Maryland Legislators Introduce “Clean Energy Jobs Act” to Increase Wind and Solar with Majority Support

Recent Gonzales Poll Shows Overwhelming Statewide Support for Hogan to Support the “Clean Energy Jobs Act”

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Today, Senator Brian Feldman (D-15) and Delegate Mary Ann Lisanti (D-34A) introduced a landmark clean energy bill with majority support in the Maryland State House. The “Clean Energy Jobs Act,” the top environmental bill of the 2019 General Assembly Session, would increase the state’s renewable electricity standard to 50% by 2030 and require legislators to develop a plan to reach 100% clean power by 2040. It was introduced with 27 co-sponsors in the Senate (SB 516) and 72 co-sponsors in the House of Delegates (HB 1158), securing majority support in both chambers.

“I am pleased to introduce the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2019 because it addresses Maryland’s most pressing environmental needs while creating tens of thousands of local, good-paying, green jobs,” said Senator Brian Feldman (D-15, Montgomery County). “I look forward to working with the Governor and my colleagues in the General Assembly to pass this critically important environmental, economic development legislation.”

The Clean Energy Jobs Act has been garnering momentum since the 2018 midterm elections, when hundreds of candidates for the state legislature made supporting CEJA a campaign issue. After the elections, a de facto “supermajority” of legislators in both the Maryland Senate and House were on record supporting the proposed bill.

“If we don’t act now, Maryland will fall behind our neighbors in the nation’s fast growing clean energy economy,” said Mary Ann Lisanti (D-34A, Harford County). “Passing this bill will increase Maryland’s clean energy opportunities so consumers have economically and environmentally sound choices.  This bill will set Maryland on a course to be a national leader in the development of a career path to good paying, long–term climate healing green jobs.  It keeps utility bills stable, grows jobs, and aides the environment; therefore benefits everyone.”

“Low-income communities and communities of color are hardest hit by climate change, though they’ve done the least to cause it,” said Gerald Stansbury, President of the NAACP Maryland State Conference. “It’s time to right this wrong. The Clean Energy Jobs Act would move us to clean energy while investing in our communities, bringing about a just and equitable transition to all.”

“During Maryland’s 2018 election, 30 Senators and 82 Delegates— who are now legislators in 2019 — pledged to combat climate change,” says Karla Raettig, Executive Director of Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “Maryland LCV endorsed close to 50 of these winning candidates who all committed to moving our state toward a 100 percent clean energy future. This legislative session, we will hold them accountable to deliver on that promise and pass the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act.”

“There is a groundswell of support in the legislature and across the state for the Clean Energy Jobs Act, and our momentum keeps building,” said Brooke Harper, Maryland Director of the CCAN Action Fund. “With a majority of legislators in both the Senate and House of Delegates co-sponsoring the bill, and a solid majority of Maryland voters supporting it, we look forward to passing this necessary legislation this spring.”

“We need to remove incineration from Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to ensure not only the health of our communities and the lives of those most vulnerable to its cruelties, but also to make certain we uphold the promise of a life-giving planet for all future living creatures to inhabit,” said Terrel Askew with United Workers.  

“An overwhelming number of Maryland faith groups, 120 throughout the state, support the Clean Energy Jobs Act,” said Avery Davis Lamb, Director of Faithful Advocacy for Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA). “The bill is a moral response to our faiths mandates to care for our communities, congregations, and God’s creation.”

A recent statewide poll found overwhelming support urging Hogan to support the Clean Energy Jobs Act. The poll, conducted by well-known pollster Patrick Gonzales, found that solid 64% majority of Maryland voters think that Governor Larry Hogan should support the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act, with consistent support spread across all regions. Meanwhile, nationwide concern for climate change is at its peak after recent scientific studies and scandalous climate policy retreats by the Trump Administration. A new poll found that 72% of Americans say climate change is important to them personally, and there is overwhelming bipartisan support (81%) for a “Green New Deal.”

The proposed bill would create thousands of jobs and make the state a national leader in the renewable energy field, while cutting carbon emissions equivalent to taking 1.7 million cars off the road each year. Hogan recently co-authored an op-ed for The Washington Post calling on states to “lead the way on climate change,” yet he has not stated his support for the Clean Energy Jobs Act.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has not yet signaled his support for the legislation, and he vetoed an earlier version of the bill that expanded the state’s clean electricity standard to its current level of 25% by 2020. However, Hogan’s Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) recently commissioned a well-known California think tank, E3, to model the MCEJA bill as part of its “exploratory” look at a suite of possible emissions-reduction policies. The report found that passing MCEJA is essential for the state to reach its climate goals of 40% greenhouse gas reduction by 2030. MDE also asked Towson University to run the economic impact numbers for the same model run that includes MCEJA. They found net positives across the board on total jobs, GDP and the rest. (See here for the full slides of the E3 report and Towson report).

More than 640 community, labor, faith, business, climate, and environmental groups from across Maryland have already endorsed this proposal. It is endorsed by Interfaith Power and Light (DC, MD, NoVA) along with many Maryland faith groups, the American Wind Energy Association, Neighborhood SUN, the Maryland State Conference of NAACP, labor union SEIU1199, the Maryland Environmental Health Network, and many top environmental organizations such as the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and the CCAN Action Fund.

CONTACT:
Denise Robbins, Communications Director, CCAN Action Fund, denise@chesapeakeclimate.org, 608-620-8819
Brooke Harper, Maryland Policy Director, CCAN Action Fund, brooke@chesapeakeclimate.org, 301-992-6875

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CCAN Action Fund is the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the first grassroots, nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to fighting global warming in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.