My name is Maria Wilkens and I am a retired nurse who is presently a volunteer for 350 Mass. I am writing in support of H.872/S.481 An Act to Establish a Climate Change Superfund and Promote Polluter Responsibility Sponsored by Senator Rausch and Representative Cahill. 

I live in the coastal town of Ipswich Massachusetts and our community is already dealing with the consequences of fossil fuel-driven climate change. The road leading to Crane Beach is going to require substantial increases in the height of the road leading to the Beach to allow continued access. Increased incidences of sunny day flooding are creating safety and road access difficulties for residents who live along the road as well as visitors. Raising the road safely through salt marshes is a delicate and expensive undertaking. There is another road, Jefferys Neck Road that also runs through salt marshes with residences along the way that is even more endangered with many residents being at risk for loosing the ability to reach their homes by vehicles in the next few decades. The town also needs to move its pump station due to its vulnerable location on the town wharf. There are many more examples of needed infrastructure changes that will be required to deal with climate change induced sea level rise and storm surges. And this is one small community on the North Shore. To the north and south of us there are dozens of communities facing similar expensive resiliency projects just to keep their towns functioning in the face of predicted changes caused by climate change. 

While the state is looking at the huge expenditures required to fortify communities at risk for flooding due to sea level rise and storm damage, the fossil fuel corporations whose actions knowingly created these conditions are reaping record profits as they continue to pollute the planet and worsen climate catastrophe.  It is for this reason I am asking that you support the Polluters Pay Bill that will mandate some those responsible provide funding to help Massachusetts communities make the infrastructure changes needed for survival.  This bill will generate 75 billion dollars over 25 years from the biggest fossil fuel emitters to fund a Climate Adaptation Superfund that will help support climate adaptation projects thought the Commonwealth. If you are concerned about the abilities of these companies to pay it should be noted that Exxon, Shell, Chevron and BP alone brought in $199 billion in profit in one year! 

The Polluters Pay bill also recognizes the excess burden placed on environmental justice communities by increasing heat, sea level rise and pollution and directs 40% of the funding to go directly to these communities. It further mandates the large projects supported by these funds make use of apprenticeship program and follow prevailing wage requirements increasing income and skill sets in many Massachusetts communities. 

It is time to recognize climate change is real, it’s continuing and the prime movers are not only continuing to profit, they are continuing to pollute.  In the state of Massachusetts we have the opportunity to hold accountable some of the largest deniers and polluters by requiring them to pay out a tiny portion of their bloated profits to benefit the communities their actions have endangered. Please support The Polluters Pay Bill.

Maria Wilkens

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