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Offshore Wind Turbine edited-1Thank Governor O'Malley!

 VETOED by the GOVERNOR: Electricity--Certificate--Wind Turbines--Limitation (HB 1168) would have placed a moratorium until July, 2015 on further development of wind energy projects within a 56 mile radius of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, including the Great Bay Wind Project that has been under development for years.  In fact,  the developer has already invested millions of dollars in plans for this project, has worked closely with the Department of the Navy and the Department of Defense and construction is about ready to begin.

Not only would the provisions of HB1168 likely have stopped the PAX River development: the General Assembly's Fiscal and Policy Note on the bill states that  "It covers the entirety of the southern Maryland counties, most of the counties east of the Chesapeake Bay, and most of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties."

 For more detailed information on this bill, see the letter  below    There is also an informative editorial in the Baltimore Sun, which you may access by clicking here.


2014 UULM-MD Climate Change Issues

Urgent Letter to All Maryland Senators--Oppose HB 1168!

Chesapeake Bay Foundation   Maryland League of Conservation Voters
Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition   Sierra Club – Maryland Chapter
Maryland Environmental Health Network   Clean Water Action   Environment Maryland
Assateague Coastal Trust   Chesapeake Climate Action Network   Food & Water Watch
League of Women Voters of Maryland   Interfaith Power & Light (MD.DC.NoVA)
West/Rhode Riverkeeper   Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry for Maryland

March 27, 2014
Dear Maryland Senators,
We are writing to clarify the record on one of the most important bills you will be asked to vote
on during this legislative session, the so-called “anti-wind power” bill or HB 1168. As leaders
from the fields of business, agriculture, labor rights, and the environment, we are positively
alarmed by the harm that would come from HB 1168. If passed, it would effectively shut down
an emerging $1 billion wind industry on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
But the very good news is this: The U.S. Department of Defense officially stated recently that it
believes that the Great Bay Wind Energy Center – the state’s largest most mature wind farm in
development – can be built and operated in a way that satisfies radar testing needs at the
Patuxent River Naval Air Station. This essentially resolves the core reason supporters of HB
1168 introduced the bill. Again, for the first time, the DOD indicated this week that an
agreement – already agreed to by a key wind company developing along the Eastern Shore –
makes the DOD satisfied. That agreement is simple: The proposed Eastern Shore wind turbines
will totally shut down and stop spinning whenever the Navy needs to test its radar system. After
the test, the windmills can spin again. This approach, according to the DOD, creates “a feasible
and affordable mitigation measure.”
That’s the good news. The bad news is that, if HB 1168 passes despite DOD satisfaction with
radar measures, then the state of Maryland – and especially Eastern Shore communities, laborers,
and farmers – will lose enormously. This is guaranteed. The president of one proposed wind
farm in Somerset County – Pioneer Green – has emphatically stated that HB 1168 will kill the
$200 million wind farm just as construction is nearly ready to begin. Passage of the bill will
place a moratorium on wind development in all or parts of 12 Maryland counties, sending a
message to the national and international wind industries that Maryland is effectively closed for
business. The potential loss of investment opportunity for the Eastern Shore is conservatively
estimated by the Maryland Energy Administration to exceed $1 billion. Simultaneously, a wind
turbine manufacturing company currently considering opening a Baltimore plant may choose to
go elsewhere if this bill passes. The cumulative loss of jobs, income, tax revenue and other
economic benefits would be enormous.
Therefore, we appeal to you to carefully consider what is best for ALL of Maryland. HB 1168
will harm the entire state of Maryland – for decades to come – in an unnecessary attempt to
resolve a problem that has already been resolved. Our state has made tremendous progress over
the past decade in the fight for clean energy and a stable climate. Please do not vote to end that.


MD Climate Coalition

Cleaner Power, Brighter Maryland 

Cleaner Power Brighter Maryland

1) 40% x 2025:

Make Maryland a Leader: 40% Clean Electricity by 2025


 Maryland is fully capable of obtaining a robust 40% of its electricity from clean sources like wind and solar power by the not-so-distant year of 2025.

Today, in Maryland we still get a majority of our electricity from burning dirty fossil fuels, which in turn leads to almost half of our state’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Thankfully, in 2004, Maryland became one of the first states to adopt a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which requires electricity suppliers to buy a growing share of their power from renewable sources. The original goal was 7.5% clean electricity by 2019. Since then, the RPS has been amended several times, most notably in 2008 by more than doubling the requirement to 20% by 2022. But with global warming accelerating faster than scientists predicted even 5 years ago, it’s time for the Maryland General Assembly to double this standard again, to 40% by 2025.

