FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1, 2023
Hundreds gathered virtually for annual Environmental Legislative Summit
Leading Environmental Advocates Outline 2023 Priorities
ANNAPOLIS— Marylanders from around the state gathered virtually for the 29th annual Environmental Legislative Summit on Tuesday night in support of the environmental community’s legislative agenda for the 2023 Maryland General Assembly Session.
Environmental advocates outlined this year’s legislative agenda, which included:
- requiring new state buildings to be sustainable through energy conserving and bird safe design;
- preventing the mass extinction of species and improving the health of lands and waterways through permanent land conservation;
- making the Community Solar Pilot Program permanent to greater expand access to solar energy, especially for low- and moderate-income households;
- passing the Energy Saving Act to achieve greater energy savings and lower energy bills for homeowners, making homes healthier, and meeting our climate goals; and
- ensuring that the State Budget, including incoming federal dollars, prioritize the environment and environmental justice.
“The 2023 session has the potential to be momentous for Maryland’s environment,” said Kim Coble, Maryland LCV’s Executive Director. “Advocacy from a broad range of Marylanders will be crucial as we work to ensure efficient, equitable implementation of the Climate Solutions Now Act and put Maryland on an aggressive and strategic pathway to 100 percent clean energy by 2035.”
“The Energy Savings Act will build on the successful EmPOWER Maryland program to help people choose healthier, more affordable home heating and cooking options, protect our climate, and take advantage of billions of dollars in new federal funds,” said Jonathan Lacock-Nisly, Interfaith Power & Light’s Director of Faithful Advocacy. “We have climate groups and consumer advocates, technical experts and affordable housing groups, energy efficiency advocates and grassroots organizations, all coming together in support of updating the EmPOWER program.”
“The Maryland Sustainable Buildings Act requires new state buildings to be sustainable through energy conserving and bird safe design. The United Nations states that the two greatest threats to humanity are climate change and biodiversity loss–this common sense bill addresses both through proven design standards developed by scientists and builders,” said Dr. Mark Southerland of Safe Skies Maryland. “Maryland should join the growing list of forward-looking governments, including the District of Columbia, New York City, Howard County, and the States of Minnesota and Illinois, and pass this bill.”
“As we move into a more inclusive clean energy economy it is important to make energy more accessible and affordable for everyone. Far too long clean energy has been an obstacle for many people in Maryland, predominantly low- and moderate- income (LMI) residents who live in our most vulnerable communities. Community solar also creates an opportunity for residents that live in communities with vast shading, apartments, condos and rental properties. This legislative session we have the opportunity to make Community Solar a permanent program, while also making clean energy accessible for anyone who wants to participate,” said Kimberly M. Armstrong, Maryland Program Director, Solar United Neighbors.
“Immense development of Earth’s land and natural resources has led to the current extinction crisis we now face. Approximately 150 to 170 species are permanently going extinct each and every day. The Maryland the Beautiful Act will locally address this immense problem by setting a new goal of protecting 40% of Maryland land by 2040 and providing new tools and resources to improve the stewardship of the land,” said Josh Hastings, Program & Policy Director, Forever Maryland.
The host organizations for the Annual Maryland Environmental Summit are: Annapolis Green, Arundel Rivers Federation, Assateauge Coastkeeper, Audubon MidAtlantic, Baltimore Beekeepers Association, Baltimore Jewish Council, Blue Water Baltimore, Center for Progressive Reform, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Citizen Shale, Clean Water Action, Climate Justice Wing/Maryland Legislative Coalition, Climate Stewards of Greater Annapolis, Climate X-Change Maryland, Climate, Law and Policy Project, Coalition for Smarter Growth, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Food and Water Watch, Forever Maryland, Gally Public Affairs, Indivisible Howard County Climate Action Team, Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, Interfaith Power and Light, Maryland Campaign for Environmental Human Rights, Maryland Conservation Council, Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Maryland League of Women Voters, Maryland Pesticide Education Network, Maryland PIRG, Maryland Public Health Association, NAACP- Maryland State Conference, National Aquarium, National Wildlife Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Partners for Open Space, Potomac Conservancy, Preservation Maryland, Safe Skies, Severn River Association, ShoreRivers, Sierra Club of Maryland, Strong Future Maryland, Sunrise Baltimore, The Nature Conservancy, Transform Maryland Transportation Coalition, Trash Free Maryland, Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland, and Waterkeepers Chesapeake.