Priority Campaigns

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2019 Priority Campaigns

Legislation in Brief:

Advancing Offshore Wind – The Maryland Climate Coalition came together in 2010 with the goal of bringing wind energy to Maryland. We reached milestones with the passage of the Maryland Offshore Wind Act of 2013 and the approval of two projects off the Atlantic Coast by the Public Service Commission in 2017. Maryland is now well on its way to bringing offshore wind to the Free State. The wind blowing off Maryland’s coast is a vast, untapped energy source and offshore wind has the power to provide clean energy, create family-supporting jobs, reduce pollution, and help future generations from the dangerous impacts of climate change.

Ensuring that we get “steel in water” remains a continued priority of the Coalition. We will continue to defend against any attempts to derail the two offshore wind projects while also ensuring that developers provide ample wildlife and environmental protections during construction and operation of the facilities.

Increasing Our Clean Energy Commitments  – Clean, renewable energy is a powerful driver of economic development and job creation in Maryland. Unfortunately, most of Maryland’s electricity still comes from carbon-spewing fossil fuels—coal and natural gas. The harmful emissions from these sources hurt our health, our economy and our climate. We must act now to transform our energy sector away from harmful fossil fuels and toward a clean energy economy.

A broad and diverse coalition of business leaders, public health officials, scientists, labor organizations, clergy members, social justice advocates and environmentalists has come together to call on Maryland’s elected officials to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act, which will double the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard policy to 50% renewable electricity by 2030, determine the best plan to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2023, and implement that plan by 2040.

From the beginning, a core component of our effort has been a call for trash incinerators to no longer “count” as renewable energy under this law. Indeed,  Maryland’s law for promoting renewable energy in the state should only be sending subsidies to truly clean energy like wind and solar power. The Coalition speaks with one voice that the General Assembly must makes bold commitments while cleaning up our RPS.

Related legislation: Clean Energy Jobs Act – SB 516 (Sen. Feldman) and Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard – Eligible Sources – SB 548 (Sen. Hough) and Public Utilities – Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard – Tier 1 Sources – HB 961 (Del. Mosby)

Increasing Our Clean Energy Investments & Protecting Ratepayers – Long term contracts are an important way to benefit electricity ratepayers while growing additional, new clean energy facilities in Maryland and the region. Long-term contracts also have the effect of discouraging investment in energy sources which emit greenhouse gas emissions and pollute our air and water. The Climate Coalition supports enactment of legislation that requires, in 2021, an electric company to procure 25% of the RPS commitments through competitively-bid, 10-20 year contracts. The bill also requires that 50% of the RPS Standard Offer Service is procured through long term contracts. We already know from private industry and from other jurisdictions that using long-term contracts saves ratepayers money.

Related legislation: Ratepayer Reduction for Renewable Energy Act – HB 879 (Del. Clippinger)

Constitutional Right to a Healthy Green Maryland – A right to a healthy environment strengthens environmental rule of law by encouraging stronger environmental statutes, filling

gaps in existing law, providing procedural protections, and highlighting the importance of environmental law in society. The Healthy Green Amendment establishes a right vested in the people to enforce violations of health and environment in the state. By adding an amendment to the Maryland Constitution’s Bill of Rights, this proposal enshrines all existing work/campaigns aimed at environmental sustainability, economic stability, job creation, and health preservation. It promotes solutions on climate values of environmental justice and climate protection into the state’s Constitution and creates framework for future work by building in highest level protections that the common law can be built on.

Related legislation: Constitutional Amendment for Environmental Rights – HB 472  (Del. Lafferty)

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Transportation Sector – The Coalition seeks to address the #1 source of climate pollution for the state and entire country. We aim to prioritize our resources at this time behind two specific policies — a bill to require a pre-decision analysis of GHG emissions, and air and water pollution, associated with large highway expansion or new-construction projects, and a bill that would legislate Maryland’s continued involvement in the regional Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) and authorize the Governor to enter Maryland into a cross-state policy to reduce climate pollution from the transportation sector.

Related legislation: Regional Transportation and Climate Protection Act of 2019 – SB 249/HB 277 (Sen. Lam/Del. Korman) and Transportation Climate Accountability Act of 2019 – SB 788/HB695 (Sen. Rosapepe/Del. Stewart)