The Environment - 2015 Legislative Session
UULM-MD, a member of the Maryland Climate Coalition, supported the Maryland Clean Energy Advancement Act of 2015, SB373/HB377. This legislation would have increased the minimum percentage of energy supplied to Maryland consumers that must come from clean, renewable sources to 25% by 2020 with an aspirational goal of 40% by 2025. The bill was given an unfavorable report by the Senate Finance Committee, but we expect similar, revised legislation to be introduced in 2016.
Clean Energy is an environmental issue. A 40% clean electricity standard will have a similar reduction in carbon going into our atmosphere as removing 2 million passenger vehicles off the road every year. (For more details, follow this link.)
Clean Energy is a health issue. More than 85% of Marylanders live in areas that fail to meet the nation's clean air standards. Maryland has the worst ground-level ozone pollution in the eastern U.S. This contributes to increased rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases. (For more details, follow this link.)
Clean Energy is an economic issue. Rising ocean temperatures threaten Maryland's shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay as well as the state's tourist, crabbing and fishing industries. According to a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, Annapolis and Baltimore will suffer more frequent flooding. By increasing the clean electricity standard, (For more details, follow this link.)
Clean Energy is a social justice issue. Low-income people and people of color are disproportionately harmed by the increased health costs and the decrease in good-paying jobs. Based on the U.S. Department of Energy's Jobs and Economic Development Indicator, this legislation would incentivize nearly 1,600 new Maryland jobs per year in the solar industry and substantially more in the wind industry.
In 2015, UULM-MD is supporting the Environment-Hydraulic Fracturing-Regulations, SB409/HB449. This legislation would prohibit issuing a permit for hydraulic fracturing of a well for the exploration or production of natural gas until April 30, 2023 and until certain requirements have been met, including information on the human and environmental consequences of the natural gas drilling process known as "fracking."
The bill was amended in committee to extend the moratorium until October 1, 2017. No wells--including exploratory ones--can be drilled in Maryland prior to that date. Governor Hogan allowed the bill to become law without his signature.