Governor Charlie Baker signed a major climate bill into law on Thursday that will accelerate the clean energy transition in the state by boosting offshore wind and solar, and — in a first for Massachusetts — allowing some cities and towns to ban the use of fossil fuels in new buildings and major renovations.
Baker’s approval comes after weeks of speculation that he might veto the bill, and just days after he said he particularly disapproved of the fossil fuel ban because of his concern it could make it harder to construct affordable housing.
Ultimately, though, he said the bill’s changes to the offshore wind procurement process and its advances in clean energy were important enough to secure his signature.
“I continue to want us to be a pretty big player in that space because it’s a sustainable way to create a lot of jobs, for a very long time,” Baker said in an interview with the Globe.
As the state recovers from two record-breaking heat waves, Senator Michael Barrett, a Democrat from Lexington and one of the bill’s architects, noted that the passage of the state legislation — along with the expected passage of the federal Inflation Reduction Act, with its $369 billion in energy and climate financing — should give people hope. “There’s plenty more to do, but nothing motivates like success,” he said.
[Sabrina Shankman and Dharna Noor]