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New Mass. climate and energy law allows local bans on fossil fuel-powered appliances

New Mass. climate and energy law allows local bans on fossil fuel-powered appliances

Controversial measure survives in far-reaching bill aimed at net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | August 23, 2022
Sustainability laws
Courtesy Pexels.

A sweeping Massachusetts climate and energy bill recently signed into law by Republican governor Charlie Baker allows local bans on fossil fuel-powered appliances.

The controversial measure survived debate in the state legislature. It makes it legal for 10 municipalities to ban fossil fuel-powered appliances in new buildings. A requirement that cities meet affordable housing quotas before they can ban fossil fuel infrastructure in new buildings, helped sway the governor who was wary of allowing bans of fossil fuel appliances. Another provision precludes life sciences labs and health care facilities from being affected by the bans, making the law more palatable to some lawmakers.

The law also requires electric utilities to buy 5,600 megawatts of new offshore wind capacity by 2027, up from a former goal of 4,000 megawatts. It also removes a controversial price cap that required every new wind project to offer cheaper electricity than the previous one.

Other parts of the bill aim to shore up the electric grid, decarbonize the Boston-area transit system by 2040, and require all new cars sold in the state to be zero-emissions by 2035.

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