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Mass. House Approves Major Climate Action Bill

The Massachusetts State House. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The Massachusetts State House. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The Mass. State House on Friday night approved a climate change bill that addresses a 2050 emissions reduction roadmap, solar energy net metering, grid modernization and workforce development, setting up likely talks with the Senate on a compromise bill.

The 142-17 vote to pass the bill came just before 9:30 p.m. and following deliberations on amendments over two days.

With final agreements on the climate bill and other key bills still far off, the House and Senate this week suspended their rule requiring formal sessions to end July 31, and agreed to continue with major legislating throughout 2020.

The House agreed to East Boston Rep. Adrian Madaro's proposal that would mandate environmental impact reports for any project that is likely to cause damage to the environment and is located within one mile of an environmental justice population.

A neighborhood must meet at least one of five requirements to be considered an environmental justice population, such as having an annual median household income less than 65% of the state average, 25% or more households lack English language proficiency, or minorities comprise 25% or more of the population.

Madaro cited pollution impacts from Logan International Airport on residents in his district. Child asthma rates are high, he said, and the area was hit hard by COVID-19 as a result of health problems associated with unclean air.

The House also backed an amendment requiring the executive branch and utility companies to procure more offshore wind power and boost the state's total authorization to 3,600 megawatts.

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