Aside from the emphasis on efforts to fight climate change in the state, the organization also added that such information is key to making an educated decision during the 2022 election season.
Taking center stage was the state vowing to cut greenhouse gases across the state.
Climate Solutions Now Act
Senate Bill 528, which became law without Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature, sets the most ambitious short-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal in the nation, at 60 percent by 2031. It also pledges a net-zero emissions target by 2045. Among its many provisions is the creation of new energy performance standards that require larger buildings to become all electric, provides resources to finance new clean-energy strategies.
Environment Permit Applications and Environmental Justice Screening
Senate Bill 818/ House Bill 1200, which also became law without Hogan’s signature, requires the applicant for certain types of permits from the Maryland Department of the Environment to include the Environmental Justice Score for the census tract where the applicant is seeking the permit. This score, which includes pollution burden, exposure and environmental impacts, sensitive populations, and socioeconomic factors, will be verified by the state as part of the application process and be included in public notice about the permit application.
Discharge Permits, Inspections, and Administrative Continuations
Better known as “zombie permits” as a result of an overwhelmed Maryland Department of the Environment, Senate Bill 492/House Bill 649 aims to improve the department’s monitoring and enforcement of water discharge permits, including clearing a backlog of expired water pollution control permits. It must also must also report staffing needs to the governor and General Assembly to avoid future permitting backlogs. This legislation requires them 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.
George “Walter” Taylor Act concerning PFAS
Senate Bill 273/House Bill 275 limits the use of hazardous PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are chemicals in consumer products and firefighting foam. PFAS are chemicals are synthetic chemical compounds that can cause immense damage to individuals and the environment due to their toxic and persistent nature. It became law without Hogan’s signature
“We need your help to ensure positive answers to these questions. This election cycle is pivotal for determining Maryland’s climate future,” the writers of the report urged.