From the Balmer Sun, Maryland General Assembly passes sweeping climate change legislation, sending to Gov. Hogan under threat of veto
A sweeping piece of climate change legislation that would push the state to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels is headed Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk — in time for Democratic General Assembly leaders to override a veto that the Republican executive has hinted may be coming.
The bill sets a 2031 target for the state to reduce its carbon footprint to 60% below 2006 levels, make the state carbon neutral by 2045 and require owners of large buildings to take steps to significantly reduce or offset use of fossil fuels by 2030. It also invests in youth conservation work and creates a “green bank” to help fund clean energy projects around the state.
Despite its breadth, the legislation fell short of the transformational changes that environmental activists and a liberal wing of Democrats had proposed initially and pushed for. The debate laid bare a gap between those pushing for an immediate and dramatic move to curtail use of fossil fuels and those concerned that the state’s energy grid isn’t ready for such a step.
“It’s an important step forward,” said Sen. Paul Pinsky, a Prince George’s County Democrat and the bill’s lead sponsor. “It is not the bold step forward I had hoped.”
The bill received final legislative approval Thursday morning after the state Senate accepted a version of the bill the House approved Tuesday.
Once lawmakers formally present the bill to the governor, expected to happen Friday, he has six days to decide whether to veto the bill; the General Assembly will adjourn the final session of its four-year term April 11.
The legislation faced some of the same snares that derailed a similar proposal a year ago. Democrats in the House and Senate disagreed on the timing and scope of some measures.
The legislation advanced without support from Republicans, who spent three hours Thursday floating amendments on the House floor that Democrats repeatedly dismissed.
They warned that the legislation would raise energy costs for struggling families and lead to brownouts and blackouts like those that have occurred in California, a leader in clean energy. California officials say recent blackouts were the product of extreme heat, which is made more likely by climate change, and poor grid planning.
I would certainly like to see the state government try to live under the kind of restrictions they intend to impose on the rest of us for a few years before proceeding with this.
I hope Hogan vetoes this, and I hope it sticks.
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