Gov. Deval Patrick

Credit: Sarah Birnbaum / WGBH News

State Commits $50M To Prepare Cities & Towns For Rising Sea Levels

January 14, 2014

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is committing $50 million to help cities and towns prepare for storms and rising sea levels. Patrick says this is an investment to deal with the effects of climate change.

Patrick announced the spending in a room overlooking the Boston Harbor.

“We are experiencing stronger storms, more extreme temperatures, and all together more disruptive weather, all of which present challenges to and public safety, our economic vitality and quality of life,” he said.

The bulk of the money — $40 million dollars — will be used to help cities and towns install backup power systems using clean energy technology.

The state will work with utilities to find ways to help electrical systems guard against storm damage.

The rest of the money — $10 million dollars — will go toward projects like building sea walls and repairing dams.

“Sea level rising between one and six feet would put thousands of lives and half billion dollars in assets at risk in Boston alone," Patrick said. "So the question is not whether need to act. We’re past that.”

Studies predict parts of Boston could be under water in 50 years.

The programs will be partially funded by penalties electric companies must pay if they fail to get enough power from renewables like wind and solar.

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