Press Room - Maryland Climate Coalition

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

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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/


Statement on Congressman Andy Harris’ Amendment to Kill Offshore Wind

IMMEDIATE RELEASE           
July 19, 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  

 

MARYLAND CLIMATE COALITION:
STATEMENT ON CONGRESSMAN ANDY HARRIS’ AMENDMENT 
TO KILL OFFSHORE WIND

 

Annapolis, MD- The Maryland Climate Coalition (MDCC) condemned Congressman Andy Harris’ amendment to the House Appropriations Committee legislation that would prohibit the Department of Interior from reviewing, and ultimately signing off on site assessments and construction plans for recently approved Offshore Wind projects in Maryland. This proposal will essentially kill the two offshore wind projects just approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission. Today we urge Governor Hogan, Maryland’s legislative leaders, and our Public Service Commission to tell Congressman Harris to stop overriding the will of our state.
 
After six years of public debate and hearings, and deliberations by the Maryland General Assembly and the Public Service Commission, the Congressman’s proposal seeks to circumvent Maryland’s overwhelming support for developing wind energy off the Atlantic coast. At public hearings hosted by the Public Service Commission for the projects, over 300 Marylanders spoke in support for offshore wind in Maryland and off the coast of Ocean City. Several thousand Marylanders submitted written comments in support. The Commission even cited overwhelming public support for the projects in their approval Order.
 
“When we began working on offshore wind over seven years ago, we worked together with our coalition partners to bring all stakeholders to the table, including local community leaders, labor organizations, elected officials, faith leaders, and health professionals for the common goal of improving the air quality in this state. Congressman Harris is ignoring the will of Marylanders and his constituents,” stated Karla Raettig, Executive Director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “Our state and especially Congressman Harris’ district is particularly vulnerable to climate change and this amendment is just willful ignorance to move our state into a clean energy economy.”

“Offshore wind has broad public support in Maryland. Congressman Harris has put his fringe, personal agenda ahead of the interests of his constituents and the state,” said David Smedick, Campaign and Policy Director for the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Offshore wind is going to be an economic driver for Maryland, and is wildly popular. We’ve seen supporters come out to events and hearings across the state for many years, including In the Lower Eastern Shore, Annapolis, and Baltimore. As we work to clean our air and protect our communities, and climate from fossil fuels, we need to move to our abundant clean energy resources like offshore wind.” 

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 this summer, this clean renewable energy project is sorely needed to help us transition away from polluting fossil fuels that make it harder to breathe. 

The Congressman’s proposal essentially oversteps the will of the people of Maryland and our state government and exerts federal power where it is unwanted, inappropriate, and unneeded. Marylanders want to grow clean energy and fight climate change, not get held back by Washington’s recent anti-climate action efforts.  

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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An Open Letter to Governor Hogan and the General Assembly: Affirming Maryland’s Leadership in Addressing Climate Change

For immediate release: Friday, June 16, 2017

Contact:
Karla Raettig
Executive Director
Maryland League of Conservation Voters
Mobile: 202-674-3174
Email: kraettig@mdlcv.org

Alfred Bartlett, M.D.
Executive Director Co-Lead, Climate Health Action Team
Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility
Mobile: 240-383-9109
Email: AlfredBartlett@msn.com

An Open Letter to Governor Hogan and the General Assembly:
Affirming Maryland’s Leadership in Addressing Climate Change

With President Trump’s abdication of U.S. leadership on climate change, states now become the key actors in committing to—and achieving—the greenhouse gas reductions needed to slow and ultimately arrest global warming. Maryland is especially vulnerable to the increasingly violent storms, sea level rise, flooding, heat emergencies, and other environmental effects of climate change. In this moment when our nation’s partnership with the global community in addressing this threat has been called into question, Maryland urgently needs to re-affirm our commitment to doing our part. The Maryland Climate Coalition urges the executive and legislative branches of our state government to work together so that Maryland can serve as a national example.

