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Statement from Maryland Climate Coalition Groups on Luke Mill

In solidarity with the 675 hard-working members of United Steelworkers Local 676 who are about to lose their jobs at the 131-year-old paper mill in Luke, Maryland, we express our extreme shock, anger, and disappointment with Verso’s decision to close their plant as soon as May 30th. Our thoughts immediately went to how these workers—who show up on the job every day while putting their own health on the line breathing toxic gas and dangerous, lung-irritating chemicals —will find new, good union jobs with family-supporting wages in a part of our state that already struggles economically. These workers deserve to have Verso protect their pensions and medical benefits while they train and earn certifications for new employment. We urge a supplemental investment of millions of dollars from state and local funds for training for these workers, including opportunities for those nearing retirement, and healthcare for both them and their families during their transition.  

As we’ve advocated for policies in Annapolis to ensure healthy air and combat pollution- causing climate change, we acknowledge the disagreement between labor and environmental groups over whether Maryland’s law designed to spur new clean energy development should include subsidies for paper waste burned at Luke Mill. We also acknowledge that we need to do more in collaboration with workers and their unions to support the creation of new, family-sustaining wage jobs with the potential for unionization in the emerging clean energy economy.

The 2019 Clean Energy Jobs Act is a good start. We were proud to follow the lead of labor leaders to include worker protection language, such as local hiring requirements and investments in apprenticeships, to help ensure that the 20,000 jobs projected to be created with the passage of this law will be good jobs that provide a family-sustaining wage. We appreciated that labor leaders testified in support of the bill. More bold policies and advocacy are needed to ensure that union jobs are created in the wake of the clean energy revolution—a recognition made more urgent with the sudden closure of the paper mill in Luke.  

In the meantime, we stand with the Steelworkers and pledge to follow their lead in fighting to protect worker pensions and health care and promoting new investment in the region. We call on the companies investing in clean energy generation, such as solar power, to explore the creation of good, union jobs in Western Maryland. We commit to helping facilitate a transition for workers who are able to utilize available workforce training dollars to build their skills and qualify for certifications in job titles in demand within the clean energy and other industries.  Finally, we will leverage our relationships with these companies and with policymakers in Annapolis to ensure long-term, family supporting wage, union job creation, and investment in training for workers transitioning into the clean energy economy.

Signatories:

Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility
Climate XChange
Climate Change & Policy Project
Energize Maryland
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA)
Labor Network for Sustainability
Maryland League of Conservation Voters
Sierra Club Maryland Chapter


Renewable Energy Business Representatives Push for the Clean Energy Jobs Act

 

IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 5, 2019

 

Renewable Energy Business Representatives Push for the Clean Energy Jobs Act
Industry representatives will testify for legislation to double the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50 percent by 2030  

 

Annapolis, MD – Ahead of today’s Senate hearing on the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act (Senate Bill 516 / House Bill 1158), renewable energy industry representatives joined environmental, faith, health, labor and civic organizations at a press conference to push for the passage of the bill. The bill would require the state to get half of its energy from renewable sources — such as wind and solar power — by 2030, and it will create a path to help Maryland reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.
Proponents of the bill point to a report that it will also help create sustainable clean energy jobs in Maryland over the next decade, including more than 20,000 jobs from an increased focus on solar power and 5,500 from greater reliance on offshore wind energy[1].

“From flooding in Annapolis and Ellicott City to land loss on the Eastern Shore, we are already seeing the environmental and economic impacts of climate change on our state,” says Karla Raettig, Executive Director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “What we can’t always see are the health impacts such as an increased likelihood of developing asthma, stroke, heart disease and cancer from the effects of heat waves and air pollution. The time is now to fight climate change and its impacts while expanding jobs, investment and tax revenue in our state.”

Advocates caution that if the bill is not passed this year, Maryland will not only lose precious time to prevent further devastation from climate change, the state will also leave money and opportunity on the table.

