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Environmental Legislation Needs Your Help

How many of you are aware that the Community Solar you are subscribed to is because of MD State Legislation that was passed in 2015 and extended in 2019?  Neighborhood Sun would not be in existence without it and none of us would be able to receive low cost locally produced solar energy without it.

This 2020 MD legislative session there is a head spinning number of excellent bills to get behind, I have listed some below.  The MD General Assembly website has been completely redone and is far easier to use, go to: mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite and type in your SB (Senate Bill) or HB (House Bill) number with the 4 digits, many times published with three digits, must type in a 0 first, no spaces behind the SB or HB.

All descriptions on bills taken from the MD Legislative website:

Community Choice Energy SB 0315 & HB 0561

Applying certain laws regarding net energy metering and community solar generating systems to customers served by a community choice aggregator; repealing a provision that prohibits a county or municipal corporation from acting as an aggregator under certain circumstances; establishing a process by which, beginning October 1, 2021, a county or municipal corporation or group of counties or municipal corporations may form or join a community choice aggregator; etc.

Climate Solutions Act of 2020 – Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act –  SB 0926 & HB 1425

Increasing the greenhouse gas emissions reductions that the State must achieve by 2030; requiring the State to achieve net-zero statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2045; requiring the Department of the Environment to adopt a final plan that reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030 and sets the State on a path toward achieving net-zero statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, on or before December 31, 2020; establishing the Climate Jobs Workgroup; etc.

Best site to read the details about what this bill will do is CCAN https://chesapeakeclimate.org/

Electric Generation Transition from Fossil Fuels – Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rate and Transition Account (Coal Transition)  aka Just Transition from Fossil Fuels – SB 0887 & HB 1545

Prohibiting the carbon dioxide emissions rate for certain affected electric generating units from exceeding a certain amount; establishing the Fossil Fuel Community Transition Account to provide grants to certain individuals and communities; requiring the Department of Commerce to establish certain policies and procedures for the administration of the Account; requiring the Maryland Energy Administration to use the Maryland Strategic Energy Investment Fund to provide funding for the Account; etc.

Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard  –    SB 0560 & HB 0438

Altering the eligibility of certain sources of energy for the creation of credits under the renewable energy portfolio standard; removing certain sources from the definition of a “Tier 1 renewable source”; providing that existing obligations or contract rights may not be impaired by the Act; and applying the Act to all renewable energy portfolio standard compliance years beginning after December 31, 2020.

Public Service Commission Climate Test  – SB0656 & HB0531

Requiring the Secretary of the Environment to prepare a certain recommendation in connection with certain issues considered by the Public Service Commission; requiring the Secretary of Natural Resources to incorporate an evaluation of the impact of certain electric power plants on climate change into the Power Plant Research Program; requiring the Commission to consider the maintenance of fair and stable labor standards and the protection of the global climate in supervising and regulating certain public service companies; etc.

These bills are not directly related to Climate Change but they are certainly worthy of support:

Organized Hunting Contests  –  HB 0863

Prohibiting a person from sponsoring, conducting, or participating in organized contests that have the objective of hunting or killing certain wildlife for prizes or monetary awards; providing for the treatment or humane euthanasia and disposal of certain wildlife injured or killed during the course of an organized contest conducted in violation of the Act; providing the Act may not be construed to prohibit a landowner, agent or lessee from hunting certain mammals on property of the landowner under certain circumstances; etc.

Prohibit/Ban the use of Chlorpyrifos – SB 0300 & HB 0229

Prohibiting the use of chlorpyrifos in the State, including insecticides containing chlorpyrifos and seeds treated with chlorpyrifos; and requiring the Department of Agriculture, with existing budgeted resources, to provide to farmers, certified crop advisors, and pesticide applicators certain education and assistance relating to integrated pest management.

Chlorpyrifos is a toxic, nerve agent pesticide that has been found to damage children’s brain development, contaminate waterways and injure wildlife.

Healthy Soils Grant Program – HB 1176)

This bill would create a healthy soils grant program (as a part of Maryland’s Healthy Soils program) to make grants available for voluntary projects that increase carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions reductions on agricultural lands. “Carbon farming” is defined as implementing a land management strategy for the purposes of reducing, sequestering, and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions on farmlands and quantifying those greenhouse gas benefits using the USDA/NRCS’s COMET-Planner and other new and emerging, peer-reviewed quantification tools. Rewards should also be available for: the conversion of cropland to pasture, eliminating synthetic fertilizers, and increasing the fungal biomass in the soil. Note: the bill language will be amended to broaden the list of eligible practices – it won’t just be the three practices listed in the program statement (no-till/low-till, cover crops, and rotational grazing).

People, Climate Change is here NOW.  We, we are feelings its impacts all over the world and it is already making life harder for us in Maryland with the destruction severe flooding alternating with extreme heat brings.  We are losing thousands of trees that are being stressed by deluges of water (2018 was MD wettest year on record) followed by heat and drought.   I live just outside the city of Annapolis and I am horrified by how frequently I now see flooding in our state capital.  Scientific studies report that over the past 50 years, tidal flooding of our historic City Dock has risen from an average of only four what they call “nuisance flood” days per year to 40.  It is going to be a great deal more than a nuisance flood if our state’s capital becomes permanently under water.

There are dozens more excellent bills that deserve your strong support, such as Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act SB 0313 & HB 0209 but I have run out of room.  One of the best resources for bills is MD League of Conservation Voters Weekly Hotlist: https://www.mdlcv.org/weekly-hotlist

Thanks for all you do!

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