Support environment bills in the Maryland Legislature

DTMG supported six environmental bills and we have two success stories – see them highlighted below.

Clean Energy Jobs (CEJA) (HB1158 and SB0516) – CEJA will increase Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which requires utilities to buy a certain percentage of electricity each year from renewable sources. The current RPS target of 25% by 2020 will be increased to 50% by 2030, increasing the percentage of renewable energy that must come from solar and wind, and and will require the Legislature to develop a path to 100% clean energy by 2040. CEJA also includes a significant increase in the requirement for solar energy produced in Maryland from the 2.5% currently required by 2020 to 14.5% by 2030. See a recent supporting opinion in Maryland Matters and Senator Van Hollen’s endorsement.

Status:

Success! The Clean Energy Jobs Bill passed both chambers. Now it’s up to the Governor to sign it.
Action: Urge the Governor to sign!

Talking Points:

  • Maryland is losing solar and wind energy jobs to other states with more aggressive clean energy goals. Passing CEJA will reverse that and bring thousands of good jobs to Maryland.
  • Each year of waiting for passage costs the State potential revenue. For example, the federal tax credit for solar installation will decline from 30% this year to 26% next year. If the CEJA is passed in 2020 rather than in 2019, Maryland stands to lose $240 million in potential revenue from federal tax credits. 
  • CEJA will transform Maryland’s economy into a clean energy economy.
  • CEJA will position Maryland as a clean energy industry leader, making it attractive for businesses to invest in Maryland’s workers and its future.
  • CEJA will attract substantial investment in solar and wind energy jobs and job training.
  • CEJA includes substantial investment in solar and wind energy jobs and job training.  Funds from the Maryland Strategic Energy Investment Fund are earmarked for training programs in installing solar panels and wind turbines and set asides for women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses in the clean energy field.
  • CEJA will result in 20,000 new well paying jobs in clean energy technology.
  • More than 500 faith, community, labor, business, climate and environmental groups from across Maryland have endorsed the CEJA.

Read DTMG testimony here.

Expanded Polystyrene Food Service Products – Prohibition (HB109, SB0285) – DTMG joined with our friends at the Sierra Club to support this bill to ban disposable single-use food containers made from expanded polystyrene (EPS), aka styrofoam, beginning in 2020.  Plastic pollution is overwhelming our oceans and EPS food containers are a major contributor.

Status: Success! The bill passed with amendments.
Action: Urge the Governor to sign, or at least NOT veto!

Talking Points:

  • At the current rate, within 30 years there will likely be more plastic than fish in the Earth’s seas. 
  • EPS is nearly indestructible and not recyclable. It breaks into tiny pieces, absorbs toxic chemicals, and is eaten by marine life, injuring and killing them.
  • Several counties and cities in Maryland, including Montgomery, have banned EPS food containers. The ban should be made statewide.

Water Quality Certifications (Pipeline and Water Protection Act of 2019) (HB0669 and SB0387) – This bill will protect water quality in Maryland by requiring the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to conduct a water quality review and certification before issuing permits for natural gas pipelines in Maryland. 

Status:

Unfortunately, this bill received an unfavorable report by the House Economic Matters and Environment and Transportation committees.

Public Utilities – Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard – Tier 1 Sources (HB0961 and SB0548) AKA “No Cash for Trash” –This bill will remove taxpayer incentives for burning trash to make electricity in Maryland.  Trash would no longer be included in Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and incinerators that burn trash would no longer receive Renewable Energy Credits (RECs).

Status:

Sadly, this bill died in committees: House Economic Matters Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.

Read DTMG testimony here.

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Natural Resources – State and Local Forest Conservation Funds (HB0120 and SB0203) – This bill strengthens the requirement for plans to mitigate deforestation and use of state and local forest conservation funds.

Status:

The Senate approved this bill, but it did not make it out of the House Environment and Transportation Committee.

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Pesticides – Use of Chlorpyrifos – Prohibition (HB0275 and SB0270) – This bill will ban use of the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos in Maryland afterDecember 31, 2020.

Status:

The House approved this bill, but it died in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.


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