Press Room - Page 2 of 3 - Maryland Climate Coalition

170 Maryland Businesses Support Clean Energy Jobs Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Contact: Tiffany Hartung, Hartungt@nwf.org, (443) 759-3402

 

170 Maryland Businesses Urge State Lawmakers to Act on Major Climate Legislation in 2016

Bills to require long-term cuts in greenhouse gas pollution and to expand Maryland’s clean energy standard will create jobs, a stronger economy, and healthier communities

ANNAPOLIS—In a letter to state legislators, 170 Maryland business owners are supporting action in the 2016 General Assembly to address the growing threat of climate change. Business owners are urging passage of the Clean Energy Jobs Act and the renewal of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2016 to create family-supporting jobs and healthier communities.

“Maryland business owners are urging the legislature to protect families and local communities by acting on climate change and supporting clean, renewable energy,” said Kimberley Armstrong, of Abeona Solutions in Baltimore, MD and signer of the letter. “Climate change threatens our health, economy and air, land and water and we need action from the legislature so Maryland can continue to address it.”

In Maryland, climate change is causing an increase in extreme weather events, which are causing power outages, damaging property, harming Marylanders, and dragging down the economy. In 2011 and 2012 alone, severe weather events cost Maryland taxpayers more than $70 million.

Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, first passed in 2009, requires statewide, science-based reductions in the greenhouse gases that are disrupting the climate and threatening public health.   The 2016 bill, which passed in the Senate today, will renew the existing law while locking in deeper, long-term cuts in economy-wide greenhouse gas pollution — of 40 percent by 2030. Maryland is on track to create and sustain between 26,000 and 33,000 new jobs as a result of programs and policies developed to meet the law’s existing mandate, showing that climate action and a strong economy go hand in hand.

“Maryland gets too much of its energy from burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, and the legislature should seize this opportunity to transition to clean, renewable energy produced right here in Maryland,” said Dr. Ted Sober of Sober Family Eye Care in Nottingham, Maryland and signer of the letter. “Rather than send our money out of state, we should be supporting good-paying, family-supporting clean energy jobs here at home.”

The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act will raise Maryland’s clean energy standard to 25% by 2020 and invest millions of dollars in workforce development and job training in Maryland’s clean energy industry.

Passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act will mean:

  • Jobs for Marylanders –  It will create roughly 4,600 direct jobs in our region from the land-based wind industry alone and nearly 1,000 new Maryland solar jobs per year.
  • Public health savings – Reduced pollution would mean healthier families, and savings of almost $73 per month for the average household.
  • Less pollution – Nearly 1,300 megawatts of clean energy in our region, which is the equivalent of taking 563,000 passenger vehicles off the road every year.

 

The letter, including the full list of signers, is available at http://marylandclimatecoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Business-Sign-On-Letter-for-Clean-Energy1.pdf.

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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.

 


Statement on Senate Passage of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

ContactTiffany Hartung, Maryland Climate Coalition, (443) 759-3402, hartungt@nwf.org

 

Maryland Senate Passes Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act

Sets 40 percent reduction of climate polluting emissions by 2030

Annapolis, M.D.— Today, the Maryland Senate passed the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2016 38-8. The bill, SB 323/HB 610, renews the 2009 Maryland law that sets a goal to reduce Maryland’s climate polluting greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020  through more than 150 programs and further extends the goal to a 40 percent reduction by 2030.

In October, the bipartisan Maryland Commission on Climate Change made up of cabinet secretaries, legislators and stakeholders including union leaders, business and environmental groups released a report formally recommending the Maryland General Assembly extend the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act goals to achieve a 40 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to 2006 levels.  

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.  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.

The Commission’s report 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.  

The 2009 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act sunsets in 2016 and must be reauthorized by Maryland General Assembly during the 2016 session.  The house version of the bill is expected to have a joint hearing in the house Economic Matters and Environment and Transportation Committees on February 26th.

In response, Tiffany Hartung, Senior Coordinator of the Maryland Climate Coalition, released the following statement in response:

“Maryland is well on its way to meeting the initial goals of the 2009 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act.  Renewing and extending the goals through the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act is a necessary step to continue addressing the climate crisis head-on and maintaining Maryland’s position as a leader.  Extending the goals of Maryland’s plan means cleaner air and water for Marylanders while continuing to strengthen the state’s economy and creating jobs.

 Increasing our greenhouse gas reduction goals, as recommended by the commission, should go hand in hand with increasing our clean energy standard. We hope the General Assembly will also take action to increase Maryland’s clean energy standard.”

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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.

 


Top MD Lawmakers Push for Clean Energy Expansion and Record-Large Jobs Bill on First Day of General Assembly

For Immediate Release: January 13th, 2016

Contact:

Tiffany Hartung, Maryland Climate Coalition, O:(443) 759-3402, C: (248) 933-2451, hartungt@nwf.org
Kelly Trout, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, O:(240)396-2022, C: (717) 439-0346, kelly@chesapeakeclimate.org

Top MD Lawmakers Push for Clean Energy Expansion and Record-Large Jobs Bill on First Day of General Assembly

2016 legislation would boost wind and solar while building a diverse workforce, fulfilling President Obama’s State of the Union call to “invest in the future”

ANNAPOLISOn the first day of the 2016 Maryland General Assembly session, state legislators joined clean energy advocates in Annapolis to push for legislation that would significantly boost Maryland’s renewable energy goals, while creating the largest clean energy jobs training program in state history.