“We have a choice in Maryland,” says David Murray, Executive Director of Maryland, D.C. and Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association (MDV-SEIA). “We could delay clean energy action and allow the state’s solar industry to continue its decline, after it lost 800 jobs last year. Or, we can pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act and create tens of thousands of new Maryland solar jobs.”

While Maryland’s solar industry had employed more than 5,000 Marylanders in 2017, recent studies show the state lost more than 800 of these solar jobs last year. These jobs typically pay at least $18 an hour. The Trump Administration’s tariffs on solar and other industries are contributing to this decline, as is the uncertainty around Maryland’s current Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which is set to expire in 2020.

“In order for Maryland to stay competitive in the offshore wind industry, we can’t wait another year to pass this legislation,” said Bruce Burcat, Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition. “New Jersey and New York are surging ahead while Maryland is lagging behind. The Maryland General Assembly needs to bring those jobs here by passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act this session.”

Federal renewable energy tax credits will decline in 2020, so the economic difference between passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act in 2019 versus 2020 would be tens of millions of dollars.

Advocates point out that Maryland’s current RPS expires next year and, without legislation to ensure ongoing demand, renewable energy companies will continue to pull out of Maryland, and we’ll lose out to neighboring states in the competition for investment dollars. This legislation enables Maryland to catch up with nearby Washington, D.C., New Jersey and New York, which are already implementing 50 percent renewable electricity goals.

“Climate change is a reality and those in leadership must take action,” said Senator Brian J. Feldman (D-15, Montgomery County), the bill’s Senate sponsor.  “By passing The Clean Energy Jobs Act we can increase our renewable energy use and expand the number of green jobs in Maryland.  We must move forward now to protect future generations.”

More than 600 organizations across Maryland have endorsed the legislation, including the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA), Maryland Environmental Health Network, 1199 SEIU and Mom’s Clean Air Force, as well as students from across the state.

The Senate version of the Clean Energy Jobs Act would exclude waste incineration from Maryland’s RPS portfolio from getting financial benefits; these resources would instead go to renewable energy expansion. The House version of the bill does not include language to remove the incineration subsidies, but advocates are hopeful it will be included in the final legislation.

“A majority of Maryland voters agree: We need strong climate action now,” said Brooke Harper, Maryland Director of the CCAN Action Fund. “It’s time for the legislature to listen to its constituents and pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act.”

A February 2019 OpinionWorks poll shows that more than two-thirds of Maryland voters statewide (68%) would redirect public subsidy dollars to encourage more wind and solar energy, rather than toward waste incineration. According to a recent Gonzales poll, a large majority of Maryland voters (64 percent) believe Governor Hogan should support the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act.

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The Maryland Climate Coalition brings together environmental, faith, health, labor, and civic organizations to advance clean energy and climate policies in Maryland. For more information about the Maryland Climate Coalition, visit: http://marylandclimatecoalition.org/.

 


[1] National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Jobs and Economic Development Indicator (JEDI) model


Maryland Climate Coalition Urges House of Delegates to Join Senate in Voting to Phase Out Waste Incineration from Renewable Energy Portfolio

April 6, 2018

Maryland Senate Voted Today to Phase Out Waste Incineration from Renewable Energy Portfolio

Vote Represents A Historic First for Recognizing the Significant Environmental and Public Health Impacts of Incineration.

Annapolis — The Maryland Senate voted today to pass legislation related to Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that eliminates a major financial incentive for polluting waste incinerators. Senate Bill 282, sponsored by Finance Committee Chair Mac Middleton (D-Charles County), extends incentives for the RPS’s “Tier 2” energy sources (currently large hydroelectric power plants) for 2 years (i.e., Tier 2 now sunsets in 2018; the legislation provides for a two-year extension, through 2020). During debate on the legislation yesterday, thirty-three of the body’s 47 senators supported an amendment by Sen. Michael Hough (R-Frederick County) that would remove waste incineration from its current status as a Tier 1 energy source, meaning waste incinerators could no longer sell renewable energy credits (RECs) to Maryland electricity suppliers. The final bill passed the body today by a vote of 37-8.

