Annapolis, MD - Food & Water Action and its allies are fighting to get two big-ticket items passed in Maryland’s 2020 legislative session: a bill to hold dirty, polluting factory farms accountable, and a package empowering communities to affordably transition to renewable energy with Community Choice Energy. Both goals promise huge benefits to Maryland communities.
Community Choice Energy (CCE) is a policy that will give power back to the people by allowing Maryland communities to establish energy aggregation programs like those already successfully operating around the country. Right now, only the state can directly negotiate with utilities, but the CCE bill allows democratically elected local governments to take decisions about energy into their own hands, driving down rates for consumers and enabling investment in clean, renewable energy programs.
CCE stands in stark contrast to a disastrous energy plan that Gov. Hogan is promoting in 2020, which moves Maryland to heavy reliance on nuclear power production. This would burden Marylanders with heavy financial costs and increase public health risks associated with radioactive waste. Billed by the governor as a way to reduce carbon emissions, Food & Water Action knows nuclear energy is still dirty, expensive, and unequitable. Instead of subsidizing this false solution and the accompanying risks, Maryland should focus on promoting growth for real clean renewables.
Food & Water Action is also working to pass legislation to stop air and water pollution from factory farms. Industrial-scale chicken houses litter Maryland’s Eastern Shore, making it hard for small, independent farmers to stay in business, releasing toxic contaminants into the air, and polluting Maryland’s precious coasts with excess nutrients that breed toxic algae and create dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay. However, a solution is in sight, and Food & Water Watch is fighting for the introduction of legislation that will stop the buildout of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in 2020.
“We’re thrilled to see such forward-thinking environmental legislation on the to-do list for this session,” says Lily Hawkins, Maryland organizer for Food & Water Action. “Our state has all the resources it needs to take a leadership role on a rapid, equitable transition to renewable energy. Thanks to the great work of the fierce environmental advocates who currently hold state office and also their constituents who are outspoken in their support for a clean energy economy, 2020 is off to a green start.”