Governor Martin O’Malley has already called for a 25% clean electricity standard by 2020, and now a coalition of environmental, faith, health, and business groups is calling for the 40%-by-2025 goal.

With just a small increase in the rate of Maryland’s RPS growth, the state can reach the Governor’s goal of 25%-by-2020 and then continue on to achieve 40%-by-2025.

How will Maryland be able to increase its clean energy ramp-up?

#1: Other States in the US, and Other Countries are near 40% today.



Electricity Generation 2012 (GWh)

Geoth./Wind/Solar/Other 2012 (% of generation)

Hydro 2012 (% of generation)

Renewable Energy 2012 (% of generation)











North Dakota





South Dakota
































































 #2: Wind and solar prices are plummeting.

Solar PV module prices have fallen 80% since 2008, and 20% in 2012 alone!

What’s more, Maryland is leading the pack. In their 2012 countdown of the top solar states, the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) ranked Maryland #8 right in front of Texas and Colorado, and right behind sunny Hawaii. In explaining their decision, SEIA said:

Maryland tops all other states in the nation in driving down solar installation prices. Smart state policy has encouraged a great deal of solar deployment, with 74.3 megawatts installed in 2012. It’s clear the solar industry is starting to take root--it’s already surpassed the state’s famous crab industry in value.”

Wind turbine prices have fallen 29% since 2008, and 14% in 2012 alone!

Thanks to smart clean energy polices, wind power is now cost competitive with other forms of conventional energy.

Minnesota’s largest electric utility, Xcel Energy, recently submitted a proposal to build 600 MW of wind power beyond what is necessary to comply with the state’s current RPS. Explaining why the company made that decision, the CEO of Xcel Energy’s subsidiary said:

“Wind prices are extremely competitive right now, offering lower costs than other possible resources like natural gas plants. These projects offer a great hedge against rising and often volatile fuel prices.”

The Benefits


Federal statistics show that Maryland has the 7th “greenest” work force in the U.S. with over 91,000 individuals employed in the sector in 2011. Governor O’Malley’s plan to increase the RPS to 25 percent would support between 3,000 and 5,400 jobs in Maryland annually between now and 2020. Extending the RPS to 40% by 2025 will allow Maryland to maintain that pace of supporting thousands of new jobs per year.


Enhancing the RPS to 40% by 2025 would reduce the carbon equivalent of taking hundreds of thousands of passenger vehicles off the road every year. This would give Maryland one of the strongest climate standards for electricity in America.

Health and Ratepayer Impacts

Achieving a 40% clean electricity standard will, over time, save Maryland’s economy billions of dollars in health costs from  avoided air pollution. These savings will help substantially offset an estimated slight increase in utility bills of a few dollars per month evolving from an expanded RPS.

Written by:

  • Tommy Landers, Maryland & DC Policy Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network
  • Christine Hill, Chris Hill, Campaign and Policy Representative - Maryland Beyond Coal, Sierra Club Maryland Chapter

Reprinted by the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland

2) Restricting Qualifying Biomass ("Black Liquor and Wood Waste") as an Energy Source:

Reducing Carbon Pollution in Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard Will Clean the Air without Impacting Ratepayers


While fellow Mid-Atlantic States like Delaware and New Jersey get over 70% of their renewable energy portfolios from the wind and sun, these resources make up only 15% of Maryland’s portfolio. The primary reason is a flaw in our renewable energy law that supports out-of-state high-emission black liquor and wood waste facilities that have been in operation for over 32 years on average.

Maryland lawmakers should limit the eligibility of black liquor and wood-waste in the RPS. This will ensure our renewable dollars go to work for new clean energy resources without impacting energy bills


By requiring that power providers buy a growing portion of electricity supplied from renewable sources, the original intent of the RPS was to establish a market for new sources of mostly in-state renewable electricity generation and to recognize economic and environmental benefits.

However, rather than encouraging new low-emission facilities, the ratepayer-funded renewable energy credits (RECs) from Maryland have largely flowed towards old sources of generation that were already operating for decades without ratepayer assistance. For the last five years, 56 percent of Maryland’s renewable energy dollars have been spent subsidizing black liquor and wood waste facilities that have been in operation for over 32 years on average.

Maryland is the only state within our regional grid that allows unrestricted access to renewable energy credits for all black liquor and wood waste.

Black liquor and wood waste facilities generate heat-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane emissions on par with coal, and health-hazardous emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, arsenic, and lead at levels greater than or equal to fossil fuels. Furthermore, because all black liquor and wood waste facilities that qualify for the RPS were built decades ago, they do not contribute to reducing CO2 or any other pollutants from fossil fuels below current levels. The only way to reduce pollution below current levels is to build new clean energy facilities to displace high-emitting energy production.


