New Environmental Laws Taking Effect in Maryland

Today is an important day for Maryland’s environment, its communities, and its residents. Several key climate and conservation laws that Maryland LCV supported during the 2024 legislative session take effect yesterday, July 1, 2024, signaling a significant step forward in our state’s commitment to clean energy, climate action, and environmental justice.

We’re particularly excited about several laws that we supported during the 2024 legislative session:

  1. EmPOWER Maryland Reform (HB864): This law updates our state’s successful energy efficiency program, setting clear greenhouse gas reduction targets and introducing incentives for adopting efficient electric appliances and heating. Importantly, it also directs the Department of Housing to staff multilingual community outreach specialists, ensuring that low-income households can access federal and state incentives. This is a crucial step in addressing the disproportionate impacts of climate change and air pollution on our most vulnerable communities.
  2. Whole Watershed Act (HB1165/SB0969): A key component of this act taking effect today is the section of the law governing stream and floodplain restoration projects. This ensures that all future projects will adhere to stringent environmental standards.
  3. Comprehensive Flood Management Program (HB449/SB148): This law now requires that at least 40% of funding provided under the comprehensive flood management grant program be used for projects located in or directly benefiting underserved or overburdened communities.
  4. Brighter Tomorrow Act (HB1435/SB0783): Components of this important act go into effect today, furthering Maryland’s commitment to solar energy adoption through tax exemptions for community solar projects and establishing a consistent structure for ground-mounted solar installations.

Additionally, the Consumer Protection in Energy Supply bill (SB01) takes effect today, establishing stronger consumer protections against predatory practices in the energy supply market.

These laws build on the successes from previous years, representing significant progress in our efforts to protect Maryland’s environment and communities.

While we celebrate these victories, we also recognize the challenges ahead, such as the the last minute budget amendment that removed  key provisions of the state’s proposed Building Energy Performance Standards, and the need to enact funding mechanisms to support the implementation of the Climate Pollution Reduction Act. Maryland LCV remains committed to fighting for policies that protect our environment, address climate change, and ensure that all Marylanders have access to clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment.

We invite all Marylanders to join us in this ongoing effort. Stay informed, engage with your local representatives, and support organizations working towards a sustainable future. Together, we can continue to make Maryland a leader in environmental protection and climate action.