July 21, 2014

Revised Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Regulations Codify Review of Project Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The regulations implementing the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) were recently revised, effective May 10, 2013, to codify the MEPA office’s existing practice of evaluating greenhouse gas emissions associated with projects undergoing its review. 

Generally speaking, MEPA’s jurisdiction over private projects extends to those receiving financial assistance, land transfers or a permit, license, certificate, variance, approval or other entitlement for use from a state agency. Whether and what level of review is required for a project within MEPA’s jurisdiction depends on which, if any, of the regulatory review thresholds a project triggers. Depending on the threshold triggered, projects proponents must prepare either an environmental notification form (ENF) or an ENF and environmental impact report (EIR).

Since 2007, the MEPA office has addressed greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in accordance with its Greenhouse Gas Policy and Protocol, last revised in 2010. This required proponents of projects requiring an EIR to: (i) identify a project baseline; (ii) calculate estimated GHG emissions from the project baseline condition; and (iii) calculate estimated emissions reductions based on mitigation measures by comparing project alternatives to the baseline. The GHG Policy remains an important guidance document that includes direction on methodologies for quantifying emissions and suggestions for mitigation projects. More information about the policy is available at

The revisions to the MEPA regulations, 310 CMR 11.00 et seq., create new thresholds for GHG emissions that are equivalent to permitting requirements recently established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act. Proposed projects that trigger either of the following thresholds will be required to prepare both an ENF and EIR:

  • Construction of a New Stationary Source with federal potential emissions, after construction and the imposition of required controls, of 100,000 tons per year of GHGs based on CO2 equivalent.
  • Modification of an existing Stationary Source with federal potential emissions that collectively will result, after construction and the imposition of required controls, of 75,000 tons per year of GHGs based on CO2 equivalent.

These and other thresholds in the MEPA regulations are intended to identify categories or aspects of projects that, by their nature, size or location, are likely to directly or indirectly cause “Damage to the Environment,” the definition of which has been expanded to reflect additional climate change impacts, including reduction of groundwater levels, impairment of water quality and increases in flooding or stormwater flows.

The revised regulations also incorporate aspects of the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008, for instance, providing that “the reasonably foreseeable climate change impacts of a project, including its additional GHG emissions, and effects, such as predicted sea level rise, are within the subject matter of any required permit, land transfer or financial assistance.”

Going forward, the next significant revisions to the MEPA regulations will likely relate to the implementation of either (i) the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, for which the Office of Coastal Zone Management issued proposed regulations earlier this year that would implement the Plan largely through MEPA and other existing permitting processes; or (ii) the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s streamlining regulatory initiatives.

© 2014 Beveridge & Diamond PC

About the Author

Marc J. Goldstein, Environmental Attorney, Beveridge Diamond law firm

Marc J. Goldstein is a Principal in Beveridge & Diamond’s Wellesley, Massachusetts office, with a practice that focuses on (i) the planning, permitting, and litigation associated with the development of land and (ii) environmental litigation.


About the Author

Aladdine D. Joroff, Beveridge Diamond Law Firm, Environmental Attorney

Aladdine Joroff is an Associate in Beveridge & Diamond’s Massachusetts office with an environmental, regulatory, and land use practice.  Her work includes counseling clients on permitting, operating, and regulatory compliance issues.  Ms. Joroff also participates in policy development advocacy and rulemaking proceedings, including associated litigation in state and federal courts.  Her recent litigation experience includes a “state equivalent” CERCLA action in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts and a RCRA rulemaking proceeding in the U.S....


Boost: AJAX core statistics

Legal Disclaimer

You are responsible for reading, understanding and agreeing to the National Law Review's (NLR’s) and the National Law Forum LLC's  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy before using the National Law Review website. The National Law Review is a free to use, no-log in database of legal and business articles. The content and links on are intended for general information purposes only. Any legal analysis, legislative updates or other content and links should not be construed as legal or professional advice or a substitute for such advice. No attorney-client or confidential relationship is formed by the transmission of information between you and the National Law Review website or any of the law firms, attorneys or other professionals or organizations who include content on the National Law Review website. If you require legal or professional advice, kindly contact an attorney or other suitable professional advisor.  

Some states have laws and ethical rules regarding solicitation and advertisement practices by attorneys and/or other professionals. The National Law Review is not a law firm nor is  intended to be  a referral service for attorneys and/or other professionals. The NLR does not wish, nor does it intend, to solicit the business of anyone or to refer anyone to an attorney or other professional.  NLR does not answer legal questions nor will we refer you to an attorney or other professional if you request such information from us. 

Under certain state laws the following statements may be required on this website and we have included them in order to be in full compliance with these rules. The choice of a lawyer or other professional is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Attorney Advertising Notice: Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Statement in compliance with Texas Rules of Professional Conduct. Unless otherwise noted, attorneys are not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, nor can NLR attest to the accuracy of any notation of Legal Specialization or other Professional Credentials.

The National Law Review - National Law Forum LLC 4700 Gilbert Ave. Suite 47 #230 Western Springs, IL 60558  Telephone  (708) 357-3317 If you would ike to contact us via email please click here.