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Marylanders Rally on First Day of General Assembly Session to Double State’s Clean Energy Goals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:    Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Contact:

Adam Beitman, Sierra Club, 202.670.5585 or adam.beitman@sierraclub.org

Tommy Landers, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, 301.442.0134 or tommy@chesapeakeclimate.org

Jeff Benzak, Environmental Entrepreneurs, 202.513.6248 or jbenzak@e2.org

Talya Tavor, Environment Maryland, 847-997-0564 or talya@environmentmaryland.org

 

Marylanders Rally on First Day of General Assembly Session to Double State’s Clean Energy Goals

Environmental, business, faith, labor and social justice leaders call legislation a top priority to pass in 2015

ANNAPOLIS, MD — As the 2015 Maryland General Assembly kicked off Wednesday, activists packed Lawyer’s Mall in front of the State House to call for action in 2015 to double the state’s use of clean electricity like wind and solar. The rally was headlined by a broad array of social justice, environmental, faith, labor and business leaders, who declared the historic clean energy bill a priority to pass in 2015 for the climate, the economy and health.

“Maryland needs to get out front of the burgeoning clean energy industry in this country. It will mean good paying jobs and a much needed boost to our economy. Other states are advancing on clean energy, and Maryland has a golden opportunity now to get ahead of the curve with this legislation,” said Sen. Brian Feldman, Democrat from district 15 and chief sponsor of the legislation in the Senate.

The Maryland Clean Energy Advancement Act of 2015 will double Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirement to 40% clean electricity by 2025. The current state RPS requires 20% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2022. The RPS was originally signed into law in 2004 by former Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich. Maryland utilities are currently on track to surpass the current standard, providing Marylanders with 10.3% of energy purchased from renewable sources in 2014.

“Marylanders are ready for this move forward on clean energy,” said Susan Cochran of the League of Women Voters of Maryland. “We can and must pass this legislation to double our clean energy use.”

Dozens of activists packed Lawyer’s Mall for the event, holding “Forward with Clean Energy” signs and waving small handheld wind turbines. A poll released last week showed that more than two-thirds of Maryland voters—or 69 percent—support raising the state’s clean electricity standard to 40% by 2025.

“A 40 percent renewable energy standard would make Maryland a national leader in clean energy and super-charge the market for good-paying clean energy jobs,” said Bob Keefe, executive director of Environmental Entrepreneurs, a national nonpartisan business group. “Lawmakers should seize this opportunity for the good of the state’s economy and its environment.”

The solar industry in Maryland now surpasses the state’s iconic crab industry in total economic value. Doubling Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard would create nearly 2,000 new jobs per year in the state’s solar industry and spur over 20,000 new jobs in the regional wind-power economy.

The promise of good clean energy jobs and cleaner air and water also drew support from Maryland’s health care workers. “The health care workers of 1199 SEIU support expanding Maryland’s renewable energy portfolio because climate change is a public health crisis,” said Pat Lippold, political director of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. “The impacts fall disproportionately on Maryland’s communities of color and poorest communities, which suffer from more polluted air and higher rates of breathing problems.”

“Climate change is already having direct negative impacts on our lives, families, and communities, and those impacts will only get much worse in the coming years,” stated Gerald Stansbury, President of the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP. “That’s why climate change is a civil rights and an economic justice issue. At the same time, doubling our clean energy will greatly benefit our communities. It will help clean up our air, put people to work, and seriously address climate justice.”

Currently, more than 85 percent of Marylanders live in areas that fail to meet the nation’s clean air standards, and 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% clean electricity standard will prevent 200 to 450 deaths per year in Maryland.

“Children are among the most vulnerable to climate change, especially from extreme heat events, widespread disease and increased air pollution,” said Trisha Sheehan, Northeast Regional Field Manager for Moms Clean Air Force.  “Maryland has the ability to double its use of clean energy by 2025. We need to act now to cut our reliance on the dirty fossil fuels that are polluting our air and making us sick.”

Maryland faith leaders also joined Wednesday’s rally. The Ecumenical Leaders’ Group, representing seven denominations of Christian churches throughout Maryland, voted this fall to endorse a 40% clean electricity standard for Maryland. Since that announcement, more than 100 religious leaders representing diverse faith traditions have signed onto their call, which includes a commitment that congregations also reach 40% clean energy.