In the absence of federal leadership—and, in some cases, in the face of federal policies that will push our climate in the wrong direction—Maryland and other states will have to work harder to protect our citizens and the world.  Maryland has much to teach, gain, and learn through partnerships with other states. Whether through formal alliances like the U.S. Climate Alliance or the Compact of States and Regions constituted under the U.N. mechanism that supports the Paris Agreement, or through some other framework, we encourage our state government to enter progress-oriented partnerships with other states.  

But the most important reflections of Maryland’s commitment will be the actions that you, our elected leaders, take in the coming months and years.  

We applaud the leadership steps that Maryland has recently taken. In 2016, our legislators passed and the Governor signed reauthorization of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act (GGRA), which sets the goal of reducing CO2 emissions in the state by 40 per cent by 2030. This is even more ambitious than the goals laid out for the United States in the Paris Agreement.  

Since then, important steps have been taken by our state to move toward that goal:

  • The Maryland Public Service Commission approved development of the nation’s first, full-scale offshore wind electricity generating projects.
  • The General Assembly enacted a law that commits Maryland to achieving 25 per cent of our energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.
  • The executive and legislative branches worked together to enact a ban on fracking.
  • The General Assembly passed and Gov. Hogan signed into law a 30 percent tax credit to those who choose to utilize energy storage technology, making it the first state in the country to pass such legislation. 
  • The two branches also worked together to establish a new law promoting increased use of electric vehicles through a renewal of a tax credit and beginning investment in the charging stations needed to make wider electric vehicle use feasible.
  • A new law enacted by the General Assembly establishes energy efficiency targets that will reduce the need for fossil fuel-generated power and save utility consumers money.


These steps, however, are just the beginning of the actions needed.  By the end of 2018, our state must complete its plan to reach our GGRA goals.  Because electricity generation and transportation are the major sources of CO2 production, that plan must include:

  • Setting targets for reducing carbon emissions in the electric sector by at least 5 per cent annually through our participation in the 9-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI);
  • Supporting and accelerating environmentally responsible expansion of wind and solar energy development;
  • Aggressively working to remove coal and other combustible fuels from our electric power generation mix;
  • Expanding and strengthening EmPOWER and other programs to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy use;
  • Through the Public Service Commission’s “PC44” process and other analyses, planning and investing in modernization of our electric grid to take advantage of the rapid development of clean energy from multiple sources;
  • Supporting and promoting electrification of public, private, and commercial transportation;
  • Assisting municipalities in developing more walkable and bikeable urban environments;
  • Through responsible and caring management, assuring the participation of all Marylanders in our transition to a clean energy economy;
  • Supporting our citizens whose livelihoods are touched by this transition to participate with security and dignity.

Our participation in the RGGI has proven that we can have both reduced carbon emissions and solid economic development.  The rapid expansion of the solar industry and the new commitments from offshore wind developers have proven that building a clean energy economy can bring thousands of good jobs and whole new industries to Maryland.

The below organizations in the Maryland Climate Coalition stand ready to assist—through technical analyses, advocacy, public information campaigns, and any other means at our disposal—in developing and supporting the policies, legislation, and programs our state will need to continue addressing the threat of climate change, on behalf of our citizens, the global community, and future generations.  

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/

Signatories:

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East – Maryland/DC Division 

Chesapeake Climate Action Network

Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility

Earthjustice

Environment Maryland

Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA)

Labor Network for Sustainability

Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative

Maryland Environmental Health Network

Maryland League of Conservation Voters

Maryland Organizing for Action

Moms Clean Air Force, Maryland Chapter

Sierra Club-Maryland Chapter

Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland


PSC Approves Nation’s Largest Offshore Wind Proposals to Date

For immediate release: Thursday, May 10, 2017

Media Contact:

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

Dan Furmansky, (301) 461-4900, danfurmansky@gmail.com

PSC Approves Nation’s Largest Offshore Wind Proposals to Date

Annapolis, M.D. —The Public Service Commission (PSC) granted Skipjack Offshore Energy and U.S. Wind offshore wind renewable energy credits (ORECs) today enabling them to move forward with their proposals to build 368 megawatts of offshore wind, located off the coast of Ocean City and and Delaware, and creating 9,700 jobs in the process. The approval of these projects puts Maryland in the running for the nation’s largest offshore wind farms.

