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Boston Mayor Wu Looks To Eliminate Fossil Fuels In New Developments, Major Renovations

The International Place towers, center, in Boston

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu plans to file a home rule petition that will allow the city to establish fossil fuel-free building standards.

Wu's submission takes advantage of a state law Gov. Charlie Baker signed last week, An Act Driving Clean Energy And Offshore Winds. The mayor plans to file legislation that would allow the city to participate in a pilot program that gives municipalities the ability to create local ordinances to restrict the use of fossil fuels, including through the withholding or conditioning of building permits.

“We are eager to carry out the intent of this state legislation and maximize its benefit by including the Commonwealth’s largest city — Boston’s participation will help deliver healthy, energy efficient spaces that save our residents and businesses on utilities costs and create local green jobs that will fuel our economy for decades,” Wu said in a statement.

If chosen for the program, the mayor's office said it would create an advisory committee made up of experts in environmental justice, affordable housing, labor and workers’ rights, real estate development and other related fields.

The mayor's announcement said the city would proceed with a multiyear plan to phase out the use of fossil fuels in Boston development and major renovation projects. On-site combustion of fossil fuels in buildings accounts for more than a third of Boston's greenhouse gas emissions, the press release said.

This initiative is part of the mayor's bigger Green New Deal campaign. Earlier this month, the city appointed Oliver Sellers-Garcia as the city’s first Green New Deal director. Last week, the city announced a comprehensive plan to provide coastal resilience solutions to parts of Charlestown and East Boston to mitigate the risks of coastal flooding through flood protection strategies.

“Today’s announcement is a wonderful first step to getting fossil fuels out of buildings,” Sellers-Garcia said in a statement. “This is complex and I’m so delighted that we are going through an in-depth, public process to get this right.”

Related Topics: East Boston, Charlestown, Michelle Wu