The legislation now goes to the House of Delegates, which has until Monday at midnight to pass the legislation and send it to Gov. Hogan’s desk.

Maryland’s RPS was enacted in 2004 to facilitate a gradual transition to renewable sources of energy. It operates on a two-tiered system with carve-outs for solar energy and offshore wind energy and corresponding renewable energy credits (RECs) for each tier. Electric companies (utilities) and other electricity suppliers must submit RECs equal to a percentage specified in statute each year or else pay a penalty equivalent to their shortfall. Tier 1 sources include wind, geothermal, solar, and several others.

Quotes

“Burning trash has no business being on the same level as wind and solar,” said David Smedick, Public Policy Director for the Maryland Sierra Club. “With this vote, a bipartisan group of forward-thinking legislators have declared that we need our electricity generated from truly clean and renewable sources. It’s time for the House of Delegates to follow suit and pass this bill.”

“The Maryland Climate Coalition applauds this vote as a critical step forward for climate action,” said Brooke Harper, Policy Director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “Burning trash does not eliminate it. Rather, it creates a toxic ash that still needs to be disposed of – and it adds pollution to the air. We urge the House of Delegates to pass Senate Bill 282 unamended.”

“We applaud the action of the Maryland Senate to remove incineration from the renewable energy portfolio,” said Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, Executive Director of the Maryland Environmental Health Network. “This is an important step towards protecting the health of populations living in the footprint of trash incineration. For far too long, fence-line communities have faced a toxic soup produced in their own backyards, without their consent, that causes or contributes to life limiting respiratory health diseases. We now look to the House to continue to support legislation that puts people over profits. ”

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The Maryland Climate Coalition brings together environment, faith, labor, and civic organizations to advance clean energy and climate policies in Maryland.  


Statement on House Economic Matters Vote on Clean Energy Jobs Act

March 16, 2018
 
This week a subcommittee in the House Economic Matters Committee voted down the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2018, House Bill 1453The Clean Energy Jobs Campaign is profoundly disappointed that these state legislators have rejected this critical proposal for climate action. This coming Monday, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a work group session on the proposal. We urge the Senate not to allow one subcommittee in the House to have the last word.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act has record numbers of cosponsors in both houses of the General Assembly. More than 660 Maryland entities endorsed increasing our state’s renewable electricity commitments to 50% by 2030, including nonprofits, labor groups, and faith organizations; businesses, as well as the Legislative Black Caucus; the Montgomery, Prince George’s and Charles County Councils; and the Baltimore City Council. 

We thank our sponsors, Sen. Brian Feldman and Dels. Bill Frick and Cheryl Glenn, for their steadfast advocacy. We clearly have the support of an overwhelming majority of Marylanders.

More clean, renewable electricity – like wind and solar energy – to power our homes and businesses will benefit our health, our economy, our climate and our communities, and bring us on a pathway to achieve 100% renewable energy in Maryland. Increasing the RPS to 50% would mean 20,000 jobs in the solar industry; millions in new funding for clean energy workforce training and apprenticeships; minority, veteran, and women-owned business growth; and other potential programs to promote a sustainable economy, as well as local hiring mandates.

We urge Marylanders to contact your Senators today in support of this legislation, to take note on where your legislators stand on these issues and to make your voices heard in every way you can. 


Maryland Climate Coalition Statement on Defeat of Offshore Wind Bills

March 12, 2018

The Maryland House Economic Matters Committee voted down HB 1135 (Del. Adams), legislation that would have derailed Maryland’s offshore wind projects.

Once again, the General Assembly has affirmed its commitment to ensuring that Maryland is a clean energy leader and economic powerhouse. This vote will help ensure that these offshore wind projects years in the making can fulfill their promise to provide Maryland residents with health and climate benefits, good jobs, and more stable electricity rates. 

