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A Note from the Executive Director

The 2022 Maryland legislative session was both memorable and momentous because we passed the most significant climate legislation in the nation.

The Climate Solutions Now Act (SB528) sets aggressive goals for Maryland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by 2031 and to reach net-zero emissions by 2045. Maryland LCV and its supporters and partners played a vital role in getting this legislation across the finish line and in ensuring that the final bill included strong equity provisions.

The Climate Solutions Now Act was not the only significant legislation addressed by the General Assembly this year. Our other top-priority bills, the Electric School Bus Pilot Program (HB696/SB948) and the Low- to Moderate-Income Community Solar (HB76/SB264) also passed. Maryland LCV’s 2022 Environmental Scorecard takes a focused look at the votes individual members took on these and other important conservation bills, and also grades the overall performance of the 2022 General Assembly on priority environmental issues.

Maryland LCV’s Environmental Scorecard holds elected officials accountable for the votes they took on important environmental bills and provides Marylanders with information to make informed voting decisions so that committed climate and environmental justice champions are elected.

Your voice, passion, and commitment to electing sound environmental leaders is particularly crucial as we head into the 2022 election season. Although we succeeded in passing Climate Solutions Now, our work is far from over. It is extremely important that our elected officials follow through with strong investments and policies to achieve the goals of the legislation. We rely on conservation voters like you to continue to ensure our elected officials are fighting the urgent impacts of climate change.

Making climate justice a reality in Maryland requires hard work and persistence. But together, we are achieving great advances for the environment and a healthier future for all Marylanders.

Kim Coble

Executive Director

While a significant step was taken to advance renewable energy by enacting the net metering bill (HB584/SB625) for the second year in a row, the Maryland  General Assembly failed to recognize and act with urgency to comprehensively address the climate crisis.

House Senate General Assembly
Climate Solutions Now Act  Passed  Passed  Passed
LMI Community Solar  Passed  Passed  Passed
Resiliency Hub  Passed Passed  Passed
FUTURE Act No Vote No Vote No Vote
Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 (SB528)

Maryland LCV top priority bill sets the most ambitious short-term greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goal in the nation, at 60 percent by 2031, as well as a net-zero emissions target by 2045. Among its many provisions, this legislation creates new energy performance standards that require larger buildings to become all electric, provides resources to finance new clean-energy strategies, and establishes zero-emission vehicle requirements for the State fleet while also creating an electric school bus pilot program to include new partnerships between the electric companies and school districts. The law also includes specific definitions of overburdened and underserved communities and requires specific funding be allocated to communities disproportionately affected by climate impacts

The bill became law without the Governor’s signature.

Maryland Energy Administration – Resiliency Hub Grant Program and (HB31/SB256)

Establishing the Resiliency Hub Grant Program serves Maryland’s low-to-moderate income residents by providing clean, reliable, and affordable energy during power outages at no cost to them. Resiliency Hubs use solar photovoltaic and stored battery energy to provide electricity during the outage.

The bill became law without the Governor’s signature.

Community Solar Energy Generating Systems – Exemption From Property Taxes.(HB76/SB264)

This bill exempts certain community solar energy projects from personal property taxes and aims to provide greater access to solar energy to low- and moderate-income communities. Examples of eligible community solar projects include projects on rooftops, parking garages, and brownfields. These property tax exemptions are established if a community system provides more than 50 percent of the energy it generates to low- and moderate-income level households at a cost that is at least 20 percent less than the amount charged by the electric company.

The bill was signed into law.

Facilitating University Transformations by Unifying Reductions in Emissions. (HB729/SB471 )

This bill provided a date for the closure of the remaining coal-fired power plants in Maryland and created a worker and community transition fund to ensure salary and benefit protections for workers currently engaged in the fossil fuel industry. Facing insurmountable opposition from within the Economic Matters House committee, the bill was withdrawn by the sponsor. The persistent failure of this bill to advance reflects the General Assembly’s worrisome unwillingness to address one of the single largest contributors to our state’s emissions as well as the health of the surrounding communities.

