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SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1997        FILED ON: 1/28/2014

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2028


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Marc R. Pacheco


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act providing for the establishment of a comprehensive adaptation management plan in response to climate change.






Marc R. Pacheco

First Plymouth and Bristol

Frank I. Smizik

15th Norfolk

Stanley C. Rosenberg

Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester

Michael Barrett

Third Middlesex

William N. Brownsberger

Second Suffolk and Middlesex

Benjamin B. Downing

Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden

James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester

Brian A. Joyce

Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth

Daniel A. Wolf

Cape and Islands

Kenneth J. Donnelly

Fourth Middlesex

Lori A. Ehrlich

8th Essex

Stephen Kulik

1st Franklin

Denise Provost

27th Middlesex

Robert M. Koczera

11th Bristol

Jason M. Lewis

Fifth Middlesex

SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1997        FILED ON: 1/28/2014

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2028

By Mr. Pacheco, a petition (subject to Joint Rule 12) of Marc R. Pacheco, Frank I. Smizik, Stanley C. Rosenberg, Michael Barrett and other members of the General Court for legislation to provide for the establishment of a comprehensive adaptation management plan in response to climate change.  Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Fourteen



An Act providing for the establishment of a comprehensive adaptation management plan in response to climate change.


              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

              SECTION 1. The General Laws are hereby amended by inserting after chapter 21O the following chapter:-

              Chapter 21P.


              Section 1. As used in this chapter the following words shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly requires otherwise:-

              “Adaptation”, a response to climate change that seeks to increase the resiliency and reduce the vulnerability of Massachusetts’ built and natural environments and reduces the disaster risks that vulnerable human populations and resources will encounter due to such change.

              “Executive office”, the executive office of energy and environmental affairs.

              “Hazard mitigation”, an effort using nonstructural measures to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impacts of major storms.

              “Plan”, the comprehensive adaptation management plan.

              “Resilience”, the ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions.

              “Risk assessment”, evaluating and prioritizing known risks and their effects.

              “Risk management”, making a decision and setting policy based on the knowledge acquired through risk assessment.

              “Sustainability”, the establishment and maintenance of conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony and fulfill the social, economic and other requirements  of present and future generations, including providing for the long-term viability of the people and economy of the commonwealth and its natural ecosystems, which requires consideration of the risks posed by climate change, the practicality of maintaining a long-term presence in the most vulnerable areas and the need to protect and restore natural ecosystems and their services.

              “Vulnerable population”, a group of people especially at risk to impacts of major storms due to their location or because they are overburdened and lack resources or have less access to services.

              Section 2.  (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the secretary of energy and environmental affairs and the secretary of public safety and security shall develop, draft and adopt a comprehensive adaptation management action plan. The plan shall be developed under the guidance of an interagency advisory committee and supported by technical subcommittees and staff as necessary.    This plan shall include the following: the preliminary and final reports submitted by the advisory committee and vulnerability assessments prepared pursuant to this section Upon the adoption of the comprehensive adaptation management plan, all commonwealth certificates, licenses, permits, authorizations, grants, financial obligations, projects, plans, actions, and approvals for any proposed projects, uses, or activities in and by the commonwealth shall be consistent, to the maximum extent practicable, with the adopted plan. The plan shall be completed no later than two years after the effective date of this act and shall be updated every two years.  The plan, and all updates, shall be filed with clerks of the house of representative and senate.

              (b) The plan shall include, but not be limited to:  (i) a statement setting forth the commonwealth’s goals, priorities and principles for ensuring effective prioritization for the resiliency, preservation, protection, restoration and enhancement of the commonwealth’s built and natural infrastructure; (ii) a commitment to the adherence of sound management practices which shall take into account the existing natural, built and economic characteristics of the commonwealth’s most vulnerable areas and human populations; (iii) data on existing and projected impacts including, but not limited to, drought and temperature changes, inland flooding and sea level rise according to the best and latest data, forecasting and models;  and (iv) a statement on the preparedness and vulnerabilities in the commonwealth’s emergency response and infrastructure resiliency including, but not limited to, energy, transportation, communications, health and other systems.

