July 22, 2020
Dear Chair Golden,
During the COVID-19 Commonwealth’s State of Emergency, the House of Representatives has maintained the integrity of our Committee processes and I wish to acknowledge your leadership, the steadfast work of the staff and the commitment of the Committee members to the goals expressed by the Speaker to continue Massachusetts’ leadership on issues related to energy, the environment and climate resiliency.
I support H.3983, An Act to Create a 2050 Roadmap to A Clean and Thriving Commonwealth because this bill requires Massachusetts to develop a plan to address climate change and to reach a carbon-neutral Commonwealth by 2050. While developing this plan, the Administration of our Commonwealth will engage across all sectors to ensure a people-centered, thoughtful, and effective plan is developed.
In so many ways, because of your leadership, Massachusetts is the most energy-efficient state in the nation. We have made significant commitments to and investments in clean energy, including passing the Greenworks legislation, funding climate initiatives, creating green jobs, and implementing renewable energy sources across the Commonwealth. As we continue to lead on these issues, we must also prepare for the future needs of our environment and our communities while addressing climate change. We need to plan for how we will use our existing foundation to meet climate goals that will have a meaningful impact on our environment and bring us to net-zero emissions.
Additionally, the work on energy and our environment and our plan can and should be equitable in the environmental justice impact. The current COVID-19 public health crisis has illuminated and amplified that some communities with the highest case counts and infection rates are areas where, for a variety of reasons, including the environmental factors, health disparities exist. Those environmental factors have a direct impact on health making people vulnerable to this deadly virus.
For this reason, among others, I am also committed to legislation that promotes environmental justice. H.4264, An Act Relative to Environmental Justice in the Commonwealth, will assist Massachusetts to achieve healthier communities throughout our whole Commonwealth. This bill would provide a
clear definition of what an environmental justice population is and would allow the Commonwealth to make meaningful decisions based on this definition. This will aid Massachusetts as we plan for the future and consider projects that may have an impact on these communities.
Thank you for your continued leadership on these important issues of energy, environment and public health. If there is any way that I may be helpful in these legislative efforts and/or you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Stay well – Stay strong!
Denise C. Garlick
Thirteenth Norfolk District
Vice Chair, Committee Ways and Means