On March 26, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed the Next Generation Climate Roadmap into law, marking a milestone not only in the fight against climate change, but also for environmental justice (EJ) communities across the state. This legislation serves two main purposes: to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and to define EJ communities, thereby allowing future bills to explicitly protect them. This is huge!

To demonstrate the capabilities of this new legislation, in our very own Green Future Act, we are now able to increase the number of representatives from EJ communities on critical committees. Committees play a vital role in deciding the specifics of local, green projects. We are now able to require that certain percentages of committees are made up of members directly from those communities. This will help empower EJ individuals to stop inequitable projects in favor of starting projects that they genuinely need.

This bill was not easy to pass. Gov. Baker sent it back to the legislature not once, but twice, before he decided to sign. Even with bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, the legislation still faced executive pushback. Thanks to some inspiring and hard-working EJ organizations like GreenRoots and Reep ACE (the student team for Boston’s Alternatives for Community & Environment), which have been advocating for increased EJ definitions and protections in MA legislation for years, this bill finally passed. We at Our Climate are so proud to have been able to work with such amazing organizations, and hope to continue promoting equitable climate policy in the years to come.

Read more about this exciting bill (including more about its impact on GHG emissions) in this article by the Guardian!

Ian Galinson is a Massachusetts program intern currently at Boston University.
Published On: April 12th, 2021 / Categories: Blog /