These offshore wind projects will be a huge source of pride for our state. Maryland is open for business and ready to seize the opportunity to become the Mid-Atlantic hub for this industry.


Maryland Climate Coalition: Statement on Ocean City Resolution to Kill Offshore Wind

IMMEDIATE RELEASE           

February 5, 2018

For more information contact:

Karla Raettig, Maryland League of Conservation Voters (c)  202-674-3174
David Smedick, Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club (p) 301-277-7111  

MARYLAND CLIMATE COALITION:
STATEMENT ON OCEAN CITY RESOLUTION
TO KILL OFFSHORE WIND

Annapolis, MD- The Maryland Climate Coalition (MDCC) expressed disappointment and frustration with the Ocean City Council resolution passed tonight that opposes the advancement of offshore wind projects in Maryland. After six years of public debate and hearings, and deliberations by the Maryland General Assembly and the Public Service Commission, this resolution seeks to circumvent Maryland’s overwhelming support for developing wind energy off the Atlantic coast. At public hearings hosted last year by the Public Service Commission for the projects in both Annapolis and on the Lower Shore, over 300 Marylanders spoke in support of offshore wind off the coast of Ocean City, with barely one handful expressing concern. Several thousand Marylanders submitted written comments in support. The Commission even cited overwhelming public support for the projects in their approval Order.

“Requiring the wind projects to be developed 24 nautical miles offshore is a nail in the coffin for the jobs, clean energy, and environmental benefits offshore wind will bring to the Eastern Shore and to Maryland,” said Karla Raettig, Executive Director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “Ocean City is a magical place that has every right to preserve its legacy. With all due respect for the concerns of the Council, we believe this resolution represents groundless, short-sighted, reactionary thinking that simply does not correspond with the mindset of the people who visit this beloved town every year. The leaders of Ocean City should reaffix their gaze not to an imagined eyesore off their coastline, but to the future.”

The offshore wind projects are scheduled to create more than 9,000 jobs and establish Maryland as a leader in the offshore wind power industry. With Maryland experiencing frequent code orange and red air quality alerts over the past few years, this clean renewable energy project is sorely needed to help us transition away from polluting fossil fuels that make it harder to breathe.  

“The desire to move the turbines to 24 nautical miles offshore is an arbitrary and unnecessary limitation that is not based on science, math, or economics,” said David Smedick, Campaign and Policy Director for the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club. “This resolution is sending a chilling message to the burgeoning offshore wind industry, just as it is poised to blossom in our state, that it should take its thousands of jobs elsewhere.”

In OpinionWorks polling released last month, 72 percent of voters in the Lower Shore’s District 38 expressed support for the offshore wind projects as currently proposed, rather than pushing them out further from shore. With 43 percent strongly favoring the current proposal, only 22 percent oppose it. In the polling, 267 voters were queried about their attitudes.

According to developers, for observers on the clearest and sunniest of days standing on the shore, the horizon is at a distance of 2.9 miles, but for an observer standing on the top of a 100-foot building on the shore, the horizon is at a distance of 12.2 miles. Therefore, due to the curvature of the earth, offshore wind turbines more than 12.2 miles out from the shore will be slightly visible to observers standing on the top of a 100-foot building. On top of that, one of the wind developers has already accommodated Ocean City by agreeing to move their site from 12 to 17 miles offshore.

“The wind blowing off the coast of Ocean City is a blessing,” said Rev. Gregg Knepp, the senior pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Ocean City. “To harness that energy would create jobs, establish our region as a leader in the offshore wind power industry and demonstrate we are willing to do our part to address climate change and protect our coast from sea-level rise.”

