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Massachusetts governor signs major climate bill into law

Massachusetts' governor signed into law Thursday a climate change bill meant to bring the state closer to its goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Credit: AP Photo/J. David Ake, File
FILE - In this July 27, 2018, file photo, the Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun in Glenrock, Wyo. A coalition of 22 Democratic-led states has sued the Trump administration over its decision to ease restrictions on coal-fired power plants. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, says the new rule violates the federal Clean Air Act because it does not meaningfully replace power plants' greenhouse gas emissions.

BOSTON — Massachusetts' governor signed into law Thursday a major climate change bill that's meant to bring the state closer to its goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The bill signed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker encourages the development of offshore wind and solar energy and gives some local authority to limiting the use of fossil fuels in building projects.

It would also increase to $3,500 the rebate for purchasing and leasing certain zero-emission passenger vehicles, offer an additional $1,000 to purchasers trading in a gas-powered vehicle and mandate that all new vehicle sales be zero emission starting in 2035.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's entire transit fleet must also transition to zero-emission by 2040.

The bill would additionally let farmland be used for solar panels so long as they don’t impede agricultural or horticultural uses.

It also allows 10 cities and towns to require all-electric, fossil fuel-free new construction, with the exception of life sciences labs and health care facilities.

The Union of Concerned Scientists was among the advocacy groups cheering the bill signing.

The Cambridge-based group said in a statement it will “spur more development of responsible clean energy” and help the state move away from fossil fuels.

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