Letter to Maryland General Assembly: Our Legislative Agenda

Our 2020 Legislative Agenda

The Maryland Climate Coalition has been on the forefront of state-wide climate legislation over the past decade. Our member organizations worked side-by-side with legislators and other stakeholders to enact stronger environmental protections, lay the groundwork for offshore wind, and promote energy efficiency, smart transportation, and incentives for clean energy. Given the extreme climate threat facing Maryland — a state particularly vulnerable to climate change — and our coalition’s desire to place environmental justice at the forefront of the agenda, over the past several months we have expanded our table and re-envisioned the response we believe is necessary to address the crisis.  

Today, the Maryland Climate Coalition includes 29 organizations representing environmental, faith, labor, transportation, and community interests.  The Coalition believes that Maryland, which is blessed with one of the world’s strongest economies, has a responsibility to meet or exceed the goals laid out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. To align with these goals, we are proposing, among other measures, the most stringent economy-wide emission reduction targets in the country under Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act. We have a vision for climate action that looks at the entirety of the greenhouse gas problems our state is experiencing from every major source—not just energy usage. Our focus has expanded to include the electricity, transportation, industrial, commercial, residential, agricultural, and forest sectors.

We believe Maryland can be an example to other states of how to solve such a huge, existential crisis.  

Our vision includes:

  • An aggressive effort to reduce overall greenhouse emissions by 60% by 2030 and to net zero by 2045, and net negative after that — numbers that are consistent with the best available science;
  • A plan to transition from fossil fuel infrastructure to clean energy while supporting impacted communities and workers and creating high quality new jobs;;
  • A decision to promote energy democracy and put decisions related to energy supply into the hands of the people;
  • Increased investment in public transportation, coupled with higher density housing located near transportation hubs to decrease the reliance on cars;
  • An investment in transitioning buses, fleets, and other light duty vehicles to electric vehicles;
  • An investment in retrofitting buildings and constructing more zero energy schools and homes;
  • A shift in in land uses and agricultural subsidies to promote regenerative healthy soils practices that will sequester carbon, decrease greenhouse gases, and protect the Bay watershed, as well as enhance natural forests and protect vital wetlands. 
  • A greater effort to support composting and recycling.

Our agenda is sweeping and aggressive, but the clock is ticking. The urgency of the climate crisis demands that we expedite the legislative process. We encourage you to support the bills listed below. If  passed this session, Maryland will be in a far better position to rise to the challenge of this moment. 

GREENHOUSE GAS REDUCTION ACT REFORM 

  • HB1425/SB0926 – Climate Solutions Act of 2020 (Del. Stein/Sen. Pinsky)

RENEWABLE PORTFOLIO STANDARD (RPS) CLEANUP 

  • HB0098/SB0168 – Electricity – Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard – Qualifying Biomass (Del. Davis/Sen. Kelley)
  • HB0438/SB0560 – Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard – Eligible Sources (Del. Mosby/Sen. Hough)

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION CLIMATE TEST 

  • HB0531/SB0656 – Utility Regulation – Consideration of Climate and Labor (Del. Charkoudian/Sen. Kramer)

TRANSITION OFF COAL  

  • HB1545/SB0887 – Electric Generation – Transition From Fossil Fuels – Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rate and Transition Account (Del. Barve/Sen. West)

CHOICE ENERGY 

  • HB0561/SB0315 – Electric Industry – Community Choice Energy (Del. Charkoudian/Sen. Beidle)

TRANSPORTATION 

  • HB0368/SB0424 – Transit Safety and Investment Act (Del. Lierman/Sen. Zucker)
  • HB0111/SB0734 – Electric Vehicle Recharging Equipment for MultiFamily Units Act (Del. Korman)
  • HB1223 – Clean Cars Act of 2020 (Del. Fraser-Hidalgo)
  • HB0432/SB0423 – Electric Bus Transition Act (Del. Korman/Sen. Zucker)
  • HB1233 – State Vehicle Fleet – Conversion to Zero-Emission Electric Vehicles (Del. Fraser-Hidalgo)
  • HB1526 – Transportation Carbon Reduction Fund – Establishment (Transportation Carbon Fund Act) (Del. Korman)
  • HB1451 – School Bus Purchasing – Zero–Emission Vehicle – Requirement (Del. Fraser-Hidalgo)

RETROFITS OF EXISTING BUILDINGS AND NEW BUILDING STANDARDS

  • HB1295 – School Clean Energy (Del. Solomon)
  • HB192 – Department of General Services – Energy Conserving Standards (Maryland Sustainable Building Act of 2020) (Del. Hill)

COMPOSTING/RECYCLING 

  • HB0589 – Solid Waste Management – Organics Recycling and Waste Diversion – Food Residuals (Del. Charkoudian)

HEALTHY SOILS 

  • HB0687/SB0597 – Agriculture – Cost Sharing Program – Fixed Natural Filter Practices (Del. Stein/Sen. Young)
  • HB0395 – Maryland Strategic Energy Investment Fund – Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – Use of Proceeds For Maryland Healthy Soils Program (Del. Krimm)
  • HB1176 – Maryland Healthy Soils Grant Program (Del. Stein)

We ask that you ensure that the legislation that forms our response to the climate crisis is implemented without delay.  The cost of inaction is high. Every piece of legislation that gets delayed or abandoned results in a more difficult and expensive solution. 

The Coalition is happy to answer questions about any of the individual pieces of legislation as well as the overall vision in an effort to support you in being a leader in addressing the climate crisis.

Signatories: 

CCAN Action Fund

Central Maryland Transportation Alliance

Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility

Climate Law & Policy Project 

The Climate Mobilization, Montgomery County 

Elders Climate Action – DMV Chapter

Greenbelt Climate Action Network

Howard County Climate Action

Indivisible Howard County

Interfaith Power & Light DMV

League of Women Voters of Maryland

Maryland League of Conservation Voters

Maryland Legislative Coalition

Maryland Pesticide Education Network

Nuclear Information and Resource Service

Sierra Club – Maryland Chapter

Sunrise Movement Howard County

Takoma Park Mobilization Environment Committee

Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland

Waterkeepers Chesapeake