The bill failed to receive a vote in either chamber.

Significant progress was made to address environmental justice concerns via the Environmental Justice screening bill and the Electric School Bus Pilot program. We would have preferred for Justice 40 (HB1033) to pass, but were pleased that the General Assembly is including budgetary language in the 2022 budget that requires at least 40 percent of various funds to be targeted to overburdened communities. As we continue to emphasize clean and renewable energy, removing incineration from the Renewable Portfolio standard is a top priority.

House Senate General Assembly
Environmental Justice Screening  Passed  Passed  Passed
Electric School Bus Pilot  Passed  Passed  Passed
Justice 40  1 year budget language  1 year budget language  1 year budget language
Renewable Portfolio Standard Clean-Up No Vote N/A No Vote
Environment – Permit Applications – Environmental Justice Screening. (HB1200/SB818 )

This legislation requires the applicant for certain types of permits from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to include the Environmental Justice (EJ) Score for the census tract where the applicant is seeking the permit. The EJ Score, which includes pollution burden, exposure and environmental impacts, sensitive populations, and socioeconomic factors, will be verified by MDE as part of the application process and be included in public notice about the permit application.

The bill became law without the Governor’s signature

Public Utilities – Electric School Bus Pilot Program. (HB696/SB948 )

This bill was a top priority for Maryland LCV and our Chispa Maryland program. It creates an electric school bus pilot program, which establishes a partnership between electric companies and school districts. Electric companies can apply to implement an electric school bus program in a participating school district, which in turn would allow the company to use excess storage from the bus batteries and recover certain costs. This program will help school districts obtain electric school buses and protect the health of our children and communities.

The bill became law without the Governor’s signature.

Environment and Energy – Investment in Overburdened Communities (HB1033)

This bill requires investment in historically disenfranchised communities by allocating at least 40 percent of mitigation funds from select programs to areas that are both overburdened by environmental pollution and low income.

The bill did not receive a vote, but language from the bill was included in the State Budget for 2022-23.

Reclaim Renewable Energy Act of 2022. (HB11)

Had this bill passed, it would have removed all incineration from the State Renewable Portfolio Standard, helping clean the air and fully realize the potential of the RPS to expand clean and renewable energy throughout the state.

The bill did not receive a vote.

TRANSPORTATION

The Maryland General Assembly took significant steps to address transportation, the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. Ensuring that equity is considered in state transportation plans, improving the Maryland regional rail system, and converting the State bus fleet to zero emission buses will reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also minimizing impacts to overburdened communities. The Advanced Clean Truck rule needs to be a top priority for the 2023 session

House Senate General Assembly
Transportation Equity  Passed   Passed   Passed
State Fleet Conversion Passed  Passed   Passed
MARC Expansion Passed  Passed Passed
Advanced Clean Truck Rule No Vote No Vote No Vote
Equity in Transportation Sector – Guidelines and Analyses. (HB141/SB23 )

Requiring that equity be considered when State transportation plans, reports, and goals are developed; altering the membership of the advisory committee on State transportation goals; requiring the Department of Transportation, in collaboration with the Maryland Transportation Administration, to conduct a transit equity analysis and consult with certain communities before announcing any reduction or cancellation of a capital expansion project in the construction program of the Consolidated Transportation Program.

The bill was vetoed by the Governor after session and could not be overridden.

Maryland Transit Administration – Conversion to Zero-Emission Buses. (HB10/SB61)

This bill allows for the safety and well being of Maryland Transit Administration employees during the transition to zero-emission buses for the State’s transit bus fleet by creating employee protections and safety and workforce development training.

The bill became law without the Governor’s signature and also was a provision in the Climate Solutions Now Act (SB 528).

Maryland Regional Rail Transportation Act. (HB778/SB514 )

This legislation allows for the Maryland Regional Commuter rail service to be dramatically improved. It calls for Maryland Transit Administration investment programs to be established and allocated to certain rail lines and services within the Maryland Area Regional Commuter rail service.

