Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito announced the departure of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides and the appointment of current Undersecretary of Environmental Policy and Climate Resilience Beth Card as the incoming Secretary, effective May 6.
“Secretary Theoharides has been dedicated to making Massachusetts a national leader in climate solutions, including guiding the development of the offshore wind industry. Katie has done a tremendous job leading our administration’s statewide efforts to comprehensively plan for the effects of climate change, and I wish her all the best in the future,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Beth Card has a deep knowledge of environmental policy and a wealth of experience in leading climate resiliency efforts in state government, and we are glad to appoint her as Secretary.”
“Under Secretary Theoharides’s leadership, we have developed nation-leading programs to help cities and towns across the Commonwealth make climate-resilient investments in their infrastructure,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are so grateful to Katie for her service to the Commonwealth, and welcome Beth into the cabinet.”
“I am deeply grateful to Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito for trusting me to serve the residents of the Commonwealth and to work with a team of dedicated public servants in our cabinet, at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and across the Administration. I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done together to increase access to the outdoors, invest in our natural resources, and deploy climate change solutions, including the first utility scale offshore wind farm, expand the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness resiliency program in 95% of the state’s communities, and create new initiatives to cut emissions in our transportation and heating sectors,” said Secretary Theoharides. “I’ve worked closely with Beth Card throughout my time in state service and I respect her leadership qualities and close work with stakeholders, legislators, and local leaders. Much work remains as we seek to fund critical climate, clean water, parks and infrastructure projects, and I’m confident in Beth’s deep expertise in environmental policy, water quality and climate change and in her ability to build and lead strong partnerships to deliver great outcomes.”
“I am grateful to Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito for the incredible opportunity to serve as Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The tireless efforts of Secretary Theoharides have resulted in the creation of critical climate change programs, investment in the Commonwealth’s renewable energy portfolio, and the advancement of the Administration’s decarbonization goals,” said incoming Secretary Card. “As we look ahead to the prospect of investing billions of dollars into our environmental, water and sewer, and port infrastructure for offshore wind deployment, I look forward to working alongside my colleagues and our many partners to continue the important work of our energy and environment programs and set a course for achieving commitments established in the Administration’s climate law.”
Under Secretary Theoharides’s leadership, the Baker-Polito Administration has advanced major climate initiatives and strengthened the resiliency of the Commonwealth’s infrastructure. Key accomplishments include:
- Deployment of the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind farm and the development and selection of its second and third round of procurements that will bring 3,600 Megawatts of clean, affordable power to the Massachusetts grid – enough energy to power an estimated 608,000 homes.
- Created a nation-leading climate resiliency partnership between the Commonwealth and its municipalities through the voluntary Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program that in just four years enrolled over 95% of the state’s cities and towns while also leading the Administration’s effort to comprehensively plan for statewide climate change resiliency and invest over $1 billion for climate solutions.
- Established an aggressive limit of net zero emissions by 2050, and developed the 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap Study, a first-in-the-nation planning effort to reach this milestone affordably and equitably.
- Charted the deployment of clean energy strategies and policies to achieve emission limits for the next decade through the 2030 Clean Energy and Climate Plan, including advanced building codes, enhanced programs to improve low carbon transportation options and electric vehicle adoption, and power sector market reform.
- Oversaw development of a critical updates to Massachusetts solar program, the renewable portfolio standard, the three-year energy efficiency plan, and creation of the Clean Peak Program.
- Launched and managed one of the largest grant programs in EEA history, the $58 million Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program, awarding funding to farms, food pantries, non-profit organizations, communities, schools, and food distributors to build a more resilient local food system.
- Helped to enshrine environmental justice protections into state law and created the EEA Environmental Justice Task Force.
- Invested over $112 million to protect more than 36,500 acres of natural resources, maintain sustainable working forest, conserve critical wildlife habitat, protect water resources, and ensure continued public access to the property for hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife observation, and other outdoor recreation.
- Provided equitable access to the state’s park system including access to free swimming lessons across the Commonwealth.
- Committed over $1.8 million to support the DCR Summer Night program that provided fun, engaging activities for young people across the Commonwealth.
About Bethany Card:
In 2021, Beth Card joined the Baker-Polito Administration as Undersecretary of Environmental Policy and Climate Resilience in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. As Undersecretary, Card serves as chief environmental advisor to the Secretary and directs efforts that, in coordination with elected officials and external stakeholders, protect, preserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s environmental resources while ensuring a clean energy future for the state’s residents. A key focus of this work has been development of approaches to invest in environmental infrastructure under the American Rescue Plan Act and implementation of the Administration’s comprehensive climate change law. During her tenure, the Administration successfully established an approach to investing in the Commonwealth’s water and sewer infrastructure, environmental infrastructure and state parks. Further she and her team have worked on successfully permitting two offshore wind projects in a way that balances the need for renewable energy projects with careful mitigation of fishing industry impacts. Beth has also played a key role in advising on implementation of the environmental justice initiatives in the Commonwealth.
Beth has more than twenty-five years of service in state agencies and quasi-governmental organizations where she has been a leader on environmental policy development and implementation of regulatory programs. Prior to joining the Baker-Polito Administration, Beth served as the Director of Environmental and Regulatory Affairs for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). During her time at MWRA, Card developed and oversaw the implementation of environmental policies on behalf of the Authority that provides water and sewer services to 3.1 million people and more than 5,500 large industrial users in 61 metropolitan Boston communities. Before joining MWRA, Beth worked at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) for over six years as both Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Planning and Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Water Resources. Her portfolio as MassDEP included programs that manage water and air resources as well as waste management. She was instrumental in work related to implementation of the global warming solutions act, the lead in schools initiative, wastewater planning on Cape Cod, and revising water management act requirements.
Card received a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Environmental Conservation and Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire and a J.D. from the Massachusetts School of Law.
Ms. Card lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts with her husband and young son.