Climate Solutions Act Passes Md. Senate

It would speed up the state’s commitment to clean energy.

Annapolis, Md. (KM) – Legislation which would speed up Maryland’s commitment to clean energy passed the State Senate Monday night by a vote of 32-15.

The bill would require the state to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, with an interim reduction by 2030. “In Maryland, transportation is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions. So it calls for the state fleet to become electrified over a certain time period,” says Kim Coble, the Executive Director of Maryland League of Conservation Voters, one of several organizations supporting this bill. The others are the Sierra Club, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, CASA and NAACP Maryland State Conference.

Coble says other vehicles   would become electric over a period of time. “For school buses to become non-fossil fuel generating potentially electrified over a certain time period,” she says.

The bill now moves to the House of Delegates which has been dealing with several pieces of climate-related legislation throughout the session.

Other provisions in the bill would require  the state to provide millions of dollars annually to build net-zero schools across Maryland; expand clean energy usage in buildings in the state; work to benefit communities disproportionally affected by environmental hazards and climate change; and establish a work group to develop strategies to promote clean energy jobs.

Coble says the goals in this bill are “very ambitious…but it ‘s also achievable.”

Critics say this legislation could be very expensive for Marylanders. But Coble says there’s a cost for not dealing with climate change. “Not just the dollar-out-the-door for retrofit. There’s a dollar-out-the-door for flood control, supply chain interruptions and fire and what not,” she says.

“Some of the opponents have said ‘well, we’re such a small state. Whatever we do really won’t make a difference,” Coble continues. “I just don’t see it that way at all. I think it will make a huge difference.”

By Kevin McManus