General Laws of Massachusetts - Chapter 30 General Provisions Relative to State Departments, Commissions, Officers and Employees - Section 61 Determination of impact by agencies; damages to environment; prevention or minimization; foreseeable climate change impacts; definition applicable to this section and Sec. 62

Section 61. All agencies, departments, boards, commissions and authorities of the commonwealth shall review, evaluate, and determine the impact on the natural environment of all works, projects or activities conducted by them and shall use all practicable means and measures to minimize damage to the environment. Unless a clear contrary intent is manifested, all statutes shall be interpreted and administered so as to minimize and prevent damage to the environment. Any determination made by an agency of the commonwealth shall include a finding describing the environmental impact, if any, of the project and a finding that all feasible measures have been taken to avoid or minimize said impact.

In considering and issuing permits, licenses and other administrative approvals and decisions, the respective agency, department, board, commission or authority shall also consider reasonably foreseeable climate change impacts, including additional greenhouse gas emissions, and effects, such as predicted sea level rise.

As used in this section and section sixty-two, “damage to the environment” shall mean any destruction, damage or impairment, actual or probable, to any of the natural resources of the commonwealth and shall include but not be limited to air pollution, water pollution, improper sewage disposal, pesticide pollution, excessive noise, improper operation of dumping grounds, reduction of groundwater levels, impairment of water quality, increases in flooding or storm water flows, impairment and eutrophication of rivers, streams, flood plains, lakes, ponds, or other surface or subsurface water resources; destruction of seashores, dunes, marine resources, underwater archaeological resources, wetlands, open spaces, natural areas, parks, or historic districts or sites. Damage to the environment shall not be construed to include any insignificant damage to or impairment of such resources.

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Last modified: September 11, 2015