Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulation in Massachusetts

In April 2008 the City of Seattle began requiring new development projects that trigger SEPA to perform a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory, and in May 2008 King County released a draft climate change ordinance that proposes requiring projects to reduce GHG emissions to 15% below “business as usual.”

But Massachusetts was there first, and on the statewide level. Back in October 2007 the State adopted GHG policy requiring projects that trigger MEPA (the Massachusetts SEPA equivalent) to perform emissions analysis, propose mitigation alternatives, and justify which mitigation alternatives are being rejected, though exact reduction targets are not specified.

Just recently the Massachusetts State Senate passed the Global Warming Solutions Act, and the bill is awaiting the decision of the Speaker of the House to send it to the floor for a vote in the House of Representatives. If passed, the bill will mandate the reduction of GHG emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020, and 80% by 2050. This is within the range of reduction level that most global warming experts believe is necessary. In contrast, the State of Washington’s House Bill 2815 only calls for 50% reductions by 2050.

Methinks Massachusetts is showing signs of living up to its 18th century revolutionary reputation.