In 2013, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation that paved the way for the state to launch its own offshore wind industry. Just last month, more than 250 people showed up to PSC hearings in Berlin and Annapolis underscoring the widespread support of offshore wind across the state. Various environmental organizations are looking forward to continuing work with the developers to ensure wildlife is protected throughout the construction and operation of the projects.

In addition to jumpstarting the East Coast’s clean energy industry by bringing local jobs and economic development to the state, the inclusion of offshore wind in Maryland’s energy production helps reduce the state’s reliance on coal and other dirty fossil fuels, safeguarding our environment, saving ratepayers’ money and protecting our health.

In response, the following organizations provided the below comments:

“This is a monumental win for the economy and the environment in Maryland,” David Smedick, Maryland Beyond Coal Campaign and Policy Representative for the Sierra Club said. The people have shown up and spoken out in support of offshore wind and now it’s clear that the state is ready to move forward too. We have been working to get offshore wind to Maryland for over five years so this decision from the PSC is truly one of our biggest moments.”

“By harnessing the power of the wind blowing off our coast, Maryland is creating a clean energy future that protects wildlife and their habitats and communities in the Free State,” Jennifer Mihills, Mid-Atlantic Associate Director, National Wildlife Federation said. “Guided by strong conservation principles, offshore wind can be sited, constructed, and operated in a manner that is protective of our coastal and marine wildlife.”

“With today’s decision by the Public Service Commission, Maryland’s clean energy future couldn’t be brighter. These projects will not only unlock a huge, untapped source of renewable energy, they will create thousands of new jobs in manufacturing and other sectors – all within earshot of President Trump’s White House,” Susan Stevens Miller, staff attorney with Earthjustice’s clean energy program said. “Earthjustice is proud to stand with the thousands of Marylanders who worked so hard to make this decision happen. The message from Maryland is clear – clean, renewable, job-creating energy is our future.”

“We applaud the Public Service Commission for putting Maryland at the forefront of the offshore wind industry in the United States,” Karla Raettig, Executive Director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters said. “With wide public support and a large grassroots coalition, we passed statewide legislation in 2013 and these projects are an essential part of Maryland’s efforts to combat climate change.”

“Marylanders suffer from a very high incidence of asthma, cardiovascular disease, and premature death from air pollution emitted by Maryland’s coal-fired power plants.  Offshore wind will greatly reduce these health risks by providing pollution-free power,” Sara Via, PhD, Professor and Extension Specialist, University of Maryland, College Park and Co-lead, Climate Health Action Team, at Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility said. “A recent study from Harvard estimates that the health benefits of an offshore wind project approximately the size proposed by US Wind will amount to about $120/month/family, at a cost the PSC estimates will be only about $1/month. That’s a great return on investment!”

“The Maryland Environmental Health Network supports the decision of the PSC to bring large scale offshore wind to Maryland because it is real opportunity to displace pollution that increases poor health outcomes,” Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, Executive Director at the Maryland Environmental Health Network said. “Maryland ranks fifth in the nation in adult asthma and has some of the worst ground level ozone pollution in our region. It’s high time to act on climate, and embrace renewable energy as a means to cleaner air and better health for all.”