              (c) The plan shall demonstrate how the commonwealth shall:  (i) adapt to climate change in a manner that minimizes harm to the built and natural environments; (ii) adhere to sound management practices, taking into account the existing natural, social, cultural, historic and economic characteristics of the planning areas; (iii) promote sustainable, smart development patterns that avoid and minimize new development in vulnerable locations and maximize the preservation of resilient forests, wetlands and riverine and coastal flood plains; (iv) integrate scientific monitoring into short-term and long-term plans and adapt to evolving knowledge and understanding of climate change science; (v) conserve habitat to support healthy fish, wildlife and plant populations and freshwater, forest and coastal ecosystem functions in a changing climate; (vi) manage species and habitats to protect ecosystem functions and provide sustainable cultural, subsistence, recreational and commercial use in a changing climate; (vii) conserve, protect and restore the most resilient natural areas in all ecosystems, including forests, freshwater and coastal systems; (viii) identify and capitalize on cross-cutting goals of adaptation planning and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, including the co-benefits of protecting forests species preservation and carbon absorption; (ix) protect, strengthen and harden, where appropriate, critical infrastructure from the impacts of climate change; (x) reduce the vulnerability of the built environment to inland flooding and sea level rise; (xi) ensure that new, modified and existing construction is resilient and geodesign-based; (xii) ensure the availability of adequate equipment, fuel, food, water and other emergency supplies; (xiii) ensure that first responders and other critical personnel are able to communicate efficiently and have access to adequate resources; (xiv) ensure the availability of reliable real-time information for decision-makers; (xv) reduce the costs associated with disaster response and recovery; (xvi) minimize economic losses attributable to the impacts of climate change; (xvii) coordinate uses that include international, federal, state regional and local jurisdictions; (xviii) support the infrastructure necessary to sustain the economy and quality of life for the residents of the commonwealth; and (xvix) encourage public participation in decision making.

              (d) The plan shall also demonstrate how the commonwealth shall: (i) increase alternative local renewable power sources that reduce dependence on centralized power plants and avoid outages, employing the use of appropriately-sited alternative local power, including distributed generation of electricity, using renewable sources, natural gas, and energy storage, consistent with chapter 169 of the acts of 2008; (ii) improve resiliency by protecting and restoring natural green infrastructure such as coastal and inland buffers, river corridors, flood plains and aquifers;

              (iii) reduce the vulnerability of new development by incentivizing development in low-risk locations away from coastal and inland flood plains and discouraging new development in high-risk locations, especially on barrier beaches as designated by the office of coastal zone management; (iv) improve resiliency of structures through an update of the state building code to promote smarter, resilient building performance, as well as increased survivability;

              incorporate into all coastal planning data and plans of the office of coastal zone management  designed to help coastal communities address the challenges arising from storms, floods and sea level rise resulting from climate change and provide a menu of tools for successful coastal flood plain management; provided, however, that the program shall identify current and future hazard areas, assess risks, improve regional, local and public understanding of hazards and promote sound planning, policy and adaptation measures to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience along the coast; (v) strengthen harbors so they can better withstand future major storms through conservation or restoration of natural systems, plus the building or construction of barriers systems where needed; (vi) strengthen the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority system to better withstand major storms by flood-proofing commuter rail, subways and bus depots with vertical roll-down doors, vent closures, inflatable bladders, upsized fixed pumps and other appropriate technologies, including providing backup power sources; (vii) strengthen fuel delivery systems to better withstand future major storms by building in redundancies into the fuel system and providing generators and pumping systems that shall be readily deployable; provided, however, that gas stations in strategic locations shall be required to have onsite backup power capacity to protect residents from temporary disruptions in fuel supply; (viii) strengthen utilities that can better withstand major storms whereby the department of public utilities shall require utilities to submit detailed implementation plans to harden their facilities, including raising substation walls and elevating transformer installations;

              (ix) redesign, as necessary, the commonwealth’s power system so that the electrical power grid and the structures that control can better withstand future major storms to ensure effective performance and ratepayer protection; (x) strengthen wastewater infrastructure that can better withstand major storms, flooding and storm surges so that existing wastewater treatment plants are repaired and mitigated to withstand higher flood levels; (xi) prepare for storm disasters through collaboration and coordination among regional, local, state and federal authorities, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector and an array of skilled first responders and a network of civilians ready to help residents during an emergency; (xii) establish uniform training and protocols for all emergency personnel; (xiii) build on the vital role that the Massachusetts National Guard plays in emergency response by providing additional specialized training in key emergency response areas like power restoration, search and rescue, heavy equipment operation, crowd management and public safety where the guard’s scale, skills and equipment can have a unique and powerful impact on restoring power faster, saving lives and other critical areas; (xiv) in conjunction with the American Red Cross, establish a statewide volunteer network to mobilize and organize volunteers based on their skills, interests and resources; (xv) ensure that the necessary skills and expertise are available and can be mobilized to effectively support rapid restoration of essential services and infrastructure, through a civilian emergency response corps made up of technical and trades personnel, including electricians, pipefitters, line workers, landscapers, public works personnel, civil engineers and debris removal tradespeople, who can be trained, certified, credentialed and deployed to perform disaster response and recovery-related tasks as part of a well-coordinated public-private-sector partnership; (xvi) appoint a Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency-coordinated emergency response task force composed of chief logistics officers from key industry sectors to establish a plan in advance of a major storm for the distribution of food, water and other supplies and to execute the plan in a declared emergency; (xvii) establish a citizen education campaign focused on preparing all residents as in-house first responders; (xviii) expand the vulnerable population database to ensure that first responders, outreach workers and healthcare and human services personnel can find and serve those who may need assistance before, during and after storm emergencies, including senior residents, persons with disabilities, infants and children and people with chronic medical conditions; (xvix) require that during a storm emergency, cell phone networks and other communications systems are strengthened to ensure that first responders and residents do not lose the ability to communicate fully and instantly; (xx) develop a program to allow mass text messages to be sent to all wireless phones in a chosen geographic area; (xxi) explore establishing a 1-stop disaster recovery communications hub that is integrated with social networking, mobile messaging and chat tools using all available means to reach residents; and (xxii) ensure that lines of authority are clear and officials have the authority to react rapidly to emergency situations in a coordinated fashion.