The Maryland Climate Coalition brings together environmental, faith, health, labor, and civic organizations to advance clean energy and climate policies in Maryland. For more information about the Maryland Climate Coalition, visit: http://marylandclimatecoalition.org/

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Maryland Leaders Push for Clean Energy Expansion and Jobs Bill on First Day of General Assembly

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For Immediate Release
January 10, 2018

Contact:
Karla Raettig, Maryland League of Conservation Voters, kraettig@mdlcv.org cell: 202-674-3174
Brooke Harper, CCAN Action Fund, brooke@chesapeakeclimate.org cell: 301-992-6875

Maryland Leaders Push for Clean Energy Expansion and Jobs Bill on First Day of General Assembly
2018 legislation would boost wind and solar while building a diverse workforce

ANNAPOLIS— On the first day of the 2018 Maryland General Assembly session, dozens of Maryland faith, community, business, and labor leaders rallied on Lawyer’s Mall to support a campaign to require that 50 percent of Maryland’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030. The Clean Energy Jobs Campaign proposes legislation to expand and strengthen Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 50 percent by 2030. The campaign will also call for a substantial investment in training for good clean energy jobs with a livable wage and assistance for minority, veteran, and women owned businesses working in this field.

This bill is the most broadly supported clean energy bill ever in Maryland with more than 647 faith, community, labor, business, climate and environmental groups from across Maryland have already endorsed this proposal. In addition to being a priority campaign for the Maryland Climate Coalition, it is recently endorsed by the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, Interfaith Power and Light (DC, MD, NoVA) along with many Maryland faith groups, American Wind Energy Association, Neighborhood SUN, the Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches, labor union 1199SEIU, the Maryland Environmental Health Network, and many top environmental organizations such as the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and the CCAN Action Fund. A poll released on Monday found that Maryland voters overwhelmingly support the policy, with approximately 75 percent of voters in two key legislative districts supporting the bill.

“Climate change disproportionately affects communities of color here in Maryland, with nearly two in five Latinos living within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant. We must double our renewable energy commitment to 50% by 2030 to improve air quality for all Marylanders” Ramon Palencia-Calvo, Director of Chispa Maryland of Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

“With the climate crisis at our doorstep, it’s clear that Maryland needs to take aggressive action to move off fossil fuels and dramatically expand renewable energy sources. We need to double our efforts and double wind and solar. This is the future that Marylanders overwhelmingly want.” Brooke Harper, Maryland and DC Policy Director at the CCAN Action Fund.

“With the Clean Energy Jobs Act, we have the opportunity to make Maryland a leader in renewable energy that is truly clean. Let’s bring thousands of new jobs to Maryland. Let’s make sure everyone benefits from the renewable energy economy. We know we can double renewable energy in Maryland and lift everyone in our communities. Let’s get it done.” Delegate Bill Frick (D-16) of Montgomery County.

“Through Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, we’ve created new industries that didn’t exist before. We’ve brought renewable and wind energy to Maryland, along with its multitude of benefits to our economy and public health. Now it’s time to expand that policy and double wind and solar in Maryland.” Senator Brian Feldman (D-15) of Montgomery County.

“Thanks to solar power, thousands of Maryland households and business are cutting their electricity bills while investing in local, clean energy. Expanding Maryland’ Renewable Portfolio Standard will create new 20,000 solar jobs, bring billions of dollars of clean energy investment into the state, and send a signal that Maryland is reclaiming renewable energy leadership from Washington.” David Murray, Executive Director of Maryland DC Virginia Solar Energy Industries.

“As people of faith we are called to be good stewards of the environment and we are compelled to care for our neighbors. We can be faithful to both of these expectations by supporting the Clean Energy Jobs Initiative and ensuring passage of the Clean Energy Jobs legislation.” Reverend Kobi Little, Political Action Committee chairman for the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP.

“1199SEIU supports this bill because dirty energy is killing Marylanders. Many of the residents I care for suffer from asthma. With more of our electricity coming from clean renewable energy, fewer people will suffer from health problems caused by air pollution.” Susan Clarke, Nursing Assistant of FutureCare Nursing Home, and Delegate 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, Maryland’s largest healthcare union.