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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/


Business, Environmental, Health, Labor and Faith leaders to Testify in Support of Offshore Wind

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2017
 
Contacts:
Jen Mihills, National Wildlife Federation, 443-759-3400, MihillsJ@nwf.org
Karla Raettig, Maryland League of Conservation Voters, 410-280-9855, kraettig@mdlcv.org
  
Business, Environmental, Health, Labor and Faith leaders to Testify in Support of Offshore Wind
Climate Coalition members will highlight economic and environmental benefits to Maryland Public Service Commission 
 
Annapolis, Md – Maryland Climate Coalition members will testify at two public hearings in the coming week to highlight the economic, health and environmental benefits of proposed Maryland offshore wind projects. The Maryland Public Service Coalition is considering applications for the Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credits (OREC), created by the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013, which would enable the construction of a 248 megawatt wind farm off the state’s coast. The 2013 legislation also provided safeguards for ratepayers and carves out up to 2.5 percent of the state’s energy supply for offshore wind energy, creating a demand for the new clean energy source.
 
“The Public Service Commission should quickly approve an offshore wind project that benefits all Maryland residents,” said Karla Raettig, executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “Otherwise, Maryland will lose the economic, health, jobs and climate benefits of wind power as other states seize the opportunity to become the Mid-Atlantic hub for this booming industry.”
 
Maryland is poised to install the first large, utility-scale offshore wind project in the nation. The Maryland Climate Coalition says that Maryland offshore wind energy will help reduce greenhouse gases and provide health benefits to our state, which is frequently given poor air quality ratings by the American Lung Association. Advocates say approving the projects will position Maryland to become the East Coast hub for the offshore wind energy industry, creating new jobs and other economic development benefits.
 
“By harnessing the power of offshore wind, Maryland can limit pollution by decreasing the use of fossil fuels that pose the biggest threat to human health, our wildlife and ocean resources,” said Jen Mihills, associate director of National Wildlife Federation’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Center.
 
Experts from the public health and environmental fields will be speaking in favor of the OREC, along with business, labor and faith leaders. The coalition also encourages the public to attend either of the two upcoming public hearings and speak in support of offshore wind in Maryland.
 
Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 12 noon
Stephen Decatur Middle School Cafeteria
9815 Seahawk Road
Berlin, MD 21811
 
Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 6 pm
Legislative Services Building, Joint Committee Hearing Room
90 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401
 
In addition to the hearings, the Climate Coalition encourages members of the public to submit written comments by Friday, April 7, 2017 to:  
 
David J. Collins, Executive Secretary Maryland Public Service Commission
William Donald Schaefer Tower6 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
Please be sure to include the case number (9431) with all comments.
 
According to its website, the Maryland PSC must approve, conditionally approve, or deny the proposed offshore wind project applications no later than May 17, 2017. Information on the applications may be viewed or downloaded on the Commission’s website at www.psc.state.md.us.
 
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The Maryland Climate Coalition is made up of local, state, regional, and national non-governmental organizations committed to seeking improved Maryland climate policy and protection. marylandclimatecoalition.org

Maryland Senate Overrides Veto of Clean Energy Jobs Act, Bringing Bill Into Law

For immediate release: February 2, 2017

Contact:

Denise Robbins, 240-396-2022

Chesapeake Climate Action  Network, denise@chesapeakeclimate.org

Allison Rich, 786-897-6689

Maryland Environmental Health Network, ARich@MdEHN.org

Maryland Senate Overrides Veto of Clean Energy Jobs Act, Bringing Bill Into Law

Legislators and advocates in Maryland have come together to restore progressive climate policies. Legislation will increase use of wind and solar while creating family-sustaining jobs and healthier air.
ANNAPOLIS, Md  — The Maryland Senate voted 32-13 to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2016 (SB 921/HB 1106), legislation that will accelerate the state’s reliance on solar and wd power to 25 percent by 2020. The House voted 88-51 to restore the bill on January 31.

Legislators came together to restore the bill, which is widely supported by Maryland Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike. This bipartisan effort reflects public support for the bill with at least 63 percent throughout the state and with some areas peaking at 81 percent in favor, according to Opinion Works.

