Governor Vetoes Climate Bill; Mass Audubon Urges Action
Michael P. O'Connor
We are disappointed to see An Act creating a next-generation roadmap for Massachusetts climate policy fail to become law given the significant climate benefits of this necessary legislation. Despite its successful passage by the Massachusetts legislature at the end of the session, Governor Charlie Baker chose to veto it.
This innovative bill included groundbreaking natural climate solutions, which harness the power of nature including our forests, wetlands, and healthy soils, to store carbon. This not only addresses our climate crisis, but also helps us clean our water and air, and provide critical habitat for declining populations of birds and other wildlife. The legislation also would have established targets to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and ensure the prioritization of Environmental Justice communities that have historically suffered from environmental degradation and public health impacts.
We applaud the legislature for their work, particularly members of the conference committee who reconciled the House and Senate versions of the bill.
"While we have been pleased with the leadership Governor Baker has demonstrated on climate change, we are disappointed that he chose to pocket veto this critically important legislation. We know that we need bold action steps in place to reach our carbon reduction goals,” states David J. O’Neill, President of Mass Audubon. “We will continue to support and press for ambitious policies this legislative session to address our climate crisis.”
Mass Audubon, with its 135,000 members and 104 sanctuaries statewide, will continue to advocate for and support the ambitious climate legislation in 2021. This includes working with the Legislature and the Administration on future plans that accelerate the pace of climate action and support climate-vulnerable communities that disproportionately suffer from associated public health effects. The next-generation roadmap legislation is also expected to be refiled and will remain a top policy priority as we enter the 2021 legislative session.
We are dedicated to urgent and bold climate action and remain committed to driving equitable and effective nature-based climate solutions across the Commonwealth.
Mass Audubon protects more than 38,000 acres of land throughout Massachusetts, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all. As Massachusetts' largest nature conservation nonprofit, we welcome more than a half million visitors a year to our wildlife sanctuaries and 20 nature centers. From inspiring hilltop views to breathtaking coastal landscapes, serene woods, and working farms, we believe in protecting our state's natural treasures for wildlife and for all people's vision shared in 1896 by our founders, two extraordinary Boston women.
Today, Mass Audubon is a nationally recognized environmental education leader, offering thousands of camp, school, and adult programs that get over 225,000 kids and adults outdoors every year. With more than 135,000 members and supporters, we advocate on Beacon Hill and beyond, and conduct conservation research to preserve the natural heritage of our beautiful state for today's and future generations. We welcome you to explore a nearby sanctuary, find inspiration, and get involved. Learn how at www.massaudubon.org.