Advocates Also Release Gonzales Poll Showing Overwhelming Statewide Support for Hogan to Support the “Clean Energy Jobs Act”
ANNAPOLIS, MD — Today, nearly 100 Maryland community leaders and activists rallied at the Maryland State House in support of the top environmental bill of the 2019 General Assembly Session: the “Clean Energy Jobs Act.” With their inflatable green surfboards, activists showcased the growing momentum behind the bill. They called on Governor Hogan to put away his famous “purple surfboard” and instead ride the growing “green climate wave” in the state by supporting this key bill.
“Governor Hogan says states need to lead the way on climate change, and I completely agree,” said Senator Brian Feldman (D-15, Montgomery County). “I look forward to working with the Governor and the General Assembly to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act. There is a great deal of positive momentum behind the bill and I am optimistic that we can pass it early this session.”
The advocates — representing business, faith, labor and environmental groups — also released a new statewide poll showing 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.
“This poll has confirmed what we already knew: Maryland is ready for serious climate action, now,” said Brooke Harper, Maryland Director of the CCAN Action Fund. “From Western Maryland to Baltimore to Berlin on the Eastern Shore, Maryland is all in for clean energy. Now we’re looking to the Governor to signal his support.”
The Clean Energy Jobs Act 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. Support for climate action in Maryland has new 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 are on record supporting the proposed bill. This happened amid new alarming national and international scientific studies on climate change and scandalous climate policy retreats by the Trump Administration.
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.
“I’m sponsoring the Clean Energy Jobs Act because it would provide needed opportunities to Marylanders from all across the state,” said Delegate Cheryl Glenn (D-45, Baltimore City). “By expanding our offshore wind industry, we can create a new clean energy hub, bring business back to Baltimore, and create thousands of new jobs for Marylanders.”
“For too long, disadvantaged communities have dealt with the consequences of global warming and dirty air even though they have done the least to contribute to the problem,” said Delegate Edith Patterson (D-28, Charles County). “The Clean Energy Jobs Act helps correct this environmental injustice, while investing in workforce development for our communities. That’s why the Legislative Black Caucus is making this bill a priority for passage this year.”
A de facto “supermajority” of elected legislators in both the House and Senate are on record supporting CEJA ahead of the 2019 General Assembly session. A veto-proof majority of 30 elected senators has explicitly signaled its support for the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act. Similarly, for the House of Delegates, 84 elected legislators support the Clean Energy Jobs Act. This does not include the Speaker of the House or two other leadership positions who would almost certainly join the 84 — making a veto-proof 87 — if the bill moves to the House floor.
Organizations supporting the Clean Energy Jobs Initiative now look forward to taking these supermajorities of support in both chambers and working with the key committees, committee chairs, and Senate and House leadership in translating this supermajority support into a strong clean energy bill that keeps Maryland on the forefront of clean energy and climate policy.
“The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act is an investment in Maryland’s most innovative energy companies” notes David Murray, Executive Director of MDV-SEIA, the trade association for the state solar industry. “We expect the Clean Energy Jobs Act to create 20,000 new solar jobs and guarantee nearly 15% of our electricity comes from Maryland sunshine.”
“Demand for offshore wind is skyrocketing, with major energy companies in fierce competition to build the first U.S. offshore wind projects at scale,” said Andrew Gohn, Eastern Region Director of State Affairs, American Wind Energy Association. “By supporting the Clean Energy Jobs Act, Governor Hogan can harness the power of this moment to work for Marylanders, drawing good jobs, major energy businesses, and new infrastructure investments to the state.”
The bill would remove all subsidies for trash incineration under the state’s RPS policy. This will end the practice of Marylanders investing their tax dollars in sources that harm their communities and block investments in clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
“For too long, my community has borne the burdens of dirty energy,” said Reverend Dellyne Hinton, Pastor of Gwynn Oak UMC and Chair of the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council. “Dirty energy is making our air and water dirty, damaging our climate, and making our children and elders sick. It’s time for our leaders in Annapolis to show moral leadership by passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act in 2019,”
“We are here today to right a wrong,” said Destiny Watford, Curtis Bay Community Leader with United Workers. “Several years ago, a decision was made to put the lives of people in my community at risk. That choice would give millions of dollars in public subsides to trash incineration in Maryland. Today begins our journey in steering the course of history in our city away from polluting developments like incineration and toward truly renewable energy alternatives.”
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).
“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. Latino communities understand that our future is at stake and an overwhelming majority support climate mitigation policies, like the Clean Energy Jobs Act,” said Ramon Palencia-Calvo, Director of Chispa Maryland of Maryland League of Conservation Voters.
“GRID Mid‐Atlantic envisions a future where clean, renewable energy is accessible to everyone, and the Clean Energy Jobs Act can help get us there,” said Alexandra Wyatt, Policy and Regulatory Manager, on behalf of GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic. “We can’t afford to wait much longer and Maryland voters are ready for change. The time for a change in policy is now so we can move away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy legislation that brings jobs, saves families money on electricity, and keeps our communities green.”
In 2016, the Maryland General Assembly voted to increase the statewide electricity standard to 25 percent by 2020, but Governor Hogan vetoed it. The General Assembly voted to override Hogan’s veto in 2017.
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.