BOSTON – Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) announced that the Senate passed legislation to establish a Comprehensive Adaptation Management Plan (CAMP) in response to climate change. The bill was approved with unanimous support by the legislative body.
“We have again taken action to help ensure the Commonwealth does its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Senator Moore. “Climate change is a very real challenge with harmful impacts including temperature changes, drought, inland flooding and elevated sea levels. It is my hope that this important initiative will make its way to the Governor’s desk this session.”
The CAMP would codify goals, priorities and principles for resiliency, preservation, protection, restoration and enhancement of the Commonwealth’s built and natural infrastructure. The plan would go into effect in 2018 with an update every five years.
The bill, originally filed by Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), would also establish an advisory commission charged with producing a report that documents the preparedness and vulnerabilities in the Commonwealth’s emergency response, energy, transportation, communications and other systems. The advisory group would also put forth a proposal that establishes and commits to sound management practices while compiling data on existing and projected sea-level rise using the best available science.
The legislation also establishes a regional, comprehensive grant program to aid in the development of regional climate change adaptation plans. The program consists of financial assistance to municipalities for the development and implementation of comprehensive cost-effective adaptation management plans; technical planning guidance for adaptive municipalities through climate vulnerability assessments and adaptation strategy development; and development of a definition of impacts by supporting municipalities conducting climate vulnerability assessments.
The bill also creates a coastal buy-back program authorizing the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to acquire, by voluntary purchase, property abutting areas subject to tides or barrier beaches or located in velocity zones of flood plain areas that contain structures repeatedly damaged by severe weather.
“The CAMP legislation will help ensure the Commonwealth’s resilience to the social, economic and environmental impacts of climate change,” said Steve Long, Director of Government Relations at the Natural Conservancy in Massachusetts. “We greatly appreciate the Senate’s leadership and look forward to collaborating with House.”
This action marks is the fifth time such a plan has been passed by the Senate: first in July 2014; then July 2015; followed by January 2016; and as part of the Energy Diversity bill in June 2016. The legislation now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. To continue tracking the bill, S.2196, please visit the Legislature’s website, www.malegislature.gov.