August 5, 2019

Baker signs appraisal, Vineyard Wind bills

By Katie Lannan | State House News Service | Aug 4, 2019 |

BOSTON – Along with signing the $43.3 billion state budget, Gov. Charlie Baker also inked his name on five other new laws on Wednesday.

Facing an Aug. 10 deadline under a federal law, Baker approved a bill establishing a framework for licensing and regulating appraisal management companies in Massachusetts.

When the House passed the bill unanimously in June, state Rep. Thomas Stanley, D-Waltham, warned that lending for home purchasing and refinancing packages would be “severely disrupted” if a law were not on the books before the licensing deadline required under the 2010 Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Stanley said 80% of appraisal orders in Massachusetts are processed by appraisal management companies, or AMCs.

Amid an uncertain federal landscape regarding Vineyard Wind, the governor approved a bill authorizing an easement to help the offshore wind project bring its electricity to the mainland and run it through a high voltage electric cable to a substation in Barnstable.

Sponsored by state Rep. Will Crocker, R-Barnstable, the bill allows the Barnstable Town Council to grant an easement for a portion of Covell’s Beach in Centerville.

Crocker, in a statement, called the Vineyard Wind project “a win-win for the town of Barnstable.”

“Not only will the town see an increase in revenue over the life of the project, but the entire Cape Cod community and Massachusetts seeks to benefit with the creation of 3,600 new jobs,” he said.

The Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management notified Vineyard Wind officials this month that the government was “not yet prepared” to issue the final environmental impact statement they were expecting this month, creating new questions around the project in line to be the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind development.

Baker was in Washington, D.C., Monday to meet new U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, and upon returning to Boston said he would work with Vineyard Wind to “cure whatever the concerns are” that the federal government has.

Baker on Wednesday also signed bills naming a bridge in Framingham after U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Deanna K. Richards, a 26-year-old Ashland native who died Jan. 20, 2017, while on active duty at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico; authorizing the city of Leominster to pay a $60,000 unpaid bill for a boiler repair; and allowing the town of Bedford to release a portion of a conservation restriction on a parcel of land.

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