The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2016 will ensure Maryland gets 25 percent of its electricity from clean sources like wind and solar by 2020, up from the current goal of 20 percent by 2022. It includes a $40 million plan to train and prepare more Marylanders for careers in clean energy and to bolster minority- and women-owned businesses within the clean energy economy.

Influential lawmakersincluding the chairs of key Senate and House committees—joined today’s press conference with solar industry and environmental leaders, and climate activists. Large blown-up photos depicted the benefits of the bill, from cleaner air and healthier children to job training in underserved communities to reduced emissions of climate-disrupting pollution.

“We’ll grow Maryland’s clean energy economy in a way that increases the diversity of workers and business owners,” said Senator Catherine Pugh, Senate Majority Leader. “As we create more than 1,000 new solar jobs per year, we’ll also give more Marylanders pathways to good-paying careers.”

“2016 is the year to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act and invest in Maryland’s future by bringing more solar, more wind, and more jobs to our communities,” said Senator Brian Feldman, the lead Senate sponsor of the bill.

“This bill will ensure fast-growing industries create more jobs right here in Maryland,” said Delegate Bill Frick, the lead House sponsor of the bill.

Expanding our state’s clean energy use and growing our state economy go hand in hand,” said Delegate Derek Davis, chair of the House Economic Matters Committee. We’re talking about thousands of new Maryland solar jobs that pay an average of $23 per hour, and new industries that could stimulate more Maryland manufacturing and construction.”

“I look forward to passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act out of my committee so we can keep Maryland at the forefront of clean energy,” said Senator Mac Middleton, chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

This is a win-win-win for our economy, our environment, and our health in Maryland,” said Senator Rich Madaleno, vice-chair of the Senate Budget & Taxation Committee. “The climate benefits alone will be equal to taking 563,000 cars off the road each year. Cleaner air will mean fewer cases of asthma, healthier families, and reduced health care costs for the state.

Expanding Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 25 percent will create incentives for roughly 1,300 new megawatts of clean energy. Plummeting solar and wind prices and abundant, untapped renewable assets position the state to easily achieve this higher goal at little to no cost to ratepayers, according to preliminary results of a study commissioned by industry leaders.

“Solar companies like mine now employ more than 3,000 workers across Maryland, in large part due to strong state policies,” added Tony Clifford, CEO of Standard Solar. “We’ll see more solar businesses and a larger pool of qualified workers to hire as a result of the Clean Energy Jobs Act.”

The legislation creates a Clean Energy Workforce Account to provide job training in the clean energy sector targeted to areas of the state with high unemployment. It also establishes a Clean Energy Business Development Fund to help minority and women-owned businesses enter and grow within the clean energy economy. This workforce development plan would tap $40 million of unallocated contributions to Maryland’s Strategic Energy Investment Fund.

“I’m moving up the career ladder in clean energy thanks to training programs that gave me in-demand skills,” said Jarrell Henry, an energy auditor with Hawkeye Construction in Baltimore City. “Since graduating from Civic Works’ Baltimore Center for Green Careers in 2012, and gaining additional certifications, I’ve been promoted to crew leader and now to energy auditor. More Marylanders deserve these same opportunities.”

“This bill is a top priority for Maryland’s environmental community,” said Karla Raettig, director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and member of the Maryland Climate Coalition. “It will  reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, which are causing rising sea levels, record storms, and increased flooding across Maryland.”

Advocates are using the hashtag #CleanerMDnow to distribute information about the 2016 legislation.

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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.


Bipartisan Maryland Commission on Climate Change Urges Higher State Goal for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Contact:

Tiffany Hartung, Maryland Climate Coalition, (443) 759-3402, hartungt@nwf.org

 

Bipartisan Maryland Commission on Climate Change Urges Higher State Goal for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On heels of Paris climate talks, state commission recommends strong climate action

Baltimore, M.D.— Today, the Maryland Commission on Climate Change released a report  formally recommending that the Maryland General Assembly extend the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act (GGRA) goals to achieve a 40 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to 2006 levels.  Business, health, labor and climate advocates are applauding this move as a necessary step to combat climate disruption and provide clean and safe air for Maryland families, while growing the state’s economy and creating jobs.

“Addressing climate change is an economic opportunity for Maryland,” said Kimberly Armstrong of Abeona Group, a Maryland based clean energy business.   “Today’s report estimates that 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 will help create and maintain between 26,000 and 33,000 new jobs.  Extending the goals of Maryland’s plan will continue to create jobs and drive investment in the state.”

The Commission is a bipartisan group that was codified into law earlier this year and has been working throughout the year to develop its recommendation. The Commission also looked at how climate change impacts Maryland’s vulnerable communities and included recommendations to ensure that the plan is inclusive and benefits all Marylanders.

“The Commission’s report calls attention to the health benefits that will accrue to Marylanders through the cleaner air that comes with greenhouse gas reductions,” said Rebecca Ruggles of the Maryland Environmental Health Network.

