Author By:Mike Tidwell and Brooke Harper Chesapeake Climate Action Network and CCAN Action Fund Mar 22, 2018
We’re not gonna sugar coat it: The Maryland General Assembly dropped the ball last week on a big climate bill. In an era of rising temperatures and Donald Trump, legislators failed to pass the urgently needed Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act. And then Governor Larry Hogan made things WORSE. He gave formal approval last Friday to a fracked-gas pipeline that would cut right across Maryland, endangering our drinking water and accelerating climate change.
So it was a bad week, last week. But never forget the words of Winston Churchill who once said: “Leadership is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”
We have sky-high enthusiasm right now. That’s because Maryland is a proven national leader on climate issues. So with your help, we WILL come back next year and pass the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act! We WILL — under this bill — double wind and solar power in our state and invest in job training for minority, veteran, and and women-owned businesses in the renewable energy industry.
And as for Governor Hogan: We may very well see him in court over his proposed Potomac Pipeline. We won’t let him turn Maryland into a massive hub for the transport of fracked gas. He wants to let notorious polluter TransCanada bring dirty gas down from Pennsylvania, through Maryland and under the Potomac River, for combustion in West Virginia. He also wants to spend $70 million of YOUR money to help other Canadian and U.S. companies build even MORE fracked-gas pipelines in coming years across the state. But again, with your help, we won’t let him.
Send an email to your state legislators right now and — if they supported the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act — say THANK YOU. After you’ve done that, take two minutes to call Governor Larry Hogan and tell him to stop trying to turn Maryland into a massive hub for fracked gas.
Here’s what happened with the Clean Energy Jobs Act:
With polar ice caps melting, Hogan has taken a polar opposite approach on big climate policies. The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act, which he has opposed in the past, is the strongest and most popular climate legislation every proposed in the state. It would mandate that half of our statewide grid come from renewable energy in the coming decade. It would invest $27 million in workforce development for veterans, women, and minority workers. It is supported by a record 650-plus groups statewide, including the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, the NAACP, the Maryland Ecumenical Leaders Group, and more.
But here’s the best part: House Bill 1453 and Senate Bill 732 got a record number of co-sponsors in the Maryland House and Senate as the 90-day legislative session kicked off in January. With Trump withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord and imposing tariffs on solar power, a full 77 members co-sponsored our bill in the House of Delegates (a majority). And 24 Senators co-sponsored the bill (also a majority). But then, in a surprise move, a small subcommittee voted against the bill in the House. Then the Senate decided to table the bill until next year.
Click here to thank your state legislators who co-sponsored the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act. With Donald Trump and extreme weather out of control, tell your leaders you look forward to working with them to advance this must-pass bill during the next session of the General Assembly in early 2019.
Governor Hogan approved the Potomac Pipeline — but that’s not all:
Now, the Maryland climate movement must turn its full attention to Larry Hogan and his rogue campaign to expand dangerous fracked gas combustion throughout the state. Despite signing an historic fracking ban in Maryland last year, Hogan has been quietly collaborating with Canadian gas companies to, in the words of his Administration, “kick-start a natural gas expansion . . . throughout Maryland.”
Last Friday, despite months of protest from citizens across the region, Hogan issued a highly flawed state permit, clearing the way for construction once regulators in the Trump Administration give their approval. This was his chance to reject the dangerous proposal and protect Marylanders from TransCanada. The company, of course, is a proven international polluter in a class all its own (remember Keystone XL?!) It’s absurd. CCAN and our partners will continue to do all we can to stop this proposed pipeline from running from Pennsylvania, through Maryland, and under the Potomac River for combustion in West Virginia.
Hogan also wants to give $70 million of ratepayer money to large gas companies as part of a deal with Calgary-based AltaGas. Alta wants to merge with local utility Washington Gas and Light. Hogan has proposed a “settlement” that would require AltaGas and ratepayers like you to fund a major buildout of more and more gas pipelines all across the state. More insanity. CCAN and dozens of other groups and businesses have submitted comments to the Maryland Public Service Commission asking the regulatory body to reject Hogan’s fracked-gas agenda.
Now you can join the fracked-gas protest effort. Take two minutes to call Governor Larry Hogan and tell him to stop trying to turn Maryland into a massive hub for fracked gas.
In closing, we want to give a shout out to some climate champions who’ve stood out in Annapolis in recent weeks. One is Maryland Senator Brian Feldman, (D-15) of Montgomery County. Senator Feldman was lead sponsor of the Clean Energy Jobs Act and advocated with exceptional passion, savvy, and intelligence for the bill. And although we didn’t win, Senator Feldman distinguished himself yet again as that rare legislator who combines true-blue belief with legislative talent to represent every activist’s dream lawmaker. Many thanks Senator Feldman!
Finally, we want to thank two mothers and three grandmothers from Maryland and West Virginia. These women were peacefully arrested last week outside Hogan’s Annapolis office as they protested against the Potomac Pipeline. “Mothers protecting Mother Earth” is what they called themselves. Now we want to thank them by name. So to you – Jean Cushman, Pam Dehmer, Elizabeth Freeman, Liz Feighner, and Lynn Yellot – we offer the highest salute and pledge that we will never stop fighting with you to keep fossil fuels in the ground for the sake of your kids and grandkids.
Mike Tidwell and Brooke Harper
Chesapeake Climate Action Network and CCAN Action Fund