2017 Session Report
Two victories were obtained this year:
Early in the session, the General Assembly overrode the Governor’s veto of HB 1106 passed in 2016, the Clean Energy--Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Revision Bill. As it is now effective, the law increases Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 25% by 2020 and created funding for workforce development and minority and women-owned businesses in the clean energy sector.
The General Assembly overwhelmingly passed and the Governor signed HB 1325, imposing a complete ban on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for oil and gas production in the State.
During the session, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) considered two proposals to build wind turbines off Maryland’s Atlantic coast that would make our State the home to some of the nation's first — and by far its largest — offshore wind farms. UULM-MD presented signatures from over 250 UUs, and UULM-MD leaders testified in Ocean City and Annapolis in support of both proposals. In May, the PSC approved both proposals, stating that it would "position Maryland as a national leader in offshore wind energy." The wind farms are expected to prevent emissions of hundreds of thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide and create some 5,000 jobs and $74 million in state tax revenue.
2016 Session Report
UULM-MD is a member of the Maryland Climate Coalition, a coalition of environmental, faith, business, health and labor groups, is joining with these organizations to call for the renewal of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act (GGRA) and an increased Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 25% by 2020 for Maryland.
In 2016, we supported two bills, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act--Reauthorization (SB323/HB610) and theClean Energy Jobs--Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Revisions (SB921/HB1106).
In addition to reauthorizing the requirement of 25% by 2020, the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act--Reauthorization (SB323/HB610) requires the State to reduce statewide GHG emissions by 40% from 2006 levels by 2030. It also requires the plan to have a positive impact on job creation and economic growth in Maryland.
The Clean Energy Jobs--Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Revisions (SB921/HB1106) establishes the Clean Energy Workforce Account in the Maryland EARN Program, providing for the funding for workforce development and support for minority and women-owned businesses in the clean energy sector.
Over half of Maryland’s electricity still comes from carbon-spewing fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas. These dirty fuels are bad for our health, our economy, our climate, and our energy security. As the state that is the third most vulnerable in America to sea-level rise driven by climate change, and with the worst air quality on the east coast, we need to act now to curb our dependence on fossil fuels. And clean energy has already proven itself to be a powerful driver of economic development in Maryland, including job creation.
That’s why the Maryland Climate Coalition is working to increase the state’s clean energy standard, called the “Renewable Portfolio Standard.” It’s time to raise Maryland’ commitment to clean energy like wind and solar to 25% by 2020.
2015 Session Report
UULM-MD, a member of the Maryland Climate Coalition, supported the Maryland Clean Energy Advancement Act of 2015, SB373/HB377. This legislation would have increased the minimum percentage of energy supplied to Maryland consumers that must come from clean, renewable sources to 25% by 2020 with an aspirational goal of 40% by 2025. The bill was given an unfavorable report by the Senate Finance Committee, but we expect similar, revised legislation to be introduced in 2016.
Clean Energy is an environmental issue. A 40% clean electricity standard will have a similar reduction in carbon going into our atmosphere as removing 2 million passenger vehicles off the road every year.
Clean Energy is a health issue. More than 85% of Marylanders live in areas that fail to meet the nation's clean air standards. Maryland has the worst ground-level ozone pollution in the eastern U.S. This contributes to increased rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases.
Clean Energy is an economic issue. Rising ocean temperatures threaten Maryland's shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay as well as the state's tourist, crabbing and fishing industries. According to a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, Annapolis and Baltimore will suffer more frequent flooding. By increasing the clean electricity standard.
Clean Energy is a social justice issue. Low-income people and people of color are disproportionately harmed by the increased health costs and the decrease in good-paying jobs. Based on the U.S. Department of Energy's Jobs and Economic Development Indicator, this legislation would incentivize nearly 1,600 new Maryland jobs per year in the solar industry and substantially more in the wind industry.
In 2015, UULM-MD supported the Environment-Hydraulic Fracturing-Regulations, SB409/HB449. This legislation would prohibit issuing a permit for hydraulic fracturing of a well for the exploration or production of natural gas until April 30, 2023 and until certain requirements have been met, including information on the human and environmental consequences of the natural gas drilling process known as "fracking."