In 2009, Maryland’s GGRA law directed the state to reduce heat-trapping pollution by 25 percent by 2020, and led to the creation of Maryland’s wide-ranging Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan.  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 (RGGI), a regional program that reduces carbon pollution from power plants.

Today’s report confirmed that the state is well on its way to meeting the initial greenhouse gas reduction target, but must build on this progress to protect critical infrastructure, economic prosperity and public health.

“A changing climate and more extreme storms will affect the Port of Baltimore’s docking, navigation channels and will make access roads near ports vulnerable to flooding,” added Joe Uehlein of the Labor Network for Sustainability.  “With a decrease of 1 percent in shipping at the Port of Baltimore between now and 2018, we will lose more than 3,600 jobs — jobs Maryland families cannot afford to lose.  The recommendations of this plan, put out by the Commission, will not only help protect Marylanders but also continue to create family-supporting jobs on our way to a clean energy future.”

“The 2016 Maryland General Assembly session will be a crucial time to renew and strengthen Maryland’s response to climate change,” said Tiffany Hartung of the Maryland Climate Coalition.  “Increasing our greenhouse gas reduction goals, as recommended by the commission, should go hand in hand with increasing our clean energy standard.”

The 2009 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act sunsets in 2016 and will need to be reauthorized by Maryland General Assembly. The General Assembly will also consider expanding Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard, the state’s clean energy standard, to 25 percent by 2020 in the 2016 session.

The Maryland Commission on Climate Change is a bipartisan Commission made up of cabinet secretaries, legislators and stakeholders including union leaders, business and environmental groups.

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The Maryland Climate Coalition brings together environmental, faith, 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.

 


In Spirit of Paris Talks, Top Maryland Lawmakers Propose Largest Clean Energy Jobs Plan in State History

For Immediate Release: December 8, 2015

Contact:

Kelly Trout, 240-396-2022 (office), 717-439-0346 (cell), kelly@chesapeakeclimate.org

James McGarry, 914-563-2256 (cell), james@chesapeakeclimate.org

In Spirit of Paris Talks, Top Maryland Lawmakers Propose Largest Clean Energy Jobs Plan in State History

2016 bill will expand wind and solar while creating family-supporting jobs and a diverse clean energy workforce

ANNAPOLIS—As world leaders meet in Paris to marshal global climate action, top Maryland lawmakers came together in Annapolis today to unveil their plan to create the largest dedicated clean energy jobs and business development program in state history.

As part of 2016 legislation to significantly expand Maryland’s use of renewable electricity, Senate Majority Leader Catherine Pugh (D-Baltimore) and Delegate Dereck Davis (D-Prince George’s) are proposing a $40 million plan to train and prepare more Marylanders for careers in clean energy and to bolster minority- and women-owned businesses within the clean energy economy.

The lawmakers announced the plan, called the 2016 “Clean Jobs Act,” during a press conference on Lawyers’ Mall alongside Maryland small business, community college, and job training leaders, and climate advocates.

“Maryland needs to increase our renewable energy standard to 25 percent while putting in place funding to increase the diversity of business owners and workers,” said Sen. Pugh, who sits on the Senate Finance Committee. “The Clean Jobs Act will give more Marylanders the opportunity to thrive in the growing clean technology sector and put cities like Baltimore on the forefront of clean energy development.”

“2016 is the year to pass this ‘Clean Jobs Act’ for Maryland,” said Del. Davis, chair of the House Economic Matters Committee. “This bill will sustain an estimated 2,000 additional clean energy jobs right here in Maryland. The average Maryland solar installer earns nearly $23 per hour. Greater workforce development investments can direct those jobs where they’re needed most, while unlocking the full talent of our state’s clean energy entrepreneurs.”

In co-sponsoring the bill, Sen. Pugh and Del. Davis will join Senator Brian Feldman and Delegate Bill Frick of Montgomery County—lead sponsors of the legislation to expand Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)—as well as Senator Mac Middleton, chair of the Finance Committee, and Senator Rich Madaleno, vice-chair of the Budget and Taxation Committee.

“I’m proud to sponsor this legislation because addressing climate change and improving our economy go hand in hand,” said Sen. Brian Feldman. “It’s time to lock in Maryland as a leader in both.”

The legislation would ensure that Maryland gets 25 percent of its electricity from clean sources like wind and solar power by 2020, up from the state’s current goal of 20 percent by 2022. By creating incentives for roughly 1,300 megawatts of new clean energy, the bill would significantly improve Marylanders’ air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are causing rising sea levels, record storms, and increased flooding.

“Climate change solutions—like cleaner, more efficient energy— mean healthy air and healthy people who can go to work and support their families,said Sen. Madaleno. “All Marylanders deserve clean air to live healthier and more meaningful lives.”

Maryland has met its existing renewable energy standard every year since the RPS program was first implemented in 2005. Maryland now ranks among the top solar states in the nation. Plummeting solar and wind prices and abundant, untapped renewable assets — from sunny rooftops to blustery Eastern Shore farmland — position the state to easily achieve a higher goal. Collectively, Maryland’s policies to address climate change are expected to create 26,000 to 33,000 new jobs and grow wages by tens of billions of dollars by 2020, according to state data.

“Maryland’s solar industry now employs over 3,000 workers, and the industry expects to grow 26 percent this year, adding 750 more jobs,” said Del. Frick. “In 2016, it’s time to speed up this growth while providing better training to more Maryland workers.”

