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.