With a climate-denying President moving to increase oil and gas extraction, it is more important than ever for state and local governments to act. That’s what happened this week, as state bills for 100% renewable energy moved forward this week in New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland.
In New Jersey, we have spent months building a coalition to support this visionary goal. On February 1, the NJ Off Fossil Fuels coalition came to Trenton to formally launch our campaign to support two pieces of legislation that will get New Jersey to 100% clean energy by 2035. Standing alongside bill sponsors Senator Patrick Diegnan and Assemblyman Tim Eustace, an enthusiastic crowd chanted, sang, and shouted out our support for bold action to create a clean energy revolution in the Garden State.
— Alex Beauchamp (@AlexAtFWW) February 1, 2018
With a new governor who has declared his support for 100% clean energy, the time for setting this ambitious goal is right now. As Senator Diegnan put it, “No challenge is beyond our reach. And anybody who tells you that this goal is unreachable are simply lying to you.” Assemblyman Eustace echoed those points, saying that a “failure of imagination” should not hold us back from thinking big: “There’s no way this will fail.”
On Tuesday, Virginia lawmakers heard the first ever state level bill that calls for 100% clean energy by 2035. The new legislation, introduced by environmental champion Delegate Sam Rasoul, could have major impacts on renewable energy in the state. In a pivotal moment, the bill was passed by indefinitely (i.e. tabled) but with significant support from all the Democratic Delegates on committee - Kaye Kory, Jeff Bourne, Jeion Ward and Stephen Heretick.
In Maryland yesterday, Delegate Shane Robinson and 47 co-sponsors in the House of Delegates announced the introduction of the bill to move Maryland to 100 % renewable energy by 2035, the strongest climate bill ever introduced in Maryland. More than 100 people from the 100% Renewable Maryland coalition including the groups Food & Water Watch, Maryland Sierra Club, Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, Howard County Climate Change, Hartford County Climate Change and others rallied in support of the bold bill.
Thank you to everyone for joining the rally for 100% clean energy in Maryland! Let's keep building the movement for real climate solutions in our state. #OffFossilFuels #MDGA18 pic.twitter.com/wilcwcgU06
— FWW Maryland (@FWWMaryland) February 1, 2018
A bill to bring renewable energy to 100 percent of Maryland's power supply has been dropped, and supporters are rallying today. pic.twitter.com/GDENumOZUr
— Scott Dance (@ssdance) February 1, 2018
In the coming weeks, similar bills will also be introduced in New York and Colorado. All this activity at the state level bodes well for the national effort to move off fossil fuels. In the past week, three new co-sponsors joined Tulsi Gabbard’s Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act, and the number of groups supporting the bill continued to grow. Over 400 organizations have signed onto a letter urging support for this “visionary legislation,” including 350.org, Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity, Progressive Democrats of America, Our Revolution, National Nurses United and more.
To get involved in all these efforts from anywhere in the country, go to offfossilfuels.org. Experienced organizers will be able to help connect you with these campaigns, or start one in your own state or community. Together we can bring about the clean energy revolution we need to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, now and for future generations.