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The Maryland Climate Coalition brings together environmental, faith, health, labor, and civic organizations to advance clean energy and climate policies in Maryland.  For more information about the Maryland Climate Coalition, visit http://www.marylandclimatecoalition.org.

 

 


Marylanders Rally Behind State Climate Leadership, Thank Governors for Cutting Pollution, Call For More Protections For Environmental Justice Communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 25, 2017 at 11 am ET

CONTACT: Emily Pomilio, emily.pomilio@sierraclub.org(480) 286-0401

Emma Stieglitz, estieglitz@climatenexus.org(267) 566-4238  

Morgan Folger, mfolger@environmentamerica.org(203) 343-1736

Marylanders Rally Behind State Climate Leadership, Thank Governors for Cutting Pollution, Call For More Protections For Environmental Justice Communities 

Nine States Present Plan to Reduce Power Plant Emissions Another 30 Percent by 2030

BALTIMORE, MD — Community leaders rallied at the War Memorial Plaza today to celebrate and improve the bipartisan plan by nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic governors to cut pollution from power plants 30 percent by the year 2030. The nine states make up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), America’s first and only multi-state program to limit pollution from power plants and accelerate our transition to clean energy. 

The governors’ proposal to reduce emissions stands in stark contrast to Trump Administration efforts to deregulate polluters and roll back basic environmental protections.

The rally was organized by a coalition of environmental, business, community, and grassroots organizations which advocated for deeper pollution cuts and more protections for and investment in overburdened and underserved communities during the 20-month-long negotiation process. The rally preceded RGGI’s Monday stakeholder meeting, where state officials presented their proposal for public input. 

“From 2009 to 2014, pollution reductions from RGGI saved the region around $5.7 billion in health costs,” said Sara Via, co-lead of the Climate Health Action Team at Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Strengthening RGGI is a huge win for public health. We’ll prevent more cases of asthma and heart disease, we’ll lower the number of times people have to miss work or school for illness, and we’ll help people live longer, healthier lives.”

Local leaders called for the need to further improve the program in the coming years by examining the disproportionate impact of pollution on poor communities and to focus investment for efficiency and renewable energy in those areas — as well as continuing the charge to reduce pollution from power plants, cars and trucks, and other sources.

“The health impacts of electricity generation disproportionately fall on communities of color and the poor, and are commonly associated with smaller fossil fuel power plants located in or near these communities,” said Sheryl Musgrove from Pace Energy and Climate Center. “To address this issue, we need to expand RGGI to cover emissions from smaller power plants, apply an environmental justice screen to all decision making and ensure that RGGI revenue is reinvested in energy efficiency and renewable energy measures targeted for households in these communities.”

“We work with communities that are suffering from the effects of air pollution daily,” said Johana Vicente, Community Organizer, Chispa Maryland. “Although we thank Maryland officials for their work on creating this plan, we urge them to work to ensure that the communities most affected by environmental degradation are getting the benefits from RGGI.”

Over the last decade, the nine RGGI states have proven that action to clean up pollution delivers major benefits. For example, the program has enabled states to invest more than $2.7 billion in clean energy, energy efficiency and consumer benefit programs to date. That has had a real and meaningful impact on people’s lives.

Using grants available through RGGI, David Barrow, a retired federal employee from Frederick County, Maryland, made several upgrades to his home’s insulation, heating, and electricity systems. The efficiency measures lowered his energy bill from an unaffordable $6,000 per year to $530 per year and enabled him to continue living in his home during his retirement.

“I sleep well at night knowing that I can afford to stay in the home where my wife and I raised our family,” said David Barrow. “RGGI is a clear example of how protecting environment also helps families and communities. We’re proud that Maryland is part of RGGI and we hope that other families can benefit from the program the way we did.”

By supporting projects like one undertaken by the Barrows, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative creates thousands of jobs across the region for HVAC technicians, solar installers, well drillers, home energy auditors and insulation installers. RGGI state economies have grown by an impressive 25 percent, and have boosted employment by more than 30,000 jobs, generating nearly $3 billion in economic growth.

