MD Lawmakers Risk $195 Million in Federal Funds by Undermining "Climate Solutions Now Act"

Climate activists plan press conference on Monday, April 8, 2 PM at Maryland State House

ANNAPOLIS, MD – On Thursday, the House/Senate joint conference committee on the budget added alarming amendments to the state budget bill that would likely delay implementation of Maryland’s Building Energy Performance Standard (BEPS). Achieving new efficiency standards for buildings was a core goal established by the state’s landmark Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022. Now the controversial budget language will likely imperil Maryland’s joint application for $195 million through a competitive grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That grant would help subsidize Building Energy Performance Standards and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide. The Maryland Department of the Environment wrote on Thursday:  

“This amendment potentially puts Federal funding at risk. MDE partnered with other state agencies, Montgomery County, and Washington DC, to apply for a $195 million Climate Pollution Reduction Grant (CPRG) from EPA to perform building upgrades to meet BEPS. If this provision sets back the BEPS regulation process and introduces additional uncertainty around regulatory timelines for at least 2 more years, it will threaten our ability to win this large and highly competitive grant.” 

In response to this alarming development during the last week of the Maryland General Assembly Session, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network/Action Fund issued this statement: 

“At a time when the state needs new revenue to balance our long-term budget and meet our climate goals in a rapidly warming world, Maryland lawmakers are about to throw away $195 million in federal dollars,” said Jamie DeMarco, CCAN Action Fund’s Maryland director. “This was supposed to be the year Maryland passed big steps to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, but instead we are watching our leaders in Annapolis weaken the Climate Solutions Now Act.” 

The Building Energy Performance Standards were on the verge of being finalized after two years of workgroup meetings with input from a wide range of stakeholders. The budget amendment language would require MDE to monitor Energy Use Intensity in buildings until the second half of 2026 before it could set Energy Use Intensity standards. This would constitute a significant change to the regulation and as a result, the entire regulation would have to be reissued, delaying the entire BEPS program from being implemented.   

For more background information, see this article in Maryland Matters. 

In response to this potential setback for climate action in Maryland, CCAN Action Fund has announced plans for a press conference in Annapolis:

WHAT:  Press conference focused on the threat to the Climate Solutions Now Act due to proposed weakening of Building Energy Performance Standard (BEPS)

WHEN:  Monday April 8, 2024, 2:00 PM

WHERE:  Lawyers Mall in front of the Maryland State House or watch live here:

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The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) Action Fund is dedicated to driving change in public policies at the local, state and national level to address the climate crisis. Through voter education, lobbying, and participation in the electoral process, we seek to advance our country’s leadership in the global movement towards clean energy solutions — focusing our efforts primarily in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. We know that a vibrant democracy is central to our success so we work to defend democratic integrity wherever we can.