“It’s important that state government permit the towns that want to do this to go forward as quickly as possible,” state Sen. Mike Barrett told GBH News. “The Legislature wrote this language because a handful of towns had already moved way out in front. The communities had gone through the laborious process of drafting local bylaws and ordinances.”
The state’s Department of Energy Resources released draft regulations and a model rule at the end of December, soliciting public comment up through last week. The law mandates that, for participating communities, both new construction and major renovations would have to be fossil fuel–free operations, with some exceptions for settings like research labs and hospitals.
Under DOER’s proposed regulations, municipalities that have already asked the state for permission to ban fossil fuels in new construction, via a home-rule petition sent to Beacon Hill, would need to wait until early 2024 at the earliest to implement their bans.
It “proposes to delay the entire process much longer than the Legislature ever imagined,” Barrett said.