A new analysis by the Acadia Center shows that economic growth and climate action go hand in hand. Since RGGI was established in 2009, member states have reduced emissions by 15 percent more than other states, and experienced 4.3 percent more economic growth than non-RGGI states.

Making the RGGI program stronger will generate even more benefits. For example, the tighter emissions cap will result in 130 million fewer tons of CO2 and $1.28 billion in avoided health impacts. It will also generate on the order of seven billion additional dollars through 2030 for clean energy programs.


Faith, Community and Climate Leaders Announce Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Campaign

Contact:
Vinny DeMarco
Founder
Md. Clean Energy Jobs Initiative
demarco@mdinitiative.org
(410) 591-9162

Contact:
Brooke Harper
DC Policy Director
Chesapeake Climate Action
brooke@chesapeakeclimate.org
(301) 992-6875

 

 

 

 

IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 12, 2017

Faith, Community and Climate Leaders Announce
Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Campaign

Baltimore–On Wednesday, September 13, at 10:00 a.m. at the Episcopal Diocesan Center, 4 East University Parkway in Baltimore City, Maryland faith, community and climate leaders will announce a new campaign to require that 50 percent of Maryland’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030. The campaign will unveil a legislative proposal that calls for expanding and strengthening Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which requires utilities to buy a certain percentage of renewable energy each year, from the current target of 25 percent by 2020. The campaign will also call for a substantial investment in training for good clean energy jobs with a livable wage and assistance for minority and women owned businesses working in this field.

Campaign leaders will stand, arms linked, with than 300 faith, community, labor, business, climate, and environmental groups from across Maryland that have already endorsed this proposal. The Campaign also plans to have hundreds of additional groups endorse in the next few months and will call on Maryland groups to join by going to www.cleanenergyjobs.org/sign.

In addition to being endorsed by the Ecumenical Leaders Group of Maryland and many Maryland faith groups, the Campaign is endorsed by the Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches and is a priority campaign for the Maryland Climate Coalition, whose groups include the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Interfaith Power and Light (DC, MD, NoVA), SEIU 1199, and the Maryland Environmental Health Network.

Quotes from Maryland Leaders:

“We call on the Maryland General Assembly to double our goals for renewable energy during the 2018 Session so we can save lives and transition our energy sector away from harmful fossil fuels and toward a clean energy economy,” said Public Health Advocate Vincent DeMarco, who recently formed a new nonprofit, the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative, Inc., whose goal is to elevate climate issues in the electoral process. “There is no time to waste, so our organization will put all we have into making renewable energy and clean energy jobs one of the top issues in the 2018 state elections.”

“As the federal government moves backwards on climate, Maryland is moving forward,” said Karla Raettig, Executive Director of Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “We believe that committing to a 50% RPS is a reachable and meaningful stepping stone to eventually achieving 100% clean energy in Maryland.”

“The Maryland faith community strongly supports the goal of making sure that by 2030, 50 percent of Maryland’s electrical energy is renewable,” said Rev. Mary Gaut, Chair of the Maryland Ecumenical Leaders Group. “We have a moral imperative to enact this social justice proposal that will help save us from the ravages of climate change and ensure clean energy jobs for our people.”

“The NAACP is committed to making the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Campaign one of our top priorities,” said Gerald Stansbury, President of the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP “We know that all Marylanders, particularly disadvantaged communities, will benefit from from protecting our climate and ensuring good quality jobs.”

“The American Wind Energy Association strongly endorses this major clean energy legislation to advance Maryland as a national leader in the 21st Century economy,” said Andrew Gohn, Director of Eastern State Policy for the American Wind Energy Association. “Massive reductions in the price of wind energy in recent years means a diverse mix of clean energy sources can take us much farther than even seemed possible just a few years ago. In passing this bill, Maryland will create jobs, drive economic development, improve public health, and keep rates stable with fuel-free clean energy.”