The new workforce development plan within the RPS bill would tap $40 million of unallocated contributions to Maryland’s Strategic Energy Investment Fund. Part of the funding would provide pre-apprenticeship job training in the clean energy sector targeted to areas of the state with high unemployment. Bolstering existing job training programs at Maryland community colleges is one example of how the funds could be put to work.

Gregory Mason, Vice President of Business and Continuing Education at Baltimore City Community College, also spoke at today’s press conference: “Not only is more renewable energy critical to preserving our natural resources, but it also offers a foot in the door for our students to begin and advance careers within a well-paid, burgeoning industry.”

Additional funding would establish a Clean Energy Business Development Fund to help minority- and women-owned businesses enter and grow within the clean energy economy in Maryland.

“We started our business in Maryland in part because of its commitment to expanding clean energy technologies,” said Daniel Wallace, director of Technical Sales for BITHENERGY. “The Clean Jobs Act will significantly enhance the economic imperatives that are necessary for clean energy companies like ours to thrive and to create jobs.”

Today’s announcement adds to growing momentum for climate action in Maryland. Over the past year, legislation to expand Maryland’s RPS law gained support from a broad base of faith, labor, health, social justice, and environmental constituencies — including the NAACP, Maryland Working Families, SEIU, seven Maryland bishops and top ecumenical leaders. Meanwhile, in late October, the state’s bipartisan Climate Change Commission voted unanimously in support of extending and strengthening Maryland’s statutory goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“While world leaders gather in Paris at the biggest global climate summit of this decade, Maryland leaders are stepping up to put concrete solutions into motion,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and member of the Maryland Climate Coalition. “Our clean electricity standard is our state’s top program for reducing climate pollution. By increasing it, we can build a more just and sustainable economy while doing our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

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Baltimore County Residents Join Delegate Dana Stein, Faith and Environmental Leaders for Community Expo on Maryland’s Climate Action

For Immediate Release: October 11th, 2015

Contact:

Tiffany Hartung, Maryland Climate Coalition, (443) 759-3402, hartungt@nwf.org

Joelle Novey, Interfaith Power & Light, (202) 256-1450, joelle@gwipl.org

Seth Bush, Sierra Club, (267) 474-3488, seth.bush@sierraclub.org

 

Baltimore County Residents Join Delegate Dana Stein, Faith and Environmental Leaders for Community Expo on Maryland’s Climate Action

Baltimore County kicked off six-stop, clean energy roadshow highlighting the benefits of increasing Maryland’s renewable energy standard

Owings MillsBaltimore-area legislators, green businesses, and the Maryland Climate Coalition gathered to kick-off the first event in a six-stop “Clean Energy Roadshow” highlighting how Marylanders are taking action on cleaner, more energy efficient solutions at home, in our communities and in Annapolis.

Delegate Dana Stein, Adisa Muse of Maryland Working Families and Jakir Manela of the Pearlstone Center discussed the benefits of expanding the amount of clean, renewable energy Maryland uses and actions Maryland is taking to address climate change.

They were joined by a host of local organizations and businesses that included: The Empowers: energy-saving superheroes, Mom’s Clean Air Force, Groundswell clean energy purchasing groups, Ranger Rick & The National Wildlife Federation, Breathe Easy Home, ZeroDraft Energy Efficiency, Blue Water Baltimore, Baltimore Green Forum, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Gunpowder Valley Conservancy, Interfaith Power & Light, Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, Maryland Sierra Club, Baltimore Metropolitan Council’s Air Quality and Bike Safety Program, the Institute for Policy Studies and the Irvine Nature Center.

The 2016 Maryland General Assembly session will be a crucial time to renew and strengthen Maryland’s response to climate change,” said Maryland State Delegate Dana Stein (District 11 Baltimore County) and member of Maryland’s Commission on Climate Change.Maryland’s landmark 2009 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act is up for renewal in 2016, and expanding the state’s clean energy standard to 25 percent by 2020 will be before the General Assembly for consideration.”

Maryland has been addressing climate change impacts through its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan, required by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act.  The plan directs the state to implement the smartest environmental and economic decisions that produce effective climate change strategies.  Strategies include increasing Maryland’s clean energy use and ensuring energy is used in the most efficient ways through the EmPower Program.

According to a report by the Regional Economic Studies Institute at Towson University, fully implementing the policies needed to achieve the 2012 plan goals would result in estimated economic benefits of between $2.5 and $3.5 billion and maintain between 26,000 and 33,000 new Maryland jobs.

One of the top greenhouse gas emissions reducing programs in the Plan is Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The Standard sets requirements for Maryland to derive a certain amount of energy from renewables. Increasing the amount of clean, renewable energy that Maryland uses to 25 percent by 2020 will help Maryland meet its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal and grow the state’s economy.

“Increasing Maryland’s clean energy standard to 25 percent by 2020 means jobs for Maryland, including more public sector jobs, more manufacturing and constructions jobs,” added Adisa Muse of Maryland Working Families. “That is a big win for all of Maryland’s workers and for our communities.”

Increasing Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard would spur significant economic gains. The policy would create nearly 2,000 new jobs per year in the state’s solar industry and spur 4,600 new jobs in the regional wind-power economy. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Maryland’s solar industry already includes more than 170 companies and 3,000 jobs today.

