A Supreme Court ruling this week limiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate wetlands won’t derail climate and sustainability efforts in Massachusetts, Gov. Maura Healey said.
The high court’s 5-4 decision Thursday narrowed the categories of wetlands covered under the federal Clean Water Act, a move Healey called a “sad commentary on where things are at.”
Healey said Friday on Boston Public Radio that she’d discussed the ruling with her energy and environmental affairs secretary, Rebecca Tepper, during a cabinet meeting earlier in the day.
“I think the good news is, we're going to continue to be strong here in Massachusetts," Healey said. “We have important regulations in place when it comes to wetlands, when it comes to protecting the environment, so there’s nothing about the decisions that disturbs that.”
The wetlands ruling was one of a handful of climate-related topics Healey addressed during her hourlong appearance on Boston Public Radio. The governor said her administration is taking an “all hands on deck” approach, pursuing a climate agenda across all areas of government.
She mentioned that her climate chief, Melissa Hoffer, is setting up a youth climate council so young people from around the state can become “activists within their communities driving policy.”
Healey said her team is also competing for federal funding to support climate and clean energy efforts.
“We need to focus on the infrastructure,” she said. “I think about infrastructure as the grid, the transmission — because we can build the turbines offshore, but that energy needs to get distributed to homes and to businesses around the state. We’ve got a lot of work to do as a state on that, and it will require a lot of work in coordination with utilities.”
On Monday, Healey administration officials announced that the state Department of Energy Resources applied to the federal government for a competitive matching grant of up to $250 million for a transmission infrastructure project supporting wind and solar power.
While Healey spoke inside the Boston Public Library Friday afternoon, opponents of a natural gas compressor station in Weymouth demonstrated outside, with a cutout depicting Healey dressed in a basketball uniform and a sign urging her to “call flagrant foul on Weymouth compressor station.” Community members for years have raised public health and environmental concerns around the compressor, including during the permitting, siting and construction processes.
“The compressor I’ve talked about time and time again,” Healey said. “I mean, it still remains the position that we, I think, have done what we can do there. We continue to be in dialogue with folks. Again, I was the one who called for new people on what’s called the Energy Siting Facilities Board. We’re going to have people who are environmental justice advocates and better representation from community stakeholder groups going forward, and that’s one of the reforms that I’ve proposed given what we’ve seen with some of these siting issues that have been raised.”