Maryland Leaders Push for Clean Energy Expansion and Jobs Bill on First Day of General Assembly

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2018 legislation would boost wind and solar while building a diverse workforce

ANNAPOLIS— On the first day of the 2018 Maryland General Assembly session, dozens of Maryland faith, community, business, and labor leaders rallied on Lawyer’s Mall to support a campaign to require that 50 percent of Maryland’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030. The Clean Energy Jobs Campaign proposes legislation to expand and strengthen Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 50 percent by 2030. The campaign will also call for a substantial investment in training for good clean energy jobs with a livable wage and assistance for minority, veteran, and women owned businesses working in this field.

This bill is the most broadly supported clean energy bill ever in Maryland with more than 647 faith, community, labor, business, climate and environmental groups from across Maryland have already endorsed this proposal. In addition to being a priority campaign for the Maryland Climate Coalition, it is recently endorsed by the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, 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. A poll released on Monday found that Maryland voters overwhelmingly support the policy, with approximately 75 percent of voters in two key legislative districts supporting the bill.

“Climate change disproportionately affects communities of color here in Maryland, with nearly two in five Latinos living within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant. We must double our renewable energy commitment to 50% by 2030 to improve air quality for all Marylanders” Ramon Palencia-Calvo, Director of Chispa Maryland of Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

“With the climate crisis at our doorstep, it’s clear that Maryland needs to take aggressive action to move off fossil fuels and dramatically expand renewable energy sources. We need to double our efforts and double wind and solar. This is the future that Marylanders overwhelmingly want.”Brooke Harper, Maryland and DC Policy Director at the CCAN Action Fund.

“With the Clean Energy Jobs Act, we have the opportunity to make Maryland a leader in renewable energy that is truly clean. Let’s bring thousands of new jobs to Maryland. Let’s make sure everyone benefits from the renewable energy economy. We know we can double renewable energy in Maryland and lift everyone in our communities. Let’s get it done.” Delegate Bill Frick (D-16) of Montgomery County.

“Through Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, we’ve created new industries that didn’t exist before. We’ve brought renewable and wind energy to Maryland, along with its multitude of benefits to our economy and public health. Now it’s time to expand that policy and double wind and solar in Maryland.” Senator Brian Feldman (D-15) of Montgomery County.

“Thanks to solar power, thousands of Maryland households and business are cutting their electricity bills while investing in local, clean energy. Expanding Maryland’ Renewable Portfolio Standard will create new 20,000 solar jobs, bring billions of dollars of clean energy investment into the state, and send a signal that Maryland is reclaiming renewable energy leadership from Washington.” David Murray, Executive Director of Maryland DC Virginia Solar Energy Industries.

“As people of faith we are called to be good stewards of the environment and we are compelled to care for our neighbors. We can be faithful to both of these expectations by supporting the Clean Energy Jobs Initiative and ensuring passage of the Clean Energy Jobs legislation.”Reverend Kobi Little, Political Action Committee chairman for the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP.

“1199SEIU supports this bill because dirty energy is killing Marylanders. Many of the residents I care for suffer from asthma. With more of our electricity coming from clean renewable energy, fewer people will suffer from health problems caused by air pollution.” Susan Clarke, Nursing Assistant of FutureCare Nursing Home, and Delegate 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, Maryland’s largest healthcare union.

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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.