Advocates are using the hashtag #CleanerMDnow to distribute information about the 2016 legislation and these supporting events.

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The Maryland Climate Coalition brings together environmental, faith, 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.


For 85 Maryland Faith Communities, Pope’s Visit Inspires Unified Call for Climate Action in the General Assembly

Note: Contact Kelly Trout at 717-439-0346 (cell)  or kelly@chesapeakeclimate.org to connect with participating congregations in a particular geographic area or denomination.

For Immediate Release
September 25, 2015

Contact:
Joelle Novey, Interfaith Power & Light, 202-256-1450, joelle@gwipl.org
Kelly Trout, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, 717-439-0346 (cell), kelly@chesapeakeclimate.org
Fr. Ty Hullinger, participating Catholic priest from Baltimore, 301-707-7147

For 85 Maryland Faith Communities, Pope’s Visit Inspires Unified Call for Climate Action in the General Assembly

Weekend ‘Climate in the Pulpits / On the Bimah’ events show multi-faith support for raising Md’s clean energy goals

BALTIMORE—On the heels of Pope Francis’ visit to the region, 85 Maryland congregations with over 10,000 members will be preaching about climate justice from the pulpit or the bimah this weekend, reiterating the Pope’s call for climate action during services and special events in Baltimore, Annapolis, Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties, and beyond.

In the spirit of Pope Francis’ call yesterday for “courageous” action from representatives in Congress, faith communities will invite their members to sign postcards to state legislators, urging them to expand Maryland’s renewable energy standard (RPS) to 25% by 2020 and renew the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act. These policies are the top ways Maryland can carry out the Pope’s teaching that “highly polluting fossil fuels … need to be … replaced without delay.”

This weekend’s coordinated, multi-faith effort, called “Climate in the Pulpits / on the Bimah,” comes at a crucial time to renew and strengthen Maryland’s Climate Action Plan. The 2009 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, Maryland’s legal requirement for reducing carbon pollution, will be up for renewal in the 2016 legislative session. The surest way to reduce emissions is to increase the amount of clean electricity—like solar and wind power—that powers our homes and communities. More than three-quarters (76%) of Maryland Catholics support strengthening Maryland’s renewable energy mandate, according to polling released this week.

“It’s not right that 80% of the energy we use to light our sanctuaries still comes from fossil fuels,” reads the bulletin insert which congregations will distribute to thousands of Marylanders this weekend. “Dirty energy is polluting our air and water and making our children and elders sick … our use of dirty energy is pouring heat-trapping climate pollution into our atmosphere, hurting our poorest neighbors around the world.”

Father Ty Hullinger, who serves three Catholic parishes in Baltimore City, is among over 80 Maryland religious leaders who are bringing “Climate in the Pulpits” to their congregations.

“We’re told in Genesis not to be owners and manipulators of this world, but stewards and caretakers,” said Father Hullinger. “We’re already seeing the impacts of climate change, and the families I work with in Baltimore are personally affected by industrial pollution. The Holy Father’s visit is pushing me and my colleagues to take the call to stewardship more seriously.”

Maryland State Delegate Dereck Davis (D-25 Prince George’s) is participating by speaking on clean energy during the Sunday service at Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church in District Heights. “Pope Francis has reminded us that addressing climate change is one of the great moral issues of our time,” said Del. Davis. “It is imperative that Maryland acts on climate so that we can create real, broad, and sustainable prosperity.”

Maryland congregations will be participating in different ways. Many plan to have clergy or guest speakers deliver a sermon on climate and Creation care, and to distribute bulletin inserts. Some Jewish communities are studying the Pope’s encyclical on Yom Kippur and some congregations are incorporating Creation care into religious education classes or holding special workshops.

Maryland’s faith community has been a leading voice for stronger clean energy policies over the past year. During the 2015 General Assembly, seven Maryland bishops and senior ecumenical leaders joined over 230 faith leaders in calling on state lawmakers to expand Maryland’s renewable energy standard. Bishop Wolfgang Herz-Lane, president of the Ecumenical Leaders Group of central Maryland, penned an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun this July echoing the Pope’s encyclical on climate change and stressing that “the survival and flourishing of all people depends on our ability to move from temporary and destructive fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.”
Participating congregations include: 

* Saturday, 9/26 in Anne Arundel County, 11 am

St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 730 Bestgate Rd. Annapolis

Rev. Kip Banks, Sr. of Upper Marlboro will give a Creation care workshop.

Contact: Father Randy Callender, 410-353-6263 randycallender@yahoo.com

* Sunday, 9/27 in Prince George’s County, 10 am – featuring State Del. Dereck Davis

Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church, 7808 Marlboro Pike, District Heights

State Delegate Dereck E. Davis will speak to the congregation about clean energy during the service starting at 10 am

* Sunday, 9/27 in Baltimore City, 9:30 am

St. James Episcopal Church, 1020 West Lafayette Ave. Baltimore

Rev. Darriel Harris of the Baltimore Food & Faith Project will preach during the Sunday worship service.

* Sunday, 9/27 in Baltimore City, 10:30 a.m. / 11:30 a.m.

