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Environmentalists Bullish on Passage of the Maryland Clean Jobs Energy Act

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Environmentalists in Maryland appear to believe they now have the wind at their backs offering up the prospect of getting the General Assembly to approve the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act in the next legislative session.

The measure calls for increasing the state’s renewal energy sources for the state’s electricity to 50 percent by 2030 and to come up with a plan for 100 percent by 2040.

While Governor Larry Hogan vetoed an earlier version of the measure that called for 25 percent by 2020 he has not weighed in on the current legislation.

That veto was overridden but he has supported measures to improve the state’s carbon footprint.

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State Senator Brian Feldman (D-MD)

State Senator Brian Feldman (D-Montgomery County)  says he is encouraged by an Op Ed the Republican governor wrote with his Democratic Counterpart in Virginia Ralph Northam calling for the states to act in the face of federal resistance.

He said, “The politics of this issue has changed dramatically in the last few weeks and I think the governor if nothing else can look at the political tea leaves. But it’s pretty compelling,” he said, “that the states need to act.”

In opinion piece the governors noted the recent National Climate Assessment that laid out the negative economic impact of climate change.

They continued that, “Where the federal government refuses to lead, state governments will.”

Hogan did sign legislation that aims to lower the greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

Maryland is also part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

Infrastructure

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Supporters of the Act say the bill would help create thousands of jobs in two of the fastest growing sectors of the economy – wind and solar.

That, says Feldman, is the key to the future when the federal government begins to open the spigot on investment in renewable energy.

He said it puts the state in a better position, “when the feds eventually funnels federal dollars into these industries.” He added, “But if you’re languishing at the back of the pack I don’t think you can take full advantage of what I think will eventually take place at the federal level.”

Supporters of the Act say they have a veto proof majority backing the plan if it comes to a vote in the next legislation session.

Don Rush is the News Director at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.