Thursday, June 20, 2019

Baker-Polito Administration Allocates $12 Million to Municipalities to Prepare for Climate Change Tarr Senate District Awarded

71 Percent of Massachusetts Communities Now Enrolled 
in Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program 

 BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration has awarded $12 million in grants to municipalities across the Commonwealth to plan for and implement climate change resilience projects through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program.

Of these funds, $1.7 million was awarded to 65 communities to pursue a community-led planning process to identify vulnerabilities to climate change and priority actions. The remaining $10.3 million was awarded to 34 communities that had completed the planning process and are ready to implement projects that build local resilience to climate change impacts.

“Massachusetts has been a national leader in addressing climate change, and these grants represent the Commonwealth’s largest funding commitment yet to improving community resilience to climate change impacts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Mitigating climate change and adapting to reduce risk and build resilience will foster stronger communities, protect residents and natural resources, and contribute to strong economic growth and innovation throughout the Commonwealth.”

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ MVP grant and designation program provides communities with technical support, climate change data and planning tools to identify hazards and develop strategies to improve resilience. This funding is part of the largest release of climate change resilience funding for Massachusetts communities in state history.

Through the MVP Program, municipalities identify key climate-related hazards, vulnerabilities and strengths, develop adaptation actions, and prioritize next steps. Results of the workshops and planning efforts inform existing local plans, grant applications, and policies. Communities are then eligible for competitive MVP Action Grant funding to implement priority on-the-ground projects. With this announcement, 71 percent of Commonwealth communities have received MVP Planning Grants, while 70 climate change resilience projects have received MVP Action Grants.

“The record participation in the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program underscores the real need for climate-smart solutions that promote strong local economies while reducing risks and avoiding future costs,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to supporting municipalities in getting this work off the ground through the ResilientMA legislation, which would provide a new and sustained funding source for climate resilience projects.”

“Adapting to climate change in a proactive way is important, but it’s a relatively new spending priority for cities and towns,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R- Gloucester). “These grants will make a big difference in helping them to innovate, lead, and develop the momentum to take effective actions that build resilience and sustainability for today and tomorrow.”

“The Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program represents a proactive approach to helping communities across Massachusetts address the unique challenges posed by climate change,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). “With this grant funding, more cities and towns will be able to develop and implement resiliency plans to protect both residents and infrastructure from the impacts of climate change.”

Governor Baker filed the Resilient MA legislation to support municipalities and help protect Massachusetts residents, communities, economy, natural resources and infrastructure from the adverse effects of climate change, through an increase in the excise on real estate transfers to fund a substantial and sustained investment in climate change adaptation through programs like MVP. The revenue would be directed towards investments in resilient infrastructure to help make communities safer, keep vital services online, reduce the long-term costs of climate-related risks and protect the value of property across the Commonwealth. The proposal is estimated to generate $1.3 billion over 10 years which would be deposited into the Commonwealth’s Global Warming Solutions Trust Fund to support municipalities and regional municipal partnerships through loans, grants and technical assistance to implement priority adaptation projects.