St. Dominic Catholic Parish (10:30 a.m), 5302 Harford Road, Baltimore

St. Anthony’s Catholic Parish (11:30 a.m), 4414 Frankford Ave., Baltimore

Father Ty Hullinger will preach during two Sunday worship services

Contact: 301-707-7147 or THullinger@archbalt.org

* Sunday, 9/27 in Anne Arundel County, 10 am

St. Luke’s Eastport, 1101 Bay Ridge Ave. Annapolis

Shantha Ready Alonso of Creation Justice Ministries will preach during the Sunday worship service.

* Sunday, 9/27 in Montgomery County, 10 am service, 11:30 am solar dedication

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, 100 Welsh Park Dr. Rockville

Dedication of new solar photovoltaic system following the Sunday worship service.

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Climate in the Pulpits is a joint program of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA).

 Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA) engages hundreds of congregations of all faiths across Maryland and the DC area in saving energy, going green, and responding to climate change. IPL-DMV is one of forty state affiliates of Interfaith Power & Light mobilizing a national religious response to the climate crisis: www.mdipl.org

 The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the biggest and oldest grassroots organization dedicated to fighting climate change in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. CCAN is building a powerful movement to shift our region away from climate-harming fossil fuels and to clean energy solutions: www.chesapeakeclimate.org.

 

 


230+ Maryland Faith Leaders to Annapolis: Double clean energy in Maryland.

For Immediate Release:    Feb. 24th, 2015

230+ Maryland Faith Leaders to Annapolis:

Our communities pay for dirty energy
with our health and a damaged climate.

Double clean energy in Maryland. 

IN AN UNPRECEDENTED SHOW OF ECUMENICAL RELIGIOUS LEADERSHIP
ON A STATE ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE, 7 MARYLAND BISHOPS RALLY FAITH SUPPORT FOR
THE MARYLAND CLEAN ENERGY ADVANCEMENT ACT (HB 377/SB 373).

 

Annapolis, MD – As the Maryland Senate’s Finance Committee prepares to take up legislation to double the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard this afternoon, legislators on two key committees were delivered a letter signed by over 230 religious leaders, including 7 bishops and ecumenical leaders, making a moral case for shifting the state to cleaner energy.

Full text of the letter below.

The letter was delivered in Annapolis to members of both the House Economic Matters and Senate Finance Committees. Many of the clergy signers are also calling the legislators’ offices to deliver their message. Rev. Dellyne Hinton (Gwynn Oak United Methodist Church and Central Maryland Ecumenical Council) testified in the House Economic Matters Committee on Friday, and today, Bishop Wolfgang Herz-Lane (DE-MD Synod, ELCA and Ecumenical Leaders’ Group of Maryland) and Rev. Darriel Harris (Baltimore Food & Faith Project at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future) will testify in the Senate Finance Committee on behalf of the Maryland Clean Energy Advancement Act.

Last night, Rev. Stephen A. Tillett (Asbury Broadneck United Methodist Church) addressed a rally for supporters of the bill in Annapolis.These faith leaders are asking their leaders in Annapolis to recognize energy policy as of particular concern to their communities.

“Caring for God’s creation – including all its inhabitants – means slowing and limiting our use of fossil fuels and significantly reducing our climate pollution,” the letter states. “In order to fulfill that moral imperative, we, the leaders of Maryland’s religious communities, challenge ourselves, our denominational institutions, our congregations collectively and their members individually, fellow people of faith, and all people of good will to take action on climate change by choosing renewable energy sources (such as solar, wind and geothermal), specifically, to move to 40% renewable energy usage by 2025.”

The clergy who joined this effort reflect Maryland’s religious and cultural diversity. Doubling Maryland’s renewable energy has support from leaders in the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Baha’i, Buddhist, and Unitarian Universalist traditions. The signatories hail from all corners of Maryland.

These clergy from diverse faith traditions and all across the state are responding to a call initiated by the Ecumenical Leaders’ Group, a committee of seven leaders of Christian denominations in Central Maryland.  This marks the first time that this group of senior religious leaders have spoken out together on a matter of environmental concern.

 Full text of letter and list of signatories available here

The Ecumenical Leaders’ Group is made of the bishops, presidents, executives of Christian denominations in Maryland called together by the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council. The ELG meets five times a year and addresses, with one voice, larger justice issues.

The letter effort was convened by Interfaith Power & Light (MD.DC.NoVA), which works with hundreds of congregations of all faiths across the DC metro area to save energy, go green, and respond to climate change: www.gwipl.org.   Joelle Novey, 202-256-1450

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Hundreds Converge on Annapolis to Urge Lawmakers to Increase Maryland’s Clean Energy Goals

For Immediate Release:                                                                                      

Monday, Feb. 23, 2015

Contact:

Kelly Trout, 240-396-2022, kelly@chesapeakeclimate.org

Tiffany Hartung, 248.933.2451, hartungt@nwf.org

 

Hundreds Converge on Annapolis to Urge Lawmakers to Increase Maryland’s Clean Energy Goals

Marylanders ask elected officials to work together for cleaner air and water, improved public health and clean energy jobs

 

Annapolis, MD (February 23, 2015) – With mini-wind turbines spinning in the frigid night air and glow sticks lighting the walkway to the State House, hundreds of Marylanders rallied in Annapolis Monday to show their support for the Clean Energy Advancement Act. Business, health, faith, labor and climate leaders headlined the rally alongside legislators, urging the General Assembly to act in 2015 to expand the state’s goals for clean electricity ahead of a key Senate hearing on the bill.