“Today, the General Assembly sent a clear message that we want our state to be a leader in developing clean energy jobs, promoting better air quality for our communities, and securing energy independence for our children’s future,” said Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton, who serves as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “How appropriate that the sun is shining brightly on the day we bring the Clean Energy Jobs Act into law, signaling our state is open for business to this burgeoning industry.”

The bill raises Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard requirement to 25 percent by 2020, up from the current goal of 20 percent by 2022, including boosting the solar “carve-out” to 2.5 percent by 2020. It will create incentives for roughly 1,300 megawatts of new clean energy in Maryland and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 2.7 million metric tons per year, which is the carbon equivalent of taking 563,000 passenger vehicles off the road every year. These reductions in carbon pollution will significantly improve the state’s air quality while preventing 25 to 50 premature deaths per year. In 2009 alone, Marylanders suffered from almost 40,000 Emergency Department visits and over 11,400 hospitalizations due to asthma, costing families and the state over $99 million.

“The Senate voted for the Clean Energy Jobs Act because it is sound economic and environmental policy,” said Senator Brian Feldman, lead sponsor of the Senate version of bill. “Not only will this legislation create thousands of good-paying green jobs, it will put the State on the road to meeting our renewable energy goals – a vision shared by both Democrats and Republicans across Maryland.”

The legislation uses a market-based system to meet the state’s clean energy targets, and will create over 1,000 living-wage, family-sustaining jobs annually through 2020 in the state’s growing clean energy sector. For less than a penny per day investment per Marylander, the renewable energy expansion will increase net economic growth by up to $600 million per year due to better health outcomes and new solar construction, while creating thousands of new Maryland jobs.

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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/

 


Maryland Begins Final Step in Offshore Wind Project Approval

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 21st, 2016

Contact: Tiffany Hartung, Maryland Climate Coalition, O:(443) 759-3402, C: (248) 933-2451, hartungt@nwf.org

Maryland Begins Final Step in Offshore Wind Project Approval

Public Service Commission begins review of offshore wind proposals

Annapolis, Md.—The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) begins the 180-day proceeding to evaluate offshore wind project proposals today.

“This is the last step for Maryland to move forward with an offshore wind project,” said Karla Raettig of Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “Maryland is excited to utilize this tremendous clean energy and become a leader with this new U.S. industry.”

The passage of the 2013 Maryland Offshore Energy Wind Act created a framework for Maryland to utilize offshore wind as a clean and renewable energy source. In addition to the law creating a market for this developing industry, it also helped ensure that Maryland small businesses, including minority-owned businesses, will be ready to participate in the offshore wind supply chain.

“The wind blowing off the Atlantic coast is a tremendous untapped clean energy source that will create thousands of local jobs and help stabilize electric rates throughout the state,” said Josh Berman of the Sierra Club.

The PSC oversees the process by which offshore wind project developers compete to provide Maryland with offshore wind power. Offshore wind applications are required to meet a set of legislated criteria that provide a net benefit to Marylanders including: long-term price stability, environmental and public health benefits, creating in-state jobs, producing positive economic benefits, reducing transmission congestion costs for consumers, and providing the lowest price (not to exceed $1.50 per month in 2012 dollars).

“Offshore wind energy will help protect people and wildlife from pollution and help Maryland do its part to address climate change,” said Jen Mihills of the National Wildlife Federation.

According to a report by Synapse Energy Economics, a 200 megawatt offshore wind farm in Maryland would result in $75 million in benefits, helping reduce premature death by lowering sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions–harmful pollutants emitted from fossil fuels–and benefiting the climate by reducing carbon pollution.

The PSC began the offshore wind application period on February 25, 2016 and closed it on November 18th, 2016.  It will evaluate the applications based on the legislative net benefit criteria.  Once a project is approved, construction could begin as soon as 2019 and wind turbines could be spinning off of the Atlantic coast as soon as 2020.

Information about the OREC proceeding can be found at www.marylandoffshorewind.com.

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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.