Maryland LCV Press Conference: Driving Forward Maryland’s Climate Plan

Annapolis, MD, March 12, 2024 – Today, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV), in collaboration with climate champions from the Maryland General Assembly (MGA), and community partners, shed light on the legislative pathway to implement the state’s ambitious Climate Pollution Reduction Plan. The MGA’s commitment to implementing the climate plan, with a focus on environmental justice and sustainable community development, is essential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2031.

Gathering at Lawyer’s Mall in Annapolis, Maryland LCV, along with legislators and advocates, presented a united front to pass legislation essential for realizing the goals laid out in the Moore Administration’s Climate Pollution Reduction Plan. Today’s conversation described the much-needed funding mechanisms to support the Climate Plan, including a modest fee on fossil fuels being transported through Maryland, along with strategies for accelerating and broadening solar adoption that are key to reaching the 100% clean energy target by 2035. Maryland is also seeking to pilot a novel approach for preserving Maryland’s watersheds, ensuring the health of the state’s natural water resources.  Key to health and smart state investments is passing a revision to Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to remove trash incineration so state resources can be directed to truly renewable sources like wind and solar.

Kim Coble, Executive Director of Maryland LCV, emphasized the importance of legislative action. “The bills discussed today are crucial for propelling Maryland towards a cleaner, more equitable future. By removing manufacturing exemptions from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, accelerating solar adoption through the ‘Brighter Tomorrow Act,’ and electrifying new buildings we can make significant strides in achieving our climate goals while prioritizing the communities most vulnerable to climate change’s impacts.”

Senator Sarah Elfreth, lead Senate sponsor of the Brighter Tomorrow Act, highlighted the importance of strategic incentives for solar adoption. “The ‘Brighter Tomorrow Act is key to realigning Maryland’s solar energy incentives towards more sustainable and community-friendly development practices. This bill is the result of months of collaboration among legislators, State agencies, the solar industry, organized labor, and advocates. It will ensure that Maryland’s solar energy expansion is equitable, economically viable, and aligns with the state’s climate goals.

Delegate Dana Stein, the sponsor of the Fossil Fuel Transport Fee and the bill to remove manufacturing exemptions from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, emphasized the need for equitable contributions to Maryland’s clean energy transition. “Using the Oil Spill Fund as a model for a Fossil Fuel Transport Fee is a pivotal step towards a sustainable and equitable future for our state. Additionally, removing manufacturing exemptions from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act will ensure that all sectors contribute fairly to reducing emissions.” 

Delegate Adrian Boafo spoke to the importance of building electrification and the $90 million in funding for climate solutions. “Investing in building electrification, electric vehicle charger stations, and the transition to electric school buses is essential for reducing emissions from Maryland’s two largest sources: transportation and buildings. The $90 million in funding announced by Governor Moore, with at least 50% dedicated to uplifting historically overburdened and underserved communities, marks a significant step towards equitable climate action.”

Dr. Meleny Thomas, Executive Director of the South Baltimore Community Land Trust, underscored the importance of community engagement in environmental decision-making. “Ensuring that the voices of historically overburdened and underserved communities are heard and considered in the implementation of Maryland’s Climate Pollution Reduction Plan is essential for creating a just and sustainable future for all Marylanders. Removing trash incineration from the state’s RPS is not just a recommendation in this plan, but an issue that community-based organizations and leaders have advocated for for the better part of a decade.”

Maryland LCV calls upon the Maryland General Assembly to pass these critical bills and secure the funding necessary to implement Maryland’s Climate Pollution Reduction Plan effectively. By taking decisive action now, Maryland can lead the nation in climate solutions, environmental justice, and the creation of healthy, sustainable communities for all.

About Maryland LCV:

The Maryland League of Conservation Voters educates and activates people to take equitable and just political actions for clean water, healthy air and climate-resilient communities.