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/