Hearing Underlines Necessity of Bill to Clean Up Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard

HB 11 will cut polluting, carbon-intensive fuel sources out of Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard

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Climate and Energy

For Immediate Release

Annapolis, MD — Today’s Economic Matters committee hearing underlines the urgent need to clean up Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. With committee members scheduled to debate a variety of climate legislation this afternoon, speakers representing the Reclaim Renewable Energy Coalition (REC), a group of over 20 environmental and social justice organizations, will speak on behalf of Del. Vaughn Stewart’s HB 11, which aims to cut polluting carbon-intensive fuel sources out of Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard.

Definitional flaws in Maryland’s signature clean energy program — the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which decides what energy sources count towards Maryland’s renewable energy goals — threaten to undermine any well-intentioned climate legislation the Maryland legislature is prioritizing this session. A recent report by PEER highlighted that 25% of the state’s “clean” money financed polluters in 2020. In advance of today’s hearing, Reclaim REC advocates urge the passage of HB 11, to ensure that any policies directing government action or public ratepayer dollars to renewable energy, is actually going to clean emissions-free sources.

In a report chronicling state RPS, Food & Water Watch gave Maryland an “F” for its system, which allows numerous polluting energy sources from factory farm biogas to trash incineration to count as clean. Current state subsidies pass the costs of propping up these polluting false solutions on to Maryland ratepayers. Food & Water Watch Maryland Organizer Lily Hawkins said:

“By cleaning up Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard, we can redirect consumer dollars to funding the just transition we need, doubling down on investment in truly renewable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal. But time is of the essence. With less than a decade left to significantly lower our greenhouse gas emissions before reaching an unstoppable climate tipping point, our legislative leaders must act now. The Maryland legislature must pass HB 11 and ensure no more public money goes towards polluting false solutions.”

“Community leaders in Frederick County, Carroll County, and Baltimore City had to fight for almost a decade to prevent new trash incinerators from being built – incinerators that were falsely greenwashed as environmental solutions and would have received ‘renewable energy’ subsidies through the RPS. And now, communities on the Eastern Shore are facing the same fight against new factory farm biogas,” said Jennifer Kunze, Maryland Coordinator at Clean Water Action. “Maryland needs to double down on real renewables, not force ratepayers to subsidize the very polluting facilities we’re trying to fight.”

“Low-income communities and communities of color will no longer allow ourselves to be targeted for industrial pollution. The public needs to have a say in who their industrial neighbors will be, and we need to ensure that communities are not targeted continually by polluters,” said Monica Brooks with NAACP Wicomico County and Concerned Citizens Against Industrial CAFOS. “Factory farm biogas will bring excess traffic concerns, odors and flies to communities like mine. These are all things that are harmful to quality of life and health — not hallmarks of clean energy. We need to clean up the RPS and stop it from being a catch all for polluters to count as renewable at the expense of the public.”

Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]