Bill Seeks To Help Mass. Prep For Climate Change

A bill filed on Beacon Hill on Tuesday would create a "coastal buyback program" allowing the state to purchase land that is repeatedly threatened by damaging tides or is located in flood plain areas.

The program is part of a larger bill designed to help Massachusetts better prepare for the long-term effects of climate change.

The bill, sponsored by Taunton state Sen. Marc Pacheco, seeks to codify into law the state's goals for preserving and protecting its natural environment and man-made infrastructure as temperatures change, sea levels rise and drought and inland flooding occur.

One part of the bill would let the state purchase from willing sellers land with buildings that have been repeatedly damaged by storms or tides.

The land in areas at risk of flooding would be used for conservation or recreation.

The legislation also aims to provide cities and towns, and regional planning agencies, with tools to take a detailed look at their vulnerability to climate change. The bill would create a grant program to help municipalities address those vulnerabilities.

The bill also calls for a report looking at any gaps in the state's emergency response, transportation, communications and health systems that could prove vulnerable to climate change.

Earlier this month, Gov. Deval Patrick unveiled a $50 million plan that he said would help prepare Massachusetts for the challenges posed by climate change on public health, energy, transportation and basic infrastructure.

The initiatives include a $40 million grant program by the Department of Energy Resources to help cities and towns to shore up protections around energy services.


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