JULY 31, 2022…..The House and Senate have agreed on a response to Gov. Charlie Baker’s sweeping amendments to the Legislature’s major offshore wind and climate policy bill, and the branches plan to send their latest version back to the governor Sunday.
Sen. Michael Barrett, who co-chairs the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy with Rep. Jeff Roy, said just before noon that he and Roy had agreed on a way to respond to the governor’s concerns. He said the House would take the matter up first.
Baker and his administration said they support goals in the bill (H 5060), which seeks to reshape the way the state connects to offshore wind power, accelerate a transition to renewable energy sources and help Massachusetts achieve its target of net-zero emissions by 2050, but are concerned about the feasibility of some sections and want to use one-time federal dollars to turbocharge the effort.
The governor’s amendment sought to put $750 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars toward clean energy uses, and he pursued several additional changes including elimination of the offshore wind price cap that lawmakers instead sought to tweak but keep in place.
In an interview outlining the governor’s amendment Friday, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card told the News Service that the bill lawmakers approved features several sections “we believe would be challenging to implement and not the most efficient way to help us achieve our emission-reduction goals.”
Barrett did not immediately provide any details of the accord he and Roy reached. The Legislature’s impending vote on a response represents an attempt at an eleventh-hour accord on the final day for formal lawmaking business in the 2021-2022 session.
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