“This opportunity to source 40% of Maryland’s energy from renewable sources by 2025 is a step in the direction of stewardship, a sign of respect to God and fulfilling our God-given responsibility to creation,” said Reverend Ryan Sirmons, United Church of Christ Annapolis.

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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 and Advocates Ask Lawmakers to Double Wind and Solar Power During 2015 Maryland General Assembly; Poll released shows strong voter support for action

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, January 8, 2015

CONTACT:

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

Tommy Landers, 301-442-0134, tommy@chesapeakeclimate.org

 Business Leaders and Advocates Ask Lawmakers to Double Wind and Solar Power During 2015 Maryland General Assembly

Poll released shows strong voter support for action

 ANNAPOLIS—Business leaders and advocates today called on Maryland lawmakers to pass legislation to double the state’s use of clean electricity like wind and solar power during the 2015 Maryland General Assembly. During a morning tele-press conference, the leaders emphasized that such a policy would deliver huge jobs and economic gains for Maryland, in addition to dramatically reducing costly global warming pollution. According to polling data also released during the call, over two-thirds of Maryland voters back the proposal, which would require that 40% of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2025.

“There are few sectors in Maryland’s economy that are more promising than the clean energy sector in terms of jobs and growth,” said Maryland Senator Brian Feldman (D-Montgomery), a chief sponsor of the Maryland Clean Energy Advancement Act of 2015. “Solar is bigger than the crab industry now in this state. This legislation helps expand that prosperity with a sound policy that creates investment certainty for businesses and consumers.”

Analysis shows that doubling Maryland’s existing clean energy mandate, called the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), would support nearly 2,000 new jobs per year in Maryland’s solar industry and spur over 20,000 new jobs in the regional wind-power supply chain. Business experts emphasized that, by setting a region-leading 40% clean electricity standard, state lawmakers would establish Maryland as a regional hub for clean energy investment and spur a resurgence in manufacturing and construction jobs.

“Thanks to forward-looking clean energy policies like this, renewable energy is moving into the mainstream for business,” said Stu Dalheim, Vice President at Calvert Investments, a nationally prominent firm based in Maryland. “A majority of the country’s largest companies have clean energy targets and investors are ready for public policies that push further in creating sustainable, home-grown energy jobs that are good for the climate. It just makes sense. This is a good bill for Maryland and the country.”

The polling released today, conducted by the non-partisan, independent firm OpinionWorks, confirmed that broad majorities of Maryland voters back the policy:

  • More than two-thirds of Maryland voters—or 69 percent—support raising the state’s clean electricity standard to 40% by 2025, understanding that it would add less than $2 per month to the average home electricity bill.
  • By two-to-one, voters are more likely to support an elected official during the next election who votes to double Maryland’s clean energy requirement.
  • Further, 70 percent of those polled believe that reliance on fossil fuels is harmful to people’s health.

 

The Maryland Clean Energy Advancement Act expands a current state law called the Renewable Portfolio Standard, or RPS, which was originally signed in 2004 by Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich. The RPS requires that Maryland electricity suppliers purchase an increasing percentage each year of wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy. The new legislation would gradually accelerate the yearly trajectory of Maryland’s standard to 40% clean electricity by the year 2025. (The current law is 20% by 2022). The proposed expansion bill comes on the heels of California’s announcement Monday that it will set a 50-percent clean power target.

“States with the best renewable energy standards are the states that create the most clean energy jobs,” said Bob Keefe, Executive Director of Environmental Entrepreneurs, a national nonpartisan business group that advocates for smart policies that are good for both the environment and the economy. “These are jobs that pay better than average and can’t be off-shored and are helping both our economy and our environment. Maryland is rife with opportunities for more renewable energy, and there’s no reason places like Massachusetts and New Jersey and North Carolina should be outpacing Maryland in solar and other areas.”

Walt Wunder, president of Aeronautica Windpower, LLC, said: “As an American-owned wind turbine manufacturer with products installed in Maryland, Aeronautica Windpower applauds Maryland’s efforts to expand its use of renewable energy from the wind and sun. We have watched as other states and countries which embrace renewables improve their economy by increasing employment and stabilizing the cost of electricity. Maryland has the renewable resources to be a national leader in this respect, and the 40 percent standard is the way to get there.”

Tommy Landers, Maryland Policy Director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and a representative of the Maryland Climate Coalition, said: “We can and must pass legislation in 2015 to double wind and solar power for Maryland.  As Maryland moves forward with clean energy, we will move forward on jobs, forward on health, and forward on climate action. That’s why this bill is a top priority of a large and growing coalition of business leaders, environmentalists, faith leaders, public health groups, labor unions, and social justice advocates.”

