Maryland Senate Overrides Veto Of Clean Energy Jobs Act, Bringing Bill Into Law
Legislators and advocates in Maryland have come together to restore progressive climate policies. Legislation will increase use of wind and solar while creating family-sustaining jobs and healthier air.
ANNAPOLIS, Md — The Maryland Senate voted 32-13 to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2016 (SB 921/HB 1106), legislation that will accelerate the state’s reliance on solar and wind power to 25 percent by 2020. The House voted 88-51 to restore the bill on January 31.
Legislators came together to restore the bill, which is widely supported by Maryland Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike. This bipartisan effort reflects public support for the bill with at least 63 percent throughout the state and with some areas peaking at 81 percent in favor, according to Opinion Works.
“Today, the General Assembly sent a clear message that we want our state to be a leader in developing clean energy jobs, promoting better air quality for our communities, and securing energy independence for our children’s future,” said Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton, who serves as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “How appropriate that the sun is shining brightly on the day we bring the Clean Energy Jobs Act into law, signaling our state is open for business to this burgeoning industry.”
The bill raises Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard requirement to 25 percent by 2020, up from the current goal of 20 percent by 2022, including boosting the solar “carve-out” to 2.5 percent by 2020. It will create incentives for roughly 1,300 megawatts of new clean energy in Maryland and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 2.7 million metric tons per year, which is the carbon equivalent of taking 563,000 passenger vehicles off the road every year. These reductions in carbon pollution will significantly improve the state’s air quality while preventing 25 to 50 premature deaths per year. In 2009 alone, Marylanders suffered from almost 40,000 Emergency Department visits and over 11,400 hospitalizations due to asthma, costing families and the state over $99 million.
“The Senate voted for the Clean Energy Jobs Act because it is sound economic and environmental policy,” said Senator Brian Feldman, lead sponsor of the Senate version of bill. “Not only will this legislation create thousands of good-paying green jobs, it will put the State on the road to meeting our renewable energy goals – a vision shared by both Democrats and Republicans across Maryland.”
The legislation uses a market-based system to meet the state’s clean energy targets, and will create over 1,000 living-wage, family-sustaining jobs annually through 2020 in the state’s growing clean energy sector. For less than a penny per day investment per Marylander, the renewable energy expansion will increase net economic growth by up to $600 million per year due to better health outcomes and new solar construction, while creating thousands of new Maryland jobs.
The Maryland Climate Coalition brings together environmental, faith, health, labor, and civic organizations to advance clean energy and climate policies in Maryland. For more information about the Maryland Climate Coalition, visit: http://marylandclimatecoalitio n.org/member-organizations/