Putting Massachusetts Climate Laws Into Action

Here’s how and why CLF is pushing the Healey administration to reach net zero by 2050

An angled view of the French Kiung Bridge, Erving, Massachusetts. The bridge reflects into the body of water below, surrounded by trees that are changing colors for the fall.

Stay tuned for opportunities to use your voice and push the Healey administration to avoid delaying climate action. Photo: EcoPhotography.

In May, CLF asked the Healey administration to take concrete steps to slash climate-warming emissions in Massachusetts. We received so many questions about how and what we did that we decided to host a virtual webinar, “Climate Action in Massachusetts.” More than 100 activists and CLF supporters attended. If you care about climate change but didn’t get to attend the event, we have you covered. Here are the top four questions we heard during the webinar – and our answers to them. 

1. How is CLF Pushing for Climate Action? 

We’ve made progress on climate change in Massachusetts already. With your help, we’ve passed strong laws that mandate deep cuts in carbon pollution. But while the Baker administration signed these laws, it fell behind when executing them. Now, with the new Healey administration’s commitment to cutting climate-warming emissions, Massachusetts can put actions behind its words. 

To meet this opportunity, CLF provided the Healey administration with solutions it can enact to slash the state’s climate-warming emissions. We did this by filing petitions, a legal document that asks a state agency to start the process of passing new standards or policies. Our recommendations looked at a wide range of sectors, from transportation to waste management systems, all to ensure the Commonwealth can reach net zero emissions by 2050. 

We filed our petitions with six state agencies: the Departments of Environmental Protection, Transportation, Public Utilities, and Energy Resources; the Energy Facilities Siting Board and the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs. Some of the agency actions we asked for include: 

  • Phasing out the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035 
  • Phasing out the sale of fossil fuel-fired boilers by 2027 and natural gas-fired furnaces by 2030 
  • Making electric heat pumps, energy efficiency programs, and weatherization programs affordable and accessible for everyone – including low-income families and renters 
  • Reducing the demand for electricity during peak usage hours since the extra energy we need usually comes from our dirtiest power plants 
  • Banning new high-heat waste incineration facilities and phasing out currently operating facilities by 2030 

2. Why did CLF Only Choose Six Agencies? 

The six state agencies we petitioned can have the greatest impact in cutting emissions. They have the potential and authority to act urgently in the most critical areas, including transportation, energy, and waste management. 

3. When Will the Agencies Respond to CLF’s Petitions? 

 We filed our recommended climate solutions before all six agencies almost three months ago but have yet to receive a response from any agency. On July 26th, we sent a letter to the Department of Environmental Protection (the only agency required to formally respond) asking when it will take action on our petition. We don’t know whether the Department, any of the other five agencies, or the Healey administration will move forward with our requests. But we won’t let those agencies ignore our petitions since that means ignoring the climate action Massachusetts families and businesses are calling for. If the Healey administration decides to continue to sit on the sidelines, CLF will have to take its own action to push these solutions forward. 

4. How Can I Get Involved? 

These petitions are just one way we are urging the Healey administration to get the ball rolling on climate action. We will need your help convincing the administration, and these six agencies, that they need to act now. Climate action is about protecting the health and safety of the people we love – and delay is deadly. 

We’ll need the power of your voice to make the case that we can’t wait any longer. Make sure to sign up for CLF’s e-news so you can be the first to know when it’s time to act. 

Before you go... CLF is working every day to create real, systemic change for New England’s environment. And we can’t solve these big problems without people like you. Will you be a part of this movement by considering a contribution today? If everyone reading our blog gave just $10, we’d have enough money to fund our legal teams for the next year.