The Clean Energy Advancement Act (HB 377/SB 373), recently introduced with 16 Senate and 45 House co-sponsors, would gradually raise Maryland’s existing clean electricity consumption mandate, called the “Renewable Portfolio Standard.” The bill would require that 25 percent of Maryland’s electricity comes from clean sources by 2020 and set a trajectory to reach 40 percent by 2025, doubling the current standard. The bill is up for a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday afternoon.

“Ten years ago, we passed the first bill of this type under Governor Ehrlich and there were only a few solar companies in Maryland,” said Senator Brian Feldman, a sponsor of SB 373. “Now we have more than 150 solar companies employing more than 3,000 people. This legislation gives us the opportunity for clean energy to have an even greater impact on our economy.”

The bill comes at a time when Maryland is experiencing the increasingly detrimental effects of relying on fossil fuels—coal, oil, and gas—for energy, including dangerous air pollution, contaminated water and damaging weather:

  •  Last year, 2014, was the hottest year on record worldwide, while recent studies show, Baltimore and Annapolis lead the nation in increased flooding driven by rising sea levels.
  •  Eighty-five percent of Maryland residents live in areas that fail to meet the nation’s clean air standards, and  Maryland has the 8th worst ground ozone level in the nation.
  •  Maryland ranks 5th in the nation in adult asthma and nearly 12 percent of Maryland children have asthma.

 

“Clean energy is putting Marylanders to work and cleaning up the air we breathe. It’s a critical solution to global warming, and to improving the lives of the most vulnerable among us. That’s why every member of the Maryland Latino Legislative Caucus has cosponsored this legislation, and we look forward to seeing it pass this year,” said Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk, chair of the newly formed Maryland Latino Legislative Caucus.

The Maryland faith community also rallied Monday to express concern about toxic emissions caused by power plants that result in harmful air and water pollution.  The impacts from that pollution are usually worse in communities of color.

“Over 220 religious leaders across Maryland, including the bishops of seven Christian denominations, have joined together to speak out for clean energy,” said Rev. Stephen Tillett, of Asbury Broadneck United Methodist Church, who spoke at Monday evening’s rally. “It’s not right that we still get half of our state’s energy from fossil fuels that pollute the air and make our neighbors sick. Our faith communities are showing that there is a better way.”

The National Academy of Sciences estimates that illness caused by polluting energy sources costs Maryland households an average of $73 per month. A separate analysis shows that a 40 percent clean electricity standard will prevent 200 to 450 deaths per year in Maryland.

“This is a remarkable opportunity for all  Marylanders to let their policymakers know that we want to replace dirty energy making dirty, sick air with clean, renewable energy that makes our air cleaner and healthier,” said Dr. Cindy Parker, President of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility.   “We want policymakers to make the right choice to support healthy air so children, elders, people with heart or lung diseases like asthma will live longer, happier, more productive lives with much less suffering from asthma attacks, hospitalizations, and lost work and school days. “

In addition to reducing significant health costs, doubling Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard would spur significant economic gains. The policy would create nearly 1,600 new jobs per year in the state’s solar industry and spur 18,000 new jobs in the regional wind-power economy. According to the Maryland Clean Energy Center, clean energy jobs already generate more than $8.2 billion in associated salaries and wages in Maryland on an annual basis.

“The Maryland Clean Energy Advancement Act means more jobs for Maryland, including more public sector jobs, more manufacturing and constructions jobs,” added Charly Carter, Executive Director of Maryland Working Families. “That is a big win for all of Maryland’s workers and for our communities.”

“As the seas rise along Maryland’s shores, a grassroots movement for change is rising up, too,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “We’re here today to tell our legislators that we have a moral obligation to act, and we also have an opportunity to act. By getting more of our electricity from the wind and the sun, we will protect our children while growing our economy.”

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS:

Advocates are using the hashtag #CleanerMDnow to distribute information about the legislation and these supporting events.

On Tuesday, February 24th at noon, ahead of a Senate Finance Committee hearing, two Maryland bishops will join other faith leaders for a tele-press conference, unveiling a letter signed by over 200 clergy of all faith traditions who are calling on legislators to expand clean energy. Journalists can join the tele-conference by dialing (605) 477-2100 and using passcode 306196#.

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 The mission of the Maryland Climate Coalition is 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. For more information about the Maryland Climate Coalition, visit http://www.marylandclimatecoalition.org.

 


Business Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Raise Maryland’s Clean Energy Goals as Hearings Begin in Annapolis

For Immediate Release
Friday, February 20, 2015

Contact:
Kelly Trout, 717-439-0346 (cell), 240-396-2022kelly@chesapeakeclimate.org
Jeff Benzak, 202-513-6248jeff@e2.org

Business Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Raise Maryland’s Clean Energy Goals as Hearings Begin in Annapolis

Leaders say legislation will expand job growth and economic development while reducing costly air and climate pollution

ANNAPOLIS—Maryland lawmakers would help spur good-paying jobs and economic development by passing legislation in 2015 to expand the state’s use of clean, renewable energy, said business leaders and workers who came to Annapolis today to testify before a key House committee.