The Maryland General Assembly should pass legislation to limit the eligibility “qualifying biomass” in the RPS.

Currently, black liquor and wood waste plants are the only “qualifying biomass” facilities receiving Maryland RECs. Restricting “qualifying biomass” RECs will fix the RPS and thus solidify the General Assembly’s intent of promoting clean sources of renewable energy for the benefit of our health and economy.

Because the future price of RECs will be set by new wind power regardless of whether out-of-state black liquor and wood waste facilities qualify for the RPS, their restriction will have no future impact on Maryland ratepayers.

Limiting black liquor and wood waste will create more space in our RPS for new clean generation, which will create jobs and reduce global warming pollution.

Written by Tommy Landers, Maryland & DC Policy Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Christine Hill, Campaign and Policy Representative - Maryland Beyond Coal, Sierra Club Maryland Chapter

Reprinted by UULM-MD, a member of the Maryland Climate Coalition.

3) "Fracking"--Drilling for Natural Gas:

Fracking: In 2014, UULM-MD is supporting the Shale Gas Drilling Safety Review Act of 2014 (SB745/HB1122). This legislation would prohibit issuing a permit for hydraulic fracturing of a well for the exploration or production of natural gas until certain requirements have been met, including information on the human and environmental consequences of the natural gas drilling process known as "fracking."


wastewater pond

How would you like to have this in your backyard?  It's a wastewater pond for a fracking operation.







Global Climate Change, Pollution and


Maryland’s Fracking Moratorium


What is “fracking”?


Hydraulic fracturing of underground rock structures to recover natural gas is spreading rapidly around the US.  It is producing natural gas and grave environmental concerns. This practice, commonly called “Fracking”, involves high pressure pumping of huge amounts of water, sand and chemicals into promising rock or shale formations to break them and release trapped natural gas.  Fracking is reported in 28 States. Corporations now want to use fracking in Western Maryland and have obtained many “intent to frack” leases from local landowners.  


Are there concerns?


Industry avoids responsibility.  Industry’s approach is frack now, keep the chemicals used secret by claiming “trade secrets”, don’t tell landowners of all risks around leasing their land, deny provable legal responsibility for negative effects, delay impact research and lobby against regulatory legislation.   A Bush Administration regulatory exemption from the Clean Water Act is assuming, they cannot be held retroactively responsible for damages caused before regulations are imposed.  This strategy minimizes expenses and increases profits, but is often used and inspires much mistrust.  

Drilling pad

There is major awareness of the concerns surrounding frackingin much of the US, but not here because of Maryland’s fragile fracking moratorium.


Water use is a major concern.  Each well uses millions of gallons of water under high pressure to fracture underground rock and shale formations.  


Water contamination is a major concern.  There have been numerous reports of groundwater and surface water contamination attributed to chemicals used in fracking.  Industry denies responsibility citing lack of information clearly proving their responsibility.


Toxic waste water disposal is a major concern.  Water retrieved from wells contains many chemicals toxic to humans and the environment.
 Storage and disposal of this contaminated water brings risks from spills contaminating land and water to earthquakes from underground disposal.  Sewage treatment plants can’t detoxify it
and the industry says their practices are safe.


Land use is a major concern.  Drilling pads, waste storage sites and roads and pipelines leading to and from drilling sites convert lots of rural land to heavy industrial use. Landowners report being mislead about the effect of fracking leases on damage to their rural lands from industrialization anddrilling pad pond access road pollution and lowering its future resale value.  These and other concerns often reduce the financial and esthetic values of surrounding land from home sites to farms and parks


Greenhouse gases are a major concern.  Fracking, along with its related processing and transportation often release methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. Regulation, monitoring, controls and accountability for methane releases and leaks are generally lacking and difficult to enforce across thousand of fracking sites and miles of pipelines.  Burning the gas also produces CO2.  The total climate change impact from all aspects of fracking may be greater than coal, but much research is needed to clarify the total impact.  An ethical industry would pay for research on all aspects of fracking before proceeding, instead of just saying “trust us”.


Why moratorium Legislation now?


Fracking is only on temporary hold in Maryland. Governor Martin O’Malley issued an Executive Order in 2011 establishing a special commission to determine if and how fracking could be done safely in Maryland.  However, the commission lacks dedicated funding to do the studies and analyses of fracking’s impact on the human and natural environment.  Meanwhile, funding from our General Assembly for this vital work has been opposed by the industry.  Legal protections are lacking to prevent fracking before this critical research is done.