              (e) The plan shall include the following sequential steps: (i) a preliminary report (ii) an inventory and vulnerability assessment of the natural and built assets of the commonwealth subject to the threat of climate change, (iii) a final report

              (f) The secretary of energy and environmental affairs and the secretary of public safety and security shall convene a technical advisory committee on the risks associated with climate change including, but not limited to, the risks associated with temperature changes, drought and increased precipitation and coastal and inland flooding.  The advisory committee shall be chaired by the secretaries, or their designees, and shall be comprised of representatives with expertise in the following areas: (1) coastal zone and river flooding and erosion; (2) hydrological and hydraulic modeling; (3) natural hazard preparedness and mitigation; (4) sea level and storm surge projections; (5) risk measurement and reduction; (6) emergency management planning; and (7) scenario planning.  The advisory committee shall, within 6 months from the effective date of this act complete an preliminary report which shall include:

              (A) a set of combined sea-level rise and coastal and river storm-surge scenarios;

              (B) estimates of risk levels of each scenario occurring by 2030, 2050 and 2100;

              (C) estimates of flood water levels in coastal and flood plain and river front areas under each scenario which shall  reflect appropriate local information such as local uplift and subsidence, and coastal erosion  rates;

              (D) estimates based on hydrological and hydraulic modeling of coastal and flood plain and river front flood water levels in each scenario in historically coastal areas now currently protected by dams, including river basins;

              (E) develop scenario planning and the capability to explore policy options for guiding

                 where to build, what to build and how to strengthen communities in areas of greatest risk; and

              (F) identify critical buffer areas of coast and forests and flood plains that serve to significantly reduce vulnerability to climate related impacts, to guide priorities for state, regional, and local land protection initiatives.

              (G) an immediate compilation and prioritization of strategies and actions, derived from the climate adaptation report prepared under section 9 of chapter 298 of the acts of 2008, that could be implemented immediately, including but not limited to: the establishment of goals and outcomes; the identification of existing legal authorities under which actions can take place and recommend new authorities where they do not already exist; designation of lead state agencies and partners; and, prioritization, timeframe and potential costs of recommendations. The preliminary report shall serve as the basis for vulnerability assessments which state agencies and public utilities shall develop for their portfolio of assets. For the purposes of this paragraph, “state agencies” shall include all executive agencies including, without limitation, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the department of environmental protection, the department of capital asset management and maintenance, the department of conservation and recreation, the department of public utilities, the department of public health, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and independent and quasi-public agencies including, but not limited to, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority and the Massachusetts Port Authority, and public utilities shall include energy generation and transmission, solid waste, drinking water, wastewater and stormwater and telecommunication utilities serving areas identified in the initial report as subject to material risk of flooding.

              The vulnerability assessments shall classify the economic losses over time associated with each major asset for each flooding scenario as unacceptable, non-critical or immaterial. For assets exposed to material risk of unacceptable losses, the vulnerability assessment shall include order-of-magnitude cost-estimates for: (i) measures to protect the assets from flooding; (ii) measures to make the assets flood resilient; and (iii) removal and relocation of the assets from flood-exposed coastal and river areas. Estimates shall also be prepared for the economic, social and environmental damages if no adaptation actions are taken. Qualitative benefit-cost discussions of projected social impacts of flood prevention versus flood resilience shall also be included.  This shall include consideration of avoided costs associated with guiding new development away from vulnerable locations and maintaining the water-absorbing capacity of the natural forested landscape.

