Boston Seeking To Ban Fossil Fuels In New Buildings

Photo: Aldrich, Beatrice (uploader)

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Mayor Michelle Wu announced Tuesday that she intends to file legislation to give Boston permission to ban fossil fuels from newly constructed buildings and major renovations.

Such a ban would be a large step in reducing climate-harming emissions as part of Mayor Wu's Green New Deal for Boston.

"These emissions not only expedite climate change, they impact the air quality, the efficiency of our buildings, the health of our residents in their offices, schools, and homes. Our community members deserve to work, learn, and live in spaces that are healthy, energy efficient, that save them money," Wu said at a press conference Tuesday.

The announcement comes days after Gov. Charlie Baker signed a new climate bill into law meant to bring the state closer to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It includes a pilot program administered by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources that would allow 10 cities and towns in Massachusetts to develop local ordinances that restrict or prohibit new building construction or major renovation projects that use fossil fuels.

Mayor Wu said she will file a home rule petition to let Boston participate in the pilot.

"We need a policy that will provide cleaner air, lower energy costs, less carbon emissions, a better quality of life, and so much more in terms of the possibility and potential for our residents. Together we can continue making Boston a Green New Deal city and transition to a green economy," said Wu.

The bill signed by Baker gives priority to the first 10 communities to secure local approval and file home rule petitions for the pilot. The Boston Globe reports 10 municipalities have already gotten approval and filed: Acton, Aquinnah, Arlington, Brookline, Cambridge, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Newton, and West Tisbury. The climate bill also requires those communities to meet an affordable housing requirement. They will have 18 months to meet the requirement, and if they don't, they lose their spot. After that, the Department of Energy Resources will choose which municipalities get spots in the pilot, regardless of when they applied.

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