Maryland Passed the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act in 2016
In 2009 Maryland’s General Assembly passed the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act (GGRA). This groundbreaking law requires statewide, science-based reductions in the greenhouse gases (GHG) that are changing our climate and threatening our health. In order to achieve those reductions, this law also required the creation of Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan. Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan lays out state actions to achieve the required 25% reduction in GHG from 2006 levels by 2020. The law, however, needed to be reauthorized in the 2016 legislative session.
The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2009 directed the state to reduce climate pollution by 25 percent by 2020, and led to the creation of Maryland’s wide-ranging Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan, which includes more than 150 programs. Through the plan, Maryland committed to implement smart environmental and economic strategies, such as increasing clean energy use, helping customers save energy and money through Maryland’s EmPower program, and participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a regional program that reduces carbon pollution from coal-burning power plants.
A report in October 2015 the Maryland Department of the Environment detailed that the state is on track to meet its 25 percent by 2020 reduction goal while simultaneously supporting tens of thousands of new jobs. It estimates the benefit to the state’s economy of the current greenhouse gas reduction plan is between $2.5 billion and $3.5 billion by 2020 and helps create and maintain between 26,000 and 33,000 new jobs.
On April 4th, Governor Hogan signed the landmark Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2016 into law. The bill, SB 323/HB 610, renewed the 2009 Maryland law that sets a goal to reduce climate-polluting greenhouse gas emissions statewide by 25 percent by 2020. The 2016 bill also further extended the goal to a 40 percent reduction by 2030, requiring long-term cuts in pollution and positioning Maryland just behind California and New York for climate goals. The law is expected to help create and maintain tens of thousands of jobs and represents a balanced, science-based approach to reduce carbon pollution.