Because the Executive Order does not have the force of law and lacks funding, the Maryland General Assembly must immediately pass legislation to temporarily prevent fracking until two steps are completed.  First, the impact studies identified in the Executive Order must be funded, completed and publicly reported to the General Assembly and citizens.  Second, legislators can decide if and how fracking is appropriate for Maryland based on complete and credible information.  Nothing less is acceptable.  


UUs role.


There is no legitimate need to rush ahead. The gas will wait in the ground. Avoiding industry openness and accountability is NOT a legitimate public policy goal.   Until Marylanders can make a fully informed, scientifically credible decision on whether and how to frack safely in Maryland, a leak-proof, legal moratorium on fracking is reasonable and essential.  With UUs contacting their legislators early and often, we and a broad coalition can get this done. Our General Assembly should pass this legislation in 2014 and we can help it happen!




Surveys of Maryland Residents About Climate Change Released  


Two reports have been released from a survey developed by the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University.  The first report, "Public Health, Energy & Climate Change," found that, "More than half of Marylanders (52 percent) believe people in the United States are being harmed by climate change. A majority of Marylanders believe respiratory problems, injuries from storms or other extreme weather events and heat stroke will become more common because of climate change.Read more..


The full report can be found at


The second report, " Climate Change & Energy: Public Attitudes, Behavior & Policy Support," released by the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, included the following information:


"In this report we present findings about attitudes, behaviors, and policy preferences regarding energy and climate change based on a sample of 2,126 state residents. By randomly sampling across each of the state's four distinct geographical and cultural regions, we are able to generalize to these areas, and the state as a whole.


"Selected key findings include:


A large majority say climate change is real, and action is needed

  • The large majority of Marylanders say they believe that climate change is happening - 86% - with half of respondents saying that they are very or extremely sure. This number is striking considering that a national poll asking the same question during the same period found that only 63% of Americans say that global warming is happening.  

Most say their local environment is changing, and their weather is getting worse

  • More than half of our respondents said they feel that their local weather and environment is changing (64%), and that the weather is getting worse (51%).  

A large majority support local and state government protection against climate harm

  • More than three-quarters of Marylanders say that they support their local and state governments taking action to protect their community against harm caused by climate change. Very few oppose governmental action - less than 13%.  

Many are unsure of state's energy sources, but prefer renewables like solar and wind

  • Roughly half or more of state residents (48-59%) admit that they don't know even in general terms how much electricity generated in Maryland comes from various sources - including petroleum (oil), natural gas, coal, hydroelectric, nuclear, solar and wind; and there are large misperceptions among those people who feel they do know.
  • More than half of state residents say that they would like to see more of their electricity come from renewable sources, such as solar (69%), and wind (land-based, 62%; offshore, 59%).  

The survey was fielded from March 28 to June 4, 2013 with a response rate of 38%. The report can be downloaded here: Climate Change & Energy - Public Attitudes, Behaviors & Policy Support: A Survey of Maryland Residents, Summer 2013."


"A previous report - examining Marylanders' perceptions and policy preferences regarding the health implications of energy choices and climate change - is available at online here. "

 Center for Climate Change Communication, George Mason University
Fairfax, Virginia 22032


Global Climate Change: Disrupting the Interdependent Web of All Existence

As Unitarian Universalists, we recognize the interdependence of all existence. We are called to seek solutions to environmental degradation in affirmation of our Seventh Principle. Most are now aware of the severe consequences of the Earth’s warming climate. This not only threatens to disrupt key ecological processes, but will exacerbate worldwide inequality as its impacts disproportionately affect marginalized groups in vulnerable regions.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and Fukushima nuclear reactor problems in Japan are stark reminders of the grave consequences of our reliance on fossil and nuclear energy.   The impacts are huge and their duration still unknown. Hurricane Sandy is emblematic of changes in the weather. As a coastal state, Maryland is projected to be particularly impacted by sea level rise, with profound implications for our State’s ecology, economy, and culture.

2013 brings renewed opportunities for Maryland citizens to lead on climate change and renewable energy. Maryland can soon begin generating electricity with wind turbines in the shallow waters off Ocean City, launching an offshore wind industry for America. This initiative will minimize our State’s reliance on fossil energy, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce unemployment. Unitarian Universalists have always provided key contributions to nationwide grassroots environmental efforts. Now more than ever we are called to lead as UUs and citizens to transform Maryland’s energy industry and protect our health and environment.

