The Green Communities Act

Signed into law July 2, 2008 by Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick. The bill focuses on energy, promoting efficiency and renewables. Utilities will be required to purchase efficiency improvements that cost less than it does to generate equivalent power. And they will also be required to hit 25% renewable by 2025. No specific greenhouse gas emissions reductions are mandated, but the bill does give approval for the State to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (akin to the Western Climate Initiative).

The State of Washington’s House Bill 2815 has some similarities to the Green Communities Act, but is much more explicit regarding greenhouse gas emissions. In the Boston area most of the electricity is generated by fossil fuels, so focusing on energy produced by utilities simultaneously addresses the region’s chief greenhouse gas emissions source.

Seattle has a national reputation for being green — I’ve heard it first hand from several people from the Boston area. I tell them it’s true that Seattle is making good progress on many fronts, but also that there is some hype. There are many other jurisdictions in the U.S. that are breaking new ground with green legislation such as the Green Communities Act. For example, Boston, Washington D.C, and Los Angeles have all recently passed legislation requiring new private development to meet LEED standards.