Charlie Baker Plans To Sign Climate and Emissions Bill

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Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker says he will sign a climate bill despite vetoing a previous version of it earlier in the year.

Baker was asked Thursday if he would sign the bill (S.9). He said, “Yes,” according to State House News Service, and his press office also confirmed that he would. Baker will likely sign the bill into law by Sunday, March 28.

The bill seeks to create a pathway for net-zero carbon emissions in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by 2050 by setting targets for emission reduction and creating new energy efficiency standards for appliances. Another aspect of it is “addressing the needs of environmental justice communities,” according to State House News Service.

Baker rejected the original version of the bill back in January — which was still part of the 2019-2020 legislative session — saying that it could limit housing production and that it didn’t do enough to help towns adapt to the changes made by the policy.

Lawmakers earlier this year passed another version of the bill with some of the changes that Baker wanted, although they did not give him the lower emission reduction milestone for 2030 that he wanted.

The state’s secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Kathleen Theoharides, has reportedly expressed support for the bill, as have business groups such as the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.

Critics argue that the measures are too extreme and would be bad for the local economy. The Beacon Hill Institute, a right-of-center economics think tank, calculates that to achieve net zero emissions from gasoline in the state right away, it would require a gas tax of $14.10 per gallon.