On January 14, the first day of the Maryland General Assembly session, activists will join Maryland climate, business, labor, and social justice leaders for a 10:30 a.m. rally on Lawyer’s Mall calling for action in 2015 to double Maryland’s clean electricity standard.

View a summary of the OpinionWorks polling released today and commissioned by the Maryland Climate Coalition:

http://marylandclimatecoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/OpinionWorks-Climate-Poll-Fact-Sheet-1-8-15.pdf

 

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Coalition Launches Campaign to Pass Nation-Leading Clean Energy Legislation

For Immediate Release
October 17, 2014

Contact:
Mike Tidwell, 240-460-5838, mtidwell@chesapeakeclimate.org
Josh Tulkin, 650-722-3171, Josh.Tulkin@mdsierra.org

Wading into Baltimore’s Rising Waters, Coalition Launches Campaign to Pass Nation-Leading Clean Energy Legislation

 

NAACP, Maryland Working Families, Baptist Reverend, health professionals and students join business and environmental leaders in calling on state lawmakers to double Maryland’s commitment to clean electricity in 2015

BALTIMORE – At a podium half-submerged in the Baltimore Harbor, public-interest leaders today launched a broad-based campaign aimed at doubling Maryland’s clean energy goals for wind and solar power in the 2015 legislative session.

Representatives from faith, health, social justice, student, business and environmental groups began Friday’s press conference standing up to their hips in water along Baltimore’s vulnerable harbor to dramatize the threat of sea-level rise. The leaders pointed to several recent climate change studies painting a flooded future for Maryland’s largest city and its capital city Annapolis. In response, the leaders underscored the urgency of transitioning Maryland off of planet-heating fossil fuels, and they declared their top energy priority in Annapolis in 2015 will be passing a 40 percent clean electricity standard.

Specifically, the legislation to be introduced would require utilities to obtain 40% of their electricity from clean sources by 2025, effectively doubling the existing requirement of 20% by 2022 under Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard law. In addition to the exceptionally strong and diverse coalition assembled in-person on Friday, leaders shared a new letter signed by 21 prominent local, statewide and national groups endorsing the campaign and a recently published letter by Bishop Wolfgang Herz-Lane, President of the Ecumenical Leaders Group, endorsing the campaign.

“This fall, supported by the work of Interfaith Power & Light, Maryland’s religious communities have renewed our commitment to stewardship and care for all God’s creation,” said Reverend Darriel Harris of the Baltimore Food & Faith Project. “This morning, we challenge our leaders in Annapolis to do the same.”

The Ecumenical Leaders’ Group — representing seven denominations of Christian churches throughout Maryland — recently voted to endorse a 40% clean electricity standard for Maryland. In less than a month, forty religious leaders representing diverse faith traditions have signed onto their call.

Maryland’s official greenhouse gas reduction plan, released in 2013, identifies strengthening the state’s clean electricity standard as the most powerful single policy tool available to lawmakers. Polling released earlier this week indicates that 65 percent of Marylanders support doubling the state’s target to 40% by 2025.

MD 40 percent presser land 10-17

“Poor communities and communities of color here in Maryland are suffering at the hands of the fossil fuel industry,” stated Gerald Stansbury, President of the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP. “2015 can be the year that Maryland takes the biggest step we’ve taken yet to right that wrong.”

Maryland still gets more than half of its energy from dirty coal and gas. In addition to threatening cities like Baltimore and Annapolis with rising sea levels and increased flooding, these fuels threaten Marylanders’ health, with the impacts disproportionately harming low-income communities and communities of color.

“By cutting our addiction to fossil fuels, we will not only be ensuring a safer — and drier — future, we will also be improving the health of every Maryland resident starting today,” said Dr. Gina Angiola, MD, a board member of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Our state has the dubious distinction of being the worst in the Eastern U.S. for ground-level ozone pollution, and MIT recently found that Baltimore City has the highest rate of premature death in the nation due to air pollution. This isn’t a problem we can afford to ignore.”

Baltimore native Christine Keels, a lifelong asthma sufferer, emphasized that Baltimore residents suffer from this air pollution every day. “I carry a medical supply kit with me everywhere I go. As an asthma patient, I think about how dirty the air is every day when I wake up,” said Keels. “For once, I’d just like to drive with the windows down and take a deep breath.”

