Her departure arrives as the point out is performing on a number of fronts to battle local climate transform — from reducing emissions in transportation and properties to greening the grid — and months ahead of Governor Charlie Baker’s administration ends. Her last working day will be May 6.
“Secretary Theoharides has been devoted to producing Massachusetts a countrywide chief in climate options, like guiding the growth of the offshore wind field,” Baker said in a press launch. “Katie has completed a incredible work top our administration’s statewide efforts to comprehensively plan for the effects of climate change, and I would like her all the ideal in the long term.”
Theoharides claimed she was “leaving for a new professional option,” even though did not specify what it was.
Theoharides has been with the Baker administration due to the fact 2016, when she joined as the director of climate and world-wide warming methods. Considering that then, the Baker administration has signed a legislation demanding the condition to minimize emissions to 50 per cent beneath 1990 degrees by the end of the 10 years and hit internet-zero emissions by 2050, with Theoharides overseeing the work toward accomplishing all those ambitions.
As component of that approach, the point out has some big deadlines looming, such as setting emissions limits and sub-limitations for 2025 and 2030, as properly as the development of a “clear, complete, and specific” program for attaining those ambitions by June 30 of this year.
The departure of Theoharides, whose tenure also noticed major developments on offshore wind, could current a problem, claimed Point out Senator Mike Barrett, but if the rest of the administration team stays in location, it would be surmountable.
“On the other hand, a drip, drip, drip of crucial resignations would be a trouble,” he said. “In the 2021 Weather Act, we tasked the EEA and its businesses with vital new responsibilities. There are deadlines that await during 2022. We have to have to satisfy them.”
Beth Card, who has been serving as the undersecretary of environmental coverage and climate resilience, will be using in excess of from Theoharides. Baker mentioned that Card “has a deep awareness of environmental policy and a prosperity of encounter in foremost climate resiliency initiatives in condition federal government.”
At a push meeting announcing Theoharides’ departure, Card claimed Theoharides is a “tough act to adhere to.” Asked about her preliminary priorities on the task, Card named an act Baker set forth very last 7 days which aims to commit $3.5 billion in state infrastructure and job creation, though also noting the importance of continuing to get the job done to achieve the state’s local weather aims by electrifying transit and increasing renewable electricity.
Theoharides, who is educated as a area biologist, came to the Baker administration right after obtaining labored in conservation.
“It’s been particularly significant for me to serve in the discipline that I like, that I have been passionate about considering the fact that grade faculty,” Theoharides claimed at Wednesday’s push meeting. “This position has generally been my dream position, and it is a person that is very really hard to go away since of the crew the governor and lieutenant governor have assembled, and the significance of this function.”
Some in the advocacy globe say they specifically appreciated her background when it arrived to guarding natural lands.
“We are grateful for Secretary Theoharides’ management, collaboration, smarts, and savvy,” Deborah Markowitz, the Massachusetts director for The Character Conservancy, a world environmental firm centered in Virginia, advised the World in an electronic mail. “Her vision weaving with each other nature-primarily based answers and local weather justice has set the regular for a long time to come.”
Congrats to @EEASecretary on numerous yrs of impactful provider & local climate management! MA is fortunate to have experienced you and now lucky that Beth Card taking the role at a critical time. She is a rockstar & will make certain @MassEEA doesn’t gradual down a single action on the climate struggle https://t.co/DeqtZhbfJA
— Alicia Barton (@abartontweets) April 27, 2022
Elizabeth Turnbull Henry, president of the local weather modify coverage advocacy group Environmental League of Massachusetts, also praised Theoharides’ function in offshore wind enlargement, lowering transit emissions, and boosting climate resilience.
“She has also labored uncommonly hard to make herself offered to stakeholders and constituents,” Henry wrote in an e mail. “We wish her effectively in her subsequent chapter!”
Theoharides has touted the achievements of the state’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Method as remaining amid the matters she was most proud of. The software presents help for 95 p.c of metropolitan areas and cities in Massachusetts as they adapt to and prepare for the impacts of local climate transform, and acquired Baker’s praise at Wednesday’s announcement.
“I can tell you what proportion of communities in Massachusetts had a municipal vulnerability program right before Katie commenced on that. That response would be zero,” Baker explained.
Theoharides traveled 2 times to the United Nations climate modify meeting, in 2017 and in 2021, in which she represented the point out on the international stage.
Her time in the Baker administration was also marked by some setbacks, like very last year’s failure of the multi-point out Transportation and Climate Initiative, a regional plan that aimed to position a cap on automobile air pollution and have to have hundreds of fuel distributors to obtain permits for any carbon emissions they generated over and above that cap. Theoharides championed the initiative and was set to chair it for the state, but Baker in the end withdrew his aid when other states pulled out from the pact.
“We search forward to serving to or holding accountable the next particular person who fills this place, as we did Local weather Katie,” Paul Diego Craney, a spokesperson for Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a conservative team that was a essential opponent of the Transportation and Weather Initiative, wrote in a statement.
Some of the state’s attempts on local climate change beneath Theoharides also confronted criticism from advocates who took purpose at the slow location of heat pump and electric powered vehicle adoption, and an exertion to chart the long run of purely natural fuel that critics reported the state has authorized the pure gasoline utilities to direct.
“Local weather Katie” explained phrases that sounded superior, but upheld the gas ind. when she was in business office. Her partner functions for National Grid as Director, US Gas Business enterprise ‘Future State’ & Strategy Activation. Upcoming time, can we get an EEA Sec that *is not* married to the fuel marketplace?
— 🦉AndreaHonoré (@grumpygrumpyowl) April 27, 2022
On Wednesday, Theoharides noted the worth of “keeping that concentration on the upcoming outcomes we’re driving in the direction of for local climate and the environment.”
“It’s sort of like planting a tree, suitable? You plant a tree, you don’t be expecting to see it mature into a major, tall oak, but you have to have the eyesight that it will sometime,” she reported.
Dharna Noor of the World staff contributed to this report.