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Governor Maura Healey expressed her excitement at the news, saying, "We are incredibly excited to see Massachusetts cities and towns receive the funding they need to proactively expand green space in environmental justice communities across the Commonwealth. We are committed to continuing to partner with these municipalities as they put their federal money to work improving public health and increasing access to opportunity for the people of Massachusetts."
Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Rebecca Tepper added, "This summer's extreme temperatures have shown that our cities and towns are on the front lines of responding to the impacts of climate change. We're proud to see these communities leading the charge in implementing climate resilient measures that will ensure a healthier, more equitable Massachusetts."
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Director of Federal Funds & Infrastructure Quentin Palfrey commented on how important this funding is for cities and towns: "The funding provided through the Urban and Community Forestry program is critical for these cities and towns to address some of their most pressing needs around public health, workforce development and climate resiliency through increasing access to green space. The Commonwealth looks forward to continuing our aggressive pursuit of federal funding opportunities that will deliver for communities all across Massachusetts."
The nine Massachusetts grant awards are part of more than $1 billion in funding awarded by the US Department of Agriculture nationwide. This investment was made possible by President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act signed in 2022, which provides support for projects that will advance priorities for statewide decarbonization and climate resilience.
The projects include plans to plant more than 15,000 trees in Springfield, fund an urban forestry fellowship in Lynn, improve public health for vulnerable populations in Fall River through an expanded tree canopy, and advance social inclusion and workforce development through community forestry in Boston neighborhoods such as Chinatown, East Boston, Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury.
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