              The vulnerability assessments shall be submitted to the advisory committee within 12 months of the completion of the preliminary report. The advisory committee shall create a final report based on the findings of the preliminary report and vulnerability assessments within 3 months of the completion of the vulnerability assessments.  The final report shall include but not be limited to: (a) the establishment of goals and outcomes; (b) the identification of existing legal authorities under which actions can take place and recommend new authorities where they do not already exist; (c) designation of lead state agencies and partners; and, (d) prioritization, timeframe and potential costs of recommendations.

              The secretary of energy and environmental affairs and the secretary of public safety and security shall conduct a public hearing before issuing the plan. The plan must be issued within 24 months of the effective date of this act and shall file the same with the clerks of the senate and  house of representatives.

              Section 3.  The plan shall encourage and provide guidance to regional planning agencies to proactively address the unavoidable consequences of climate change and provide a process for local and regional climate vulnerability assessment and adaptation strategy development.

              Section 4.  There shall be established and set up on the books of the commonwealth a regional comprehensive adaptation management plan grant program. The program shall provide financial assistance to regional planning agencies for the development and implementation of plans at the regional levels of government. The regional plans shall include, but not be limited to: (i) plans for a step-by-step process for regional climate vulnerability assessment and adaptation strategy development; (ii) a definition of regional impacts by supporting communities conducting climate vulnerability assessments; and (iii) an understanding of regional characteristics, including regional environmental and socioeconomic characteristics.

              Section 5.  Regional grants shall be administered by the executive office.  Regional grants shall be designed to reduce community risks and hazards as a result of climate change.  Regional grants shall advance regional and local efforts to adapt land use, zoning, infrastructure, policies and programs to reduce the vulnerability of the built and natural environment to changing environmental conditions as a result of climate change.  State agencies shall prioritize the protection of identified inland as well as coastal vulnerable locations not yet built upon.

              Section 6.  The executive office may acquire by purchase from willing sellers, land abutting or adjacent to areas subject to the ebb and flow of the tide or on barrier beaches or in velocity zones of flood plain areas, on which structures  have been substantially and repeatedly damaged by severe weather, for conservation and recreation purposes.

              Section 7.   Prior to the acquisition of any land under this act, the executive office shall develop a conservation and recreation management plan for any such land after consultation with the city or town in which the land is located.  The management plan shall set forth the priority, description and location of lands to be acquired, and any land management agreement reached between said agency and municipality for local responsibility to carry out the development and management of said property.  All land acquired pursuant to this chapter shall be deemed to have been acquired for protection of the people in their right to conservation, development, and utilization of natural resources.

              Section 8.  No land shall be acquired under this act until after a public hearing has been held by the executive office in the municipality in which the land is situated to consider the management plan. The mayor and city council in a city or the board of selectmen, planning board and conservation commission, if any, of a town shall be notified of such hearing.

              Section 9.  If the executive office deems it necessary to make appraisals, surveys, soundings, borings, test pits or other related examinations to obtain information to carry out this act, the executive office or its authorized agents or employees may, after due notice by registered mail, enter upon lands, water and premises, not including buildings, to make such appraisals, surveys, soundings, borings, test pits and other related examinations as it may deem necessary or convenient for the purposes of this act and such entry shall not be a trespass. The executive office  shall provide reimbursement for any injury or actual damages resulting to the lands, waters and premises caused by any act of its authorized agents or employees and shall, so far as possible, restore the lands to the same condition as prior to making such appraisals, surveys, soundings, borings, test pits or other related examinations.

              Section 10.  The executive office may expend such sums as may be available from any source to carry out section 2, including expenses in connection therewith and the cost of planning therefore and for the development, redevelopment or improvement thereof.

              Section 11.  This act shall be in addition to any other bond authorization, appropriation or authority to acquire land available to any agency of the commonwealth.

              Section 12.  The executive office, acting for and on behalf of the commonwealth, may lease to cities and towns, on a form approved by the attorney general, for not more than 25 years, certain property conveyed to the commonwealth under section 2, section 6, or by the federal emergency management agency under 42 USC 4001, section 1362 of Pub. L. 90-448, as amended, for use as conservation and recreation areas. Leases shall be in such form and contain such provisions as the secretary of environmental affairs shall determine, including such terms and conditions which are necessary to comply with laws relative to the protection of barrier beaches. Lands shall be leased upon the express conditions that the land shall be used for conservation and recreation purposes only, that no permanent structures shall be erected and a reversionary clause that requires the lease to be terminated if the leased land is used in violation of this act.

              Section 13.  In consideration for the granting of a lease authorized in section 12, a city or town shall agree to maintain the acquired land as a clean, safe and orderly conservation or recreation area.

              Section 14.  Pursuant to its authority under section 40 of chapter 131 of the General Laws, the commissioner of environmental protection shall, within 180 days of the effective date of this act, promulgate rules regulating the dredging, filing or altering of land subject to coastal storm flowage.

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