Boston Mayoral Candidates Face Off On Environment In Forum

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — At a forum focused on the environment, Boston Mayoral candidates talked about how they would tackle climate change if they were elected.

The forum was hosted by the Boston Globe and the Environmental League of Massachusetts.

In attendance were former Boston Chief of Economic Development John Barros, City Councilor Andrea Campbell, City Councilor-at-Large Anissa Essaibi George, Acting Mayor Kim Janey, State Rep. Jon Santiago, and City Councilor-At-Large Michelle Wu.

One topic: how the city should be built in the future. The Seaport District, and other easily-flooded areas in the city came up several times.

City Councilor Michelle Wu said the Seaport was "one of the starkest examples of what's wrong with our development system," saying Boston has fallen short in the Seaport in terms of equity, affordability and environmental planning.

Acting Mayor Kim Janey said many things went wrong with the Seaport, but that it wasn't helpful to point fingers in retrospect, stressing that Boston needs more green space on the water.

City Councilor Andrea Campbell said the city needs to take accountability for its failures in planning to prevent the flooding, and said it was "ridiculous" that private organizations like the New England Aquarium needed to come up with their own climate resiliency plan, instead of the city itself.

State Rep. John Santiago said any new development in Boston needed to take climate change into account, and also pushed to expand waterfront green space.

City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George said the city's coastline construction is too impermeable, making coastal flooding a problem in the city's waterfront neighborhoods.

Former Economic Development Chief John Barros said now is the time for Boston to actually implement the climate resiliency plans that the city has already drawn up.

A lighting round also pushed candidates to answer questions about hot-button environmental and planning issues in the city. All of the candidates said they would support a city-wide composting program, and making the T free for the city's poorest residents. Only Councilor Wu said she would not support rebuilding the bridge to Long Island, because there were "better things to do with that funding" in the short term.

WBZ's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports:

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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