They're calling on a legislative committee to send it to the House floor for a vote.
The "black liquor" bill is still very much alive in the Maryland General Assembly. That's according to supporters of the measure.
The legislation, if passed, would end the ability of paper mills, many located outside of the state, to sell renewable energy credits for burning the waste byproducts of paper-making, known as "black liquor," to companies that supply power to Maryland consumers. Under a law passed in 2004, these paper companies received $3.8-million in 2011 from selling these credits. Environmental activists say electric customers pay slightly higher rates as a result.
Supporters of this bill want subsidies to be used to pay for clean energy, such as solar or wind power.
"Burning 'black liquor' actually emits a lot of pollution on par or worse than coal," says Tom Carlson, with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. "And there's really no reason for Maryland rate payers to be sending this money out of state to out-of-state polluters."
"Black liquor" is a tarry substance which is left over after the paper-making process.
Two bills were introduced in the 2013 General Assembly to stop this practice. SB 684, which lists Frederick County State Senator Ron Young as a co-sponsor, passed the State Senate last week. But HB 1102 received an unfavorable rating from the House Economic Matters Committee. It came up one-vote short of the 12 needed to pass. One of those who voted against was Frederick County Delegate Galen Clagett.
Carlson says the Network is calling on Delegate Clagett to support the Senate version of the bill when it comes before his committee.
Even though the General Assembly is set to adjourn Sine Die on Monday, April 8th, Carlson says he's confident there's enough time to get the Senate version of the bill to the House floor for a vote. "The House version has gone down, but that Senate version is still out there. And if a 12th vote comes on line in favor, they could take it up and pass the bill this year," he says.
If the bill passes, and is signed by the governor, it would exempt Maryland's only paper mill in Luke in Allegheny County.