BOSTON, 14 January 2014 (Associated Press) – Gov. Deval Patrick took the wraps off a $50 million plan Tuesday that he says will help prepare Massachusetts for the challenges posed by climate change on public health, energy, transportation and basic infrastructure.
The initiatives, unveiled by the governor at the New England Aquarium, include a $40 million grant program by the Department of Energy Resources to help cities and towns to shore up protections around energy services.
Another $10 million will be spent on what Patrick called critical coastal infrastructure and dam repair. That includes $1 million in municipal grants to reduce or eliminate risk associated with coastal storms and sea level rise and another $1 million for "green infrastructure" projects like beach and dune enhancement and salt marsh retention.
"The question is not whether we need to act. We're past that," Patrick said. "The world's climate is changing and human activity is contributing to that change. Massachusetts needs to be ready."
Patrick said the proposal also requires the Department of Public Utilities to work with utilities to determine ways "to accelerate storm hardening and deploy micro-grids and resiliency projects" to assure the transmission and distribution of energy.
State Energy Secretary Rick Sullivan said recent storms and power outages "serve as a reminder that it is critical we secure our energy grid to endure more extreme weather patterns." […]
The plan also calls for the appointment of a state climatologist and a single online "portal" for state resources on climate preparedness. [more]