“From Cumberland to Salisbury, solar energy is empowering Maryland residents and businesses to generate their own electricity and save money on energy bills,” said David Murray, Executive Director of Maryland-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association. “Raising the Renewable Portfolio Standard will create tens of thousands of new solar jobs in Maryland, and ensure the 5,400 solar workers already employed in the state can continue to make it a leader in clean energy growth.”

Follow along on social media using the hashtags #Forwardwith50 and #ClimateForward # # #

The Maryland Climate Coalition brings together environmental, faith, health, labor, and civic organizations to advance clean energy and climate policies in Maryland.

For more information about the Maryland Climate Coalition, visit:

http://marylandclimatecoalition.org/member-organizations/

The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative will work to enact legislation to ensure that 50% of Maryland’s electricity comes from renewable sources by 2030. For more information, visit:

https://www.cleanenergyjobs.org/about/

 

 


Statement on Maryland’s Participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

final2 (2)

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 23, 2017

For more information contact:
Karla Raettig, Maryland League of Conservation Voters (c) 202-674-3174
David Smedick, Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club (p) 301-277-7111


STATEMENT ON MARYLAND’S PARTICIPATION IN THE REGIONAL GREENHOUSE GAS INITIATIVE

Annapolis, MD—The Maryland Climate Coalition applauds today’s announcement from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) unveiling an even stronger program for reducing carbon emissions. The program will result in a 30% reduction by 2030 from 2020 levels. The Coalition appreciates the participation of the Hogan Administration, including Secretary Ben Grumbles and Public Service Commission Chairman Kevin Hughes, and their support for a stronger RGGI. Over the past eight and a half years of operation, RGGI has been an unquestioned success for Maryland and neighboring states.

A transformational and first program of its kind in the United States, RGGI is a cooperative effort by nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electricity generating plants, while maintaining electricity affordability and reliability. The states participating are Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Maryland’s participation in RGGI will reduce CO2 emissions from the State’s electricity generators by roughly 10 percent from current levels by 2019. The program also directly funds energy efficiency and cleaner energy programs that will lower greenhouse gas emissions and put money and jobs back into the community.

“Nearly 8 in 10 voters in RGGI states support strengthening carbon pollution limits, including Marylanders,” said Karla Raettig, Executive Director of Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “In this current national political environment, it’s more important than ever for Governor Hogan to take the lead and stand strong with the other states in RGGI, which is why we are pleased that the Hogan administration joined with the other RGGI state governors to made additional reductions.”

“We look forward to seeing the final state regulations with enhancements to pollution reduction goals,” said Tamara Toles O’Laughlin , Executive Director of the Maryland Environmental Health Network. “RGGI markets that fail to account for pollution impacts playing out at the neighborhood level increase burdens on communities that are already vulnerable to heightened environmental threats.”

“Overall, we’re pleased with the updates to the RGGI program because it sets a solid baseline for climate action in Maryland and the region for the next decade,” said David Smedick, Campaign and Policy Directory at the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Next, we all need to do more to ensure the equitable distribution of the benefits associated with lowered pollution and RGGI auction revenue. With the pollution reduction framework established, we now need to turn inward and evaluate if our communities are being invested in equitably. We’re excited Governor Hogan, Secretary Grumbles, and Chairman Hughes were able to step up and work with other states to come together to act on climate and increase clean energy within the region. Clean energy means clean air, clean water and better jobs in Maryland and we hope this is the launching point for even more progress on an equitable climate movement.”

Maryland Climate Coalition seeks to unite Marylanders to mitigate climate change to protect our environment, health, and economy. The Coalition works with a broad range of partners engaging in policy advocacy, grassroots organizing, and public education.

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The Maryland Climate Coalition brings together environmental, faith, health, labor, and civic organizations to advance clean energy and climate policies in Maryland. For more information about the Maryland Climate Coalition, visit:

http://marylandclimatecoalition.org/member-organizations/