Business leaders emphasized that, by passing a nation-leading clean electricity standard, state lawmakers have an opportunity to establish Maryland as a regional hub for clean energy jobs and investment.

“Doubling our commitment to clean energy 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 workers and our communities.”

Bruce Chatman, CEO and President of Essex Renewable Power LLC, said, ”Doubling our commitment to clean energy in Maryland means more companies like mine, employing more Marylanders – from engineers to construction employees, from blade, battery and solar panel manufacturers to gearbox makers, from electricians to operators – working for Maryland-based small businesses building the new clean energy economy.”

The coalition declared that they will continue building bigger and broader support for doubling Maryland’s clean energy goals, and plan to bring a powerful statewide grassroots movement with them to Annapolis in 2015.

“Addressing climate disruption is a moral obligation, but more importantly it is an opportunity to build a brighter future for Maryland based on renewable, clean power,” said Josh Tulkin, State Director of the Sierra Club, Maryland Chapter, who spoke on behalf of the Maryland Climate Coalition. “Doubling our state’s commitment to renewable energy, to 40% by 2025, means progress not just on climate and public health, but also on jobs and economic leadership for Maryland. The Sierra Club is ready to do everything we can to pass this legislation in 2015.”

“Flooding that used to occur just a day or two a year has become increasingly common, more so in Baltimore and Annapolis than nearly anywhere in the country,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and also a member of the Maryland Climate Coalition. “But just as the tides are rising, so is a grassroots movement demanding action. This movement will be sweeping Annapolis come January with one goal: doubling our state’s clean power supply.”

PHOTOS: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chesapeakeclimate/sets/72157648809030601/

RESOURCES:

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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.


Maryland Climate Coalition Seeks Coordinator

The Maryland Climate Coalition seeks an experienced professional looking to play a critical role in, and make a meaningful contribution to, the movement to address climate change. The Coalition Coordinator will be responsible for organizing the efforts of the Maryland Climate Coalition, a robust collaboration of national, regional, state, and local advocacy organizations committed to advancing policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and engaging diverse audiences in the demand for urgent action by decision-makers to address the impacts of climate change.

The Coalition Coordinator will ensure that all aspects of the Coalition’s campaigns are integrated, work with the Coalition’s Steering Committee and staff to develop annual priorities and work plans, and implement the Coalition’s strategic plan. The Coalition Coordinator is responsible for managing the Coalition field coordinator, contractors as needed, and supporting the work of the Coalition’s Steering Committee. Principal duties include supporting committees comprised of staff from the Coalition’s organizational members in developing political and grassroots/grasstops strategies; developing content and managing communications needs; facilitating the Coalition’s media outreach; organizing meetings and events; and assisting with writing and grant reporting.

To apply, please send resume, cover letter, and writing sample to: info@marylandclimatecoalition.org and danfurmansky@gmail.com.

Click here to download the full job description.


Governor O’Malley Signs Offshore Wind Bill into Law

Press Release Date:
Tuesday, April 09, 2013

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 9, 2013

Governor O’Malley Signs Offshore Wind Bill into Law

Maryland Offshore Wind Coalition has worked diligently for three years to bring offshore wind to Maryland

 

ANNAPOLIS – Today, Governor Martin O’Malley, will sign the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013, into law. This new law will help Maryland set up a market-driven process to incentivize the construction of approximately 40 ocean-based wind turbines capable of producing enough electricity to power a third of the homes on the Eastern Shore.

The state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires that 20% of the state’s electricity needs be met by renewable energy sources by the year 2022 and the passage of this bill will help Maryland meet its needs. Because of the legislators that voted for this bill, Maryland can now begin tapping into the tremendous energy of the wind blowing off our Atlantic coast. “Offshore wind power has the ability to supply up to one third of the Mid-Atlantic’s electricity load with zero emissions while creating thousands of jobs and locking in stable rates. This is not only a win for renewable wind energy but for Marylanders across the state,” says Coalition Coordinator, Larissa Johnson.

The Maryland Offshore Wind Coalition has worked tirelessly for three years to bring offshore wind to Maryland and today they will support the Governor as he signs the bill into law at 10:30 am in the Governor’s Reception room. Coalition members will then be attending a celebratory reception from 11:15 am – 12:45 pm at the League of Conservation Voters Office, 86 Maryland Ave in Annapolis. All are welcome to attend as we commemorate this monumental win for offshore wind and the future of our state.


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