OSWind edited 

Offshore Wind: A Green Opportunity for Maryland

Currently, the majority of Maryland’s energy is from coal-powered plants. These release a staggering amount of greenhouse gas and other pollutants each year. Coal extraction, which often involves mountaintop removal, is devastating to biodiversity, and, as recent mine explosions demonstrate, to human health and wellbeing. Cleaner energy blows freely just off our beaches. The Federal government has recently made 277 square nautical miles off the coast of Maryland available for lease by wind power companies:

  • This moderate-sized 300MW wind farm would have the potential to generate up to one third of our region’s energy needs, significantly reducing our reliance on coal power and cutting its toxic emissions.
  • Wind is renewable and free “fuel”, providing stable energy prices for customers.
  • Around 4,000 jobs will be needed for construction and maintenance of offshore wind farms.
  • New Jersey, Delaware and Massachusetts already have wind energy plans underway.
  • Proposed wind farms will be located 10-20 miles offshore, will not be visible from land.
  • According to the Audubon Society well located wind turbines pose less threat to birds than mining and burning coal.
  • Air pollution from burning coal increases cardiac and breathing problems for thousand of Marylanders at great expense in suffering, death and in private and public health care costs.

Creating offshore wind farms, however, will require a shift in our State’s current regulatory paradigms. Specifically, energy companies need incentives to invest billions, so that the significant start-up costs may be recouped. It is imperative that we urge our State representatives to pass legislation that directs Maryland utilities to buy energy from offshore wind farms. Such legislation passed the House of Delegates but not the Senate in 2012. If we citizens require it, 2013 will be our year to authorize an offshore wind industry for Maryland.

While the Gulf oil spill and Fukushima reactor problems are ecological tragedies, coal mining and burning continues poisoning human health and our shared environment. Out of adversity comes opportunity. As Unitarian Universalists, we are called by our consciences to support climate solutions that harness clean energy and bring justice to our most vulnerable here and around the world. Maryland UUs continue to be a powerful force within grassroots citizen campaigns. Now more than ever our help is needed to support clean energy, mitigate climate change and generate American jobs.

 Maryland and Offshore Wind

For resource information about Maryland and offshore wind, follow this link to the Resources page of Marylanders for Offshore Wind. UULM-MD is represented on the Steering Committee of  the Maryland Climate Coalition, Marylanders for Offshore Wind and The Maryland Climate Change and Clean Energy Coalition.

To Learn More and to Take Action:


 UUs and Climate Change

As Unitarian Universalists, we recognize the interdependence of all existence and are called to seek solutions to environmental degradation in affirmation of our Seventh Principle. Most are now aware of the severe consequences of the Earth’s shifting climate, which not only threatens to disrupt key ecological processes, but will exacerbate worldwide inequality as its impacts disproportionately affect marginalized groups in vulnerable regions. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 was a stark reminder of the grave consequences of our reliance on nonrenewable energy, as its impacts not only harmed sensitive habitat and marshland, but reverberated throughout communities whose livelihoods rely on sustainable fishery management. As a coastal state, Maryland is projected to be particularly impacted by sea level rise, with profound implications for our State’s ecology, economy, and culture. 

2013 brings renewed opportunities for Maryland citizens to help launch our State into a position of national climate leadership. At stake is one of the largest offshore wind farms yet proposed in the United States, an initiative which would minimize our State’s reliance on non-renewable energy, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce unemployment. Unitarian Universalists have always provided key contributions to nationwide grassroots environmental efforts, and now more than ever we are called to stand as a leading example on the importance of citizen campaigns to transform Maryland’s energy dependence. 

Please click here to read more about UULM's position on climate change.

Wind Power

To read about the extent and success of wind power in Europe, go to this article published by the European Wind Energy Association.


Letter to the editor of the Washington Post about offshore wind in Maryland by Tom Carlson, Maryland campaign director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network:

"The Feb. 5 front-page article “Despite likely O’Malley win, wind project might not fly” underestimated the prospects for developing Maryland’s most abundant clean-energy resource.   

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s 2013 offshore wind bill represents Maryland’s piece of the puzzle for launching one of our region’s best available solutions to the global climate crisis. The bill is...Read more.


For additional information on these and other environmental issues, check out

Marylanders for Offshore Wind

UU UNO Climate Change Task Force
League of Conservation Voters
Union of Concerned Scientists 
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Environment Maryland
Sierra Club of Maryland
Maryland League of Conservation Voters
Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light 
UU Ministry for Earth 

In addition to being a UULM-MD priority, global warming is a top issue for many other statewide advocacy networks as well as the Unitarian Universalist Association and the UU Service Committee. Please click here to view the Statement of Conscience adopted at the 2006 UUA General Assembly.

The UULM-MD Board of Directors has adopted guidelines that UUs may use when fiscal issues arise in relation to our priority issues, such as global warming. Please click here to read the guidelines.

For more information on this issue, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..