Amid hearings, Maryland leaders urge legislators to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act

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Bill was deliberated in House Economic Matters Committee March 5; goes to Senate Finance Committee March 6

Annapolis, MD — Maryland leaders affirmed widespread support for the Clean Energy Jobs Act (HB 1453 / SB 732) following a telephone press conference (audio available here). This policy would expand and strengthen Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 50 percent of Maryland’s electricity sources by 2030 and includes provisions to invest in workforce development and in small businesses owned by women, minorities, and veterans.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act was deliberated in a hearing in the House Economic Matters Committee Monday, March 5 and will be deliberated in the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, March 6.

“The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act is the most widely supported clean energy bill ever in Maryland’s history,” said Vincent DeMarco, Board Chair of the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative. ”It’s clear that this is what Maryland voters want. I hope our legislators listen and pass this good, job-creating bill this year.”

Senator Brian Feldman (D-15), who sponsored the bill, joined campaign advocates on the press call, including leaders from the environmental, business, and justice communities. “I support the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act because it will not only expand the use of renewable energy in Maryland but will add 20,000 new solar jobs and train our workforce for those green jobs,” Sen. Feldman stated. “The clean energy economy is here to stay — in part for the economic benefits and, in part, for the public health benefits it provides for all Marylanders.”

Speakers on the call Monday urged Maryland legislators to protect the state’s struggling solar industry and boost jobs and workforce development by passing this bill. David Murray, Executive Director of the Solar Energy Industries Association in Maryland, DC, and Virginia (MDV-SEIA), stated: “Instead of spending the day on rooftops, solar installers are here in Annapolis to urge our leaders to expand the RPS immediately and prevent further layoffs in the solar industry. This bill will create 20,000 solar jobs and reclaim Maryland’s leadership in clean, advanced energy.”

“Renewable Portfolio Standards are smart policies with a proven track record of success,” said Andrew Gohn, Eastern State Policy Director from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “Researchers from top national laboratories have found existing RPS policies will create 4.7 million job-years of employment, along with $258 billion in health and environmental benefits from reduced air pollution.”

The Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2018 is the most broadly supported climate bill in Maryland’s legislative history, with more than 650 community, community, labor, faith, business, climate, and environmental groups from across Maryland having endorsed the proposal. In addition to being a priority campaign for the Maryland Climate Coalition, it is endorsed by Interfaith Power and Light (DC, MD, NoVA) along with many Maryland faith groups, American Wind Energy Association, Neighborhood SUN, the Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches, labor union 1199SEIU, the Maryland Environmental Health Network, and many top environmental organizations such as the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and the CCAN Action Fund.

Gerald Stansbury, President of the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP, stated: “Maryland needs to do more to protect its most vulnerable communities from climate change and to boost its economy in a way that lifts all residents. The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act would do just that. By investing in workforce development and small businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans, we can create a clean energy economy that benefits everyone.”

Mark Harrison, fund manager at Meridian Management Group, stated: “It’s time we invested in Maryland’s sustainable future. And it’s time we invested in the Maryland populations who have been most overlooked. By supporting small businesses owned by women, minorities, and veterans, we are investing in equality for Maryland and a sustainable future for all.”

Brooke Harper, Maryland Policy Director at the CCAN Action Fund, stated: “Climate change is here and we need to act quickly. Our communities are suffering. The Clean Energy Jobs Act would reduce the carbon equivalent of taking 1.7 million cars off the road each year. Maryland legislators should pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act this year because there is no more time to wait.”

Rev. Dellyne Hinton, Chair of the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council, stated: “People of faith are speaking out for the Clean Energy Jobs Act because we are heartsick about the way our energy use is hurting our neighbors, here at home and around the world. I’m joined by thousands of faithful Marylanders in hundreds of congregations across the state who have signed petitions and resolutions in support of the bill.”

Contact:

Denise Robbins, CCAN Action Fund, denise@chesapeakeclimate.org; 608-620-8819
Karla Raettig, Maryland League of Conservation Voters, kraettig@mdlcv.org; 202-674-3174

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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://www.marylandclimatecoalition.org.