to sea walls, dams other mitigation projects

From the office of Senator Vinny deMacedo:

SCITUATE — Governor Baker filed legislation last week to authorize over $1.4 billion in capital allocations for investments in safeguarding residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, protecting environmental resources, and investing in communities. An Act Promoting Climate Change Adaptation, Environmental and Natural Resource Protection and Investment in Recreational Assets and Opportunity will enable critical investments at the state and local level and build upon Executive Order 569 to build a more resilient Commonwealth.

“To build a sustainable and resilient Commonwealth, we must make strategic investments in climate resiliency and environmental protection across the state and shorelines,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This winter, we’ve been reminded of how critical environmental assets like seawalls and dams are to our communities and how important these proposals will be for safeguarding municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change.”

Recognizing the significant impact of climate change on coastal and inland communities, the legislation authorizes $300 million to respond to and prepare for extreme weather, sea level rise, inland flooding and other climate impacts:

  • $170 million will be used to fund improvements and repairs to dams and seawalls and to implement diverse coastal resiliency strategies
  • $50 million will provide planning and action grants to communities through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program
  • $60 million will be invested in implementing the Commonwealth’s Integrated State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaption Plan.

“Municipalities across Massachusetts are facing the ongoing challenges of climate change as they work to ensure the safety of residents and the health of critical environmental resources,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our proposal seeks to build upon our administration’s climate adaptation leadership and provide communities with the tools they need to build up resiliency efforts through new grants and programs aimed at protecting critical environmental resources.”

Further expanding the Baker-Polito Administration’s Executive Order 569, the proposed legislation codifies the commitments under the Executive Order, including issuance of, and ongoing updates to, an integrated, state-wide hazard mitigation and adaptation plan, continuation of the MVP program, and support for ongoing state agency climate change vulnerability assessments. The legislation also requires that all relevant programs authorized through this bond are consistent with the integrated plan to ensure that the Commonwealth is making resilient and strategic investments across energy and environmental programs.

“The Baker-Polito Administration remains committed to a holistic and collaborative approach to climate change, environmental stewardship, and community investments,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “Through the targeted allocation of resources, the Commonwealth will continue its nation-leading climate change efforts while addressing deferred maintenance and recreational opportunities to better safeguard Massachusetts’ critical infrastructure and environmental assets.”

The legislation allocates $297 million to continue supporting communities around the Commonwealth and the environmental stewardship work they do, including:

  • $125 million for community investment grant programs for municipalities, regional planning agencies and other eligible entities
  • $25 million for tree planting and forest land protection programs.  In addition to the grant programs administered by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)
  • $50 million for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Complete Streets Program which provides funding to communities to provide safe and accessible options for all travel modes - walking, biking, transit and vehicles.

 

“This legislation further demonstrates the Baker-Polito Administration’s continued commitment to partnering with local communities,” said Senator Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth). “The funding proposed here and the opportunity to work with state agencies to will allow our local communities to respond more effectively as we deal with the devastation caused by storms like those we experienced this winter.”

The legislation also includes over $270 million to support environmental programs at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and other agencies ranging from air and water quality monitoring to hazardous waste cleanup and the restoration of rivers, wetlands, streams, and lakes. This includes an additional $60 million for the Commonwealth’s Clean Water Trust to continue its strong partnership with cities and towns in developing water infrastructure projects. To protect the Commonwealth’s maritime industry, the bill includes a proposal to allow the Department of Fish and Game to update decades-old fines and penalty schedules for marine fisheries violations, including doubling non-criminal fines and increasing criminal penalties.

“This proactive legislation from Governor Baker will ensure that the Commonwealth remains committed to leading the nation in addressing the effects of climate change and maintaining the integrity of critical infrastructure and environmental assets,” said Representative David Vieira (R-Falmouth).

 “The devastating storms our region faced are not aberrations, they are the new normal and will only get worse as sea levels rise and climate change intensifies. We support the Governor's efforts to advance a comprehensive plan to mitigate the effects of climate change and promote coastal resiliency,” Representative Dylan Fernandes (D-Falmouth) said.

 “The citizens of the Commonwealth have been subjected to three nor’easters in the last few weeks.  The devastating effects of these storms are evident in my district and other areas of the state.  This funding will allow our municipal leaders to mitigate disaster by implementing resiliency strategies and anticipating the effects of climate change.”  


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