The bill was vetoed by the Governor, but the veto was overridden.

Zero-Emission Truck Act of 2022. (HB829/SB687)

The bill would have required the Maryland Department of the Environment to adopt regulations establishing requirements for the sale of new zeroemission medium and heavy duty vehicles in the state. Had this legislation passed, Maryland would have been signed onto the Advanced Clean Truck Rule (ACT) to establish and promote the electrification of medium and heavy duty vehicles. (First adopted in California, ACT can be adopted by other states under authority of the Clean Air Act.)

The bill did not receive a vote.

Protecting and improving Maryland’s land and water quality was a priority for the 2022 Maryland General Assembly. The Conservation Finance Act will open new opportunities for funding and partners to help improve Maryland’s environment. Ending the use of PFAS is a significant step to improving public health, and protecting forests will benefit water and air quality. The General Assembly also took significant steps to ensure the Maryland Department of the Environment has the tools, including staffing, to implement a successful and timely water pollution permitting program.

House Senate General Assembly
“Zombie Permits”  Passed  Passed Passed
Conservation Finance  Passed  Passed Passed
Stop PFAS  Passed  Passed  Passed
Forest Banking  No Vote No Vote No Vote
Environmental Human Rights No Vote No Vote No Vote
Environment – Discharge Permits – Inspections and Administrative Continuations (Zombie Permits). (HB649/SB492)

This bill aims to improve Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) monitoring and enforcement of water discharge permits, including clearing a backlog of expired water pollution control permits. MDE must also report staffing needs to the Governor and General Assembly to avoid future permitting backlogs. This legislation requires MDE to inspect facilities monthly if they are found to be significantly noncompliant. It improves inspection transparency, requiring MDE to maintain a list of noncompliant permit-holders on its website.

The bill became law without the Governor’s signature.

Conservation Finance Act. (HB653/SB348 )

This bill expands opportunities for private financing for Maryland’s climate, water quality, and other conservation-related goals and aims to provide an expedited and cost-effective means to deliver projects improving resilience, sustainability, and environmental justice. The Act embeds environmental outcomes into the state procurement code. It defines both green infrastructure and blue infrastructure (such as oyster reefs and seagrass beds), therefore allowing traditional infrastructure financing to be utilized for these services.

The bill became law without the Governor’s signature.

George “Walter” Taylor Act (PFAS). (HB275/SB273)

Strong environmental policy relies on a healthy democracy and engagement by all eligible voters. This bipartisan legislation required the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to work in partnership with the State Board of Elections to ensure that eligible, incarcerated voters have access to voting and voting information. The bill passed both chambers and was allowed to go into law without the Governor’s signature.

Natural Resources – Forest Mitigation Banks and the Forest Conservation Fund – Alterations. (HB960/SB651)

This bill would have ultimately accelerated forest loss had it passed. It would have extended reforestation accommodation deadlines, which would have inevitably increased the amount of deforestation across Maryland.

The bill failed to receive a vote, which was an environmental victory.

Environmental Human Rights Amendment. (HB596/SB783 )

Had this bill passed, it would have amended the Declaration of Rights section of the Maryland State Constitution to: 1) protect each person’s fundamental right to a healthful and sustainable environment and 2) ensure that the State would protect Maryland’s natural resources for present and future generations.

The bill failed to receive a vote.

Category Score
Climate and Energy Policy A
Environmental Justice B
Transportation B+
Land & Water Protection A-

With the 2022 election season already upon us, there are important opportunities for courageous, new leadership. Delivering on the promise of the Climate Solutions Now Act–and ensuring that all Marylanders share equally in its benefits–will require strong elected leaders who share our values and commitment to climate justice. Our next governor will be elected in November and play a key role in meeting the goals of the Climate Solutions Now Act.

Will he or she be a climate champion? Key legislative districts have been redrawn. Will we build on the legislative successes of 2022 and elect strong, pro-climate representatives across the board?

We need your help to ensure positive answers to these questions. This election cycle is pivotal for determining Maryland’s climate future.