During a morning press conference with the bill’s lead sponsors, renewable energy entrepreneurs—including a former Army Major General—emphasized that a region-leading clean electricity goal would establish Maryland as a regional hub for investment in the fast-growing solar and wind industries.

“This legislation will lock in Maryland as a leader in the clean technology sector, expanding jobs and prosperity while diversifying our economy,”said Senator Brian Feldman, lead Senate sponsor of the Maryland Clean Energy Advancement Act (HB 377/SB 373).

“This is a clear instance where cleaning up our air and water means putting people to work,”said Delegate Bill Frick, lead House sponsor of the bill. “Maryland’s solar industry now employs 3,000 workers, growing by 29 percent in 2014. In 2015, it’s time to speed up this growth by expanding our state policy.”

The legislation, which has a hearing in the House Economic Matters Committee this afternoon, would gradually raise Maryland’s existing “Renewable Portfolio Standard,” which requires that an increasing amount of the state’s electricity comes from clean sources like wind and solar power. The bill would require that 25 percent of Maryland’s electricity come from clean sources by 2020 and set a trajectory to reach 40 percent by 2025, doubling the current standard.

Among the press conference speakers was Roger Blunt, a founder and chairman of Essex Construction who is also a retired U.S. Army Major General, a former director of Pepco, and a former director of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. Essex is a Prince George’s County-based business that specializes in clean energy building projects.

“For the good of our economy, and for the good of our veterans, we need to pass the Maryland Clean Energy Advancement Act,” said Blunt. “By raising our renewable energy standard, we’ll send a strong market signal that Maryland is the place for solar and wind manufacturers to set up shop. We’ll also expand a growing clean energy workforce that employs a high percentage of veterans like me.”

Maryland is already first in the Mid-Atlantic region for green jobs per capita. Analysis shows that doubling Maryland’s use of renewable energy would create nearly 1,600 new jobs per year in the solar industry, which are well-paid and diverse. The policy could create 18,000 new jobs across the regional wind power supply chain, providing an economic lifeline to Maryland’s windy Eastern Shore and reinvigorating the state’s manufacturing base.

Executives of Baltimore-based BITHENERGY, Inc., a firm that has developed, financed, and integrated over 33 megawatts of solar projects, underscored that state policy is key to attracting businesses like theirs to Maryland.

“When we started BITHENERGY a few years ago, we had the option of starting the company in any number of states,”said Robert L. Wallace, the president and CEO of BITHENERGY. “We chose the State of Maryland because of its commitment to expanding clean energy technologies and creating an economic environment that made it attractive to companies like BITHENERGY. The passage of HB 377 would significantly enhance the economic imperatives that are necessary for clean energy companies like BITHENERGY to thrive and to accelerate job formation.”

“E2 has tracked more than a quarter-million clean energy jobs nationwide the past three years, and what we’ve seen is this: states with the strongest clean energy policies get the jobs,” said Bob Keefe, executive director of Environmental Entrepreneurs, a national nonpartisan business group. “If Maryland wants more clean energy jobs, it should increase the renewables standard.”

In addition to delivering significant economic benefits, the Clean Energy Advancement Act would reduce the costly impacts of relying on fossil fuels—coal, oil, and gas—for energy, including dangerous air pollution, contaminated water and damaging weather. More than 85 percent of Marylanders live in areas that fail to meet the nation’s clean air standards. Increasing the state’s clean electricity standard is the top way the state can reduce the planet-heating emissions raising sea levels and fueling strange and severe weather in Maryland.

Sustainable Energy Advantage, LLC (SEA), an independent renewable energy consulting and advisory firm, found that the ratepayer impact of increasing Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 40% by 2025 will likely be just under $2 per month per residential ratepayer (in 2014 dollars) in 2025. The ratepayer impact of increasing Maryland’s RPS to 25% by 2020 will likely be $0.52 per month per residential ratepayer (in 2014 dollars) in 2020.

See a fact sheet (PDF) on the economic benefits of HB 377/SB 373: http://chesapeakeclimate.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/MCC_Forward-with-Clean-Energy-Jobs-Fact-Sheet-1-26-15.pdf

View the executive summary (PDF) of the Sustainable Energy Advantage, LLC ratepayer impact analysis: http://chesapeakeclimate.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Ratepayer_Analysis_Full_Report_Final_execSum.pdf

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS:

Friday’s press conference kicked off a series of events demonstrating broad support for the bill among Maryland businesses, faith communities, public health advocates, labor leaders, social justice and environmental groups. Advocates are using the hashtag #CleanerMDnow to distribute information about the legislation and these supporting events:

On Monday, February 23rd from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., hundreds of citizens will join legislators, faith, labor, and health leaders for a rally on Lawyers’ Mall to pass the Clean Energy Advancement Act, capping off the Maryland Climate Coalition’s citizen lobby night on the bill.

On Tuesday, February 24th at noon, ahead of a Senate Finance Committee hearing, two Maryland bishops will join other faith leaders for a tele-press conference, unveiling a letter signed by over 200 clergy of all faith traditions who are calling on legislators to expand clean energy. Journalists can join the tele-conference by dialing (605) 477-2100 and using passcode 306196#.

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