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Cape Cod Commission Unanimously Amends Regional Policy Plan to Include Climate Mitigation Goals

The Cape Cod Commission is making the fight against climate change a top priority by amending its overarching policy plan to include climate mitigation goals. 


Commissioners voted today to approve amendments to the 2018 Regional Policy Plan (RPP) that will promote clean energy, carbon sequestration, and greener alternatives in the building and transportation sectors.


Those goals will mean the commission encourages electric vehicle adoption, work-from-home policies, and electric heat pumps in homes and commercial buildings, among other measures.  


“We’ve identified the need to … support, advance, and contribute as a region to the Commonwealth’s interim and long-term greenhouse gas reductions goals and initiatives, and this includes a statewide net zero carbon target by 2050,” explained Kristy Senatori, executive director of the commission. 


Climate activists with the environmental groups 350 Cape Cod and Sierra Club prompted the commission to amend the 2018 RPP after filing a citizen’s petition. In their petition, activists offered 10 of their own amendments.


“The 2018 RPP fell far short of focussing the commission’s significant expertise, resources, and powers on emissions reductions,” said Chris Powicki, one of the petitioners. 

During a contentious meeting in July 2020, commission members tabled the petitioners’ amendments, and directed staff to develop climate mitigation amendments in-house over a six month period, despite urging from staff members to dismiss the petition outright. Staff argued that the RPP was developed through an extensive public process and the finished result delicately balanced regional needs like housing growth, economic development, and transportation efficiency.


Over the last few weeks, commission staff have worked with members to finalize the new goals and amendments, culminating in a final vote yesterday. During the meeting, commission members, environmentalists, and housing activists commended the staff for developing new amendments that addressed the climate mitigation gap. 


“Since May 2020, when the public hearing process on the petition amendments began, I think the commission —both staff and members — has come a long way and I want to thank you for that,” Powicki said. “These amendments are worthy of supporting. I think they are consistent with the intent of the citizens petition.”

After approving the new amendments unanimously, commissioners voted down the amendments proposed in the citizens petition. 


The amended plan will now be sent to the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates for final approval. 

Eve Zuckoff covers the environment and human impacts of climate change for CAI.