FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 18, 2021
Inadequate Response to Climate Crisis Drags Down Scores for Governor Hogan and Maryland General Assembly in 2021 Scorecards
Annapolis, MD — Governor Larry Hogan and the Maryland General Assembly were called out for their poor response to growing climate threats in the new report cards issued by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV).
The Governor’s Report Card [link], which assessed Governor Hogan’s environmental legacy between 2015 and 2021, reflected a mixed record marked by inconsistent environmental leadership and a failure to adequately staff environmental compliance offices. Hogan gets higher marks for his energy policy, especially where he supported legislative actions.
“The threats from climate change are accelerating globally, and Maryland is particularly vulnerable because we have 265,000 acres of land less than five feet above sea level,” said Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble. “Marylanders want the state to take aggressive action on climate change, and Governor Hogan’s inconsistent leadership on climate, especially in the transportation sector, as well as a poor record on enforcement, unfortunately overshadows positive environmental steps his administration took over the past seven years.”
The Governor’s Report Card reviews in detail the environmental actions taken by the Hogan administration from 2015 to date, including controversies around highway expansion and public transportation, offshore wind development near Ocean City, various pipeline proposals, and efforts to protect open space and oyster fisheries.
Maryland LCV’s legislative Environmental Scorecard [link] assesses the performance of each of the legislative chambers and also gives individual scores to all legislators based on their votes or inaction on priority environmental issues over the past year’s legislative session, with a particular focus on climate and environmental justice issues.
The report found that the legislature’s most notable failure, for the second year in a row, was its inability to successfully pass comprehensive climate legislation during the 2020-2021 legislative session. Their efforts elsewhere, however, were more positive.
The Climate Solutions Now Act, comprehensive legislation that would have set an ambitious statewide carbon emissions reduction goal, passed both chambers during the session. However, legislators’ inability to resolve policy disagreements prevented the bill from reaching the Governor’s desk.
“As our planet warms, our communities suffer while our elected officials fail to advance meaningful climate policy,” said Coble. “We are seeing more frequent heat waves and intense storms, and direct results in nuisance flooding in our communities and more code red pollution days. Climate change affects all of us, but our low-wealth communities and Black and Brown communities are at particular risk, bearing the brunt of these effects now. In the face of these threats, it is simply unacceptable that our legislators, once again, were not able to take meaningful action to address the climate crisis.”
Coble applauded, however, the passage of the Transit Safety and Investment Act, as well as the Zero-Emission Bus Transition Act. “These two bills take meaningful steps to enhance the health and economy of our students, seniors, low-wealth Marylander, and a significant number of health care workers who rely on public transportation in their everyday lives. We applaud these important legislative accomplishments.” Governor Hogan vetoed the Transit Safety and Investment Act. “The commitment of the legislature to this issue is a stark contrast to the actions of the Governor. We look forward to an override of this veto.”
The full Environmental Scorecard also gives scores to individual legislators and breaks out their votes for each of the state’s regions. Both the Governor’s Report Card and the legislative Environmental Scorecard, as well as the legislative lifetime scores, can be viewed at Maryland LCV’s website at www.MDLCV.org
“We acknowledge and are grateful for Governor Hogan, delegates, senators, and their staff’s hard work and leadership as the state has faced tremendous challenges over the past two years from COVID-19 and other national concerns, ” said Coble. “But in the final analysis, all Marylanders should be disappointed that we have still not taken significant steps to make Maryland more resilient to climate change impacts that we are already facing. And when election season rolls around, we need to make it a priority that Maryland becomes a leader in achieving equitable climate solutions.”
To respond more effectively to the climate crisis, Coble outlined key steps for legislators and the next administration, including:
- Prioritizing reductions from the two largest sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Maryland–buildings and transportation–by ensuring state buildings and transportation systems (including transit systems, school buses, vehicles, and trucks) are at “net zero” emissions by 2040 and infrastructure spending supports the state’s GHG reduction commitment;
- Addressing the disproportionate impact from GHG emissions on low-wealth communities, many of which are Black and Brown communities, by ensuring the meaningful participation of impacted community members in funding and environmental justice decisions;
- Responding and adapting to and mitigating climate impacts should be seen as top priorities for state leaders, as evidenced by budget and procurement allocation and a cabinet-level Climate Office.
Maryland League of Conservation Voters is a state-wide, nonpartisan organization that uses political action and education to protect our land, air, water and communities. The organization is known for educating lawmakers and holding them accountable for their leadership and votes on key environmental issues. Maryland LCV’s annual scorecard, along with their other reports, help inform voters about their legislators’ records.