They’ll end their trip in Frederick on Friday.
Annapolis, Md (KM) They’re riding their bikes for a cause. A group of bicyclists is traveling across Maryland to get the Governor to sign the Clean Energy Jobs bill, which passed with an overwhelming majority in both Houses of the General Assembly on the final day of 2019 Session. The legislation would require the state to obtain 50% of its energy from clean and renewable sources by 2030, with a mandatory plan to receive 100% of its energy by those same sources by 2040.
“This is exactly what the science calls for, and it’s widely supported by the people of Maryland,” says Denise Robbins with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Even though it passed with a strong majority, the Governor has not yet signed it. “We’re calling on him to sign it because that’s what Maryland wants, and that’s what we need to save our climate,” she says.
The bill that passed the legislature this year is not perfect, according to many environmentalists. On its web page, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network says the measure allows trash incineration to count as clean energy, and be eligible for subsidies under the state’s clear energy standard. The CCAN says it will work during the 2020 session to remove that loophole in the law.
Robbins said a bill like this is needed to reduce the affects of greenhouse gases on the environment. “The top scientists in the entire world just came out with a big report that says we have 12 years to cut our entire economy global wide carbon emissions in half across the world,” she said. “That;s going to take massive shifts in how we use our energy, and that needs to start right now.”
In addition to clearing the air, Robbins says this legislation could help create new jobs in the solar industry. “The solar industry has the potential to really grow, particularly with this bill, and the offshore wind industry as well,” she says. “And if this bill is delayed, and Governor Hogan doesn’t sign it and it’s delayed until next year, then our solar industry is going to decline. We actually lost 800 solar jobs last year, and this is trend that could continue if we don’t continue to boost this industry.”
CCAN says the bill, if it’s signed into law, could create 20,000 solar jobs.
The bike ride began in Annapolis on Wednesday, with its first stop in Ellicott City. On Thursday, the bikers will travel through College Park. and take the Patuxent River Trail, and across the National Mall in Washington DC. They will take the C&O Canal Trail to Potomac and spend the night. On Friday, they will ride the C&O towpath into Frederick County. The ride will end at the Frederick Coffee and Cafe on East Street in Frederick, according to Robbins. “It connects the mountains of western Maryland to legislators in Annapolis to show how Maryland is united behind clean energy and the Clean Energy Jobs Act,” she says.
By Kevin McManus