A sustainable solar bill for MoCo farms will be the first vote scored by Maryland’s largest advocacy group dedicated to clean energy. The scorecard will measure all major climate legislation votes of Councilmembers – and actions by the County Executive – in 2021
ROCKVILLE, MD – Maryland’s largest nonprofit group dedicated to clean energy issues today announced a scorecard to measure the votes of members of the Montgomery County Council on climate legislation in 2021. The first vote of this year’s scorecard will be a bill to permit limited amounts of solar energy production on MoCo farmland, with the power going to low- and moderate-income families. The bill is supported by the CCAN Action Fund and the Montgomery County Sierra Club (see recent WaPo op-ed here).
The County Council in 2017 declared a “climate emergency” with a commitment to cut climate pollution 80% by 2027. Several major bills that would start achieving that goal are expected to come to a vote in 2021, including Tuesday’s solar bill which is sponsored by Councilmember Hans Riemer and Council President Tom Hucker. CCAN Action Fund is the political arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.
“I’m proud to live in the most progressive county in Maryland when it comes to climate change,” said Mike Tidwell, director of CCAN Action Fund. “But now it’s time to measure legislative actions versus words. We need a strong bill right now to allow farmers to provide solar power to economically challenged families. Then we need to move on to bigger and bigger steps on efficiency, transportation, and more.”
The first “scored” vote will the unglamorously named solar ZTA 20-01 bill coming before the Council Tuesday. It would allow no more than two percent of the County Agriculture Reserve to be used for solar production as long as native plants are grown under and around the panels and the power is sent mainly to low- and moderate-income families.
Sierra Club and CCAN Action Fund support this bill as passed in joint committee earlier this month, with no weakening amendments. We support limited-use solar – NOT conditional use – and we support excluding Class 1 soils only. CCAN Action Fund will use this version of the bill as the “scoring benchmark” for Councilmembers’ votes.
A recent Patrick Gonzales poll shows that 69 percent of MoCo voters support this bill. See video here.
Additional significant bills are expected to come to the Council in 2021, including on building efficiency standards and transportation. CCAN Action Fund will score these votes and release its final 2021 scorecard in the fall.
CCAN and CCAN AF have close to 5,000 members in Montgomery County among roughly 50,000 members across the DMV region. The group has been called “the best regional climate advocacy organization in the world” by noted author and climate advocate Bill McKibben.
Director Mike Tidwell is a 32-year resident of Montgomery County. In 2010 he was awarded the County’s “Rachel Carson Award” for outstanding environmental advocacy. He is also a recipient of the Audubon Naturalist Society’s prestigious “Conservation Award.”
CCAN Action Fund is the grassroots arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the first grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 17 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2021
Mike Tidwell, Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and CCAN Action Fund, firstname.lastname@example.org, 240-460-5838
Laura Cofsky, Communications Director, CCAN Action Fund, email@example.com, 202-642-9336