Baltimore, MD — This afternoon, elected officials, public interest organizations, and dozens of Marylanders gathered in Baltimore’s Federal Hill Park to announce the introduction of a state bill calling for 100% renewable energy by 2035. The bill significantly improves Maryland’s renewables program by requiring an ambitious transition off of fossil fuels to clean renewable energy during that timeframe.
As lead sponsor of the bill, Delegate Shane Robinson is also seeking to remove incentives for problematic energy options currently considered “renewable” in Maryland, such as trash incineration and burning methane from factory farms.
“Maryland took a major step to protect its residents from the negative impacts of fossil fuels by banning fracking last year, but that simply won’t be enough in the long run,” said Delegate Shane Robinson, District 39. “We know that sea level rises will devastate cities like Baltimore, Annapolis, and towns across the Eastern Shore. It took us five years to ban fracking. But we can’t wait another five years to act. We need to move Maryland to 100% clean energy immediately.”
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agrees that preventing the planet from warming 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels “would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.” Experts agree staying below 1.5°C of warming will require aggressive action to undo our dependence on fossil fuels. This includes creating a 100% clean energy system.
“With enough political will, a swift, just transition to 100% renewable energy is possible in Maryland but we must act now. From the mountains of Western Maryland to the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, climate change has the potential to dramatically impact the places that make Maryland home,” said Rianna Eckel, Maryland Organizer, Food & Water Watch. “On the heels of a fracking ban, Maryland has an opportunity to once again stand up for communities against the fossil fuel industry.”
The implications of climate change on Maryland are drastic and directly threaten our environment, economy and the lives of future generations. For decades communities across Maryland have been severely impacted by pollution from power plants that has harmed public health and the environment.
“Marylanders have had to put up with enough coal dust, waste products and toxins released by fossil fuels just because they’re cheap or available. The time is now for Maryland to break ties with energy options known to be toxic to our future,” said Fred Tutman, Patuxent Riverkeeper. “The measures provided in this legislation will help us ratchet down the persistent reliance on dirty fossil fuels and set a course for using greener options that are more sustainable.”
“When we launched the effort to protect our water, air, land, people, and climate from the threats of fracking--right here in this very spot--many told us we couldn't possibly prevail. But we did prevail, and now Maryland is leading the way on another landmark effort: to commit our state to adopt a 100% clean renewable energy portfolio,” said Mike Hersh, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) National Communications Director and Maryland State Coordinator. “Clean, green, sustainable energy will empower our state using 21st century technology, create living wage jobs, and improve both our standard of living and our quality of life. We pledge that once again Maryland will lead the way for our nation.”
The “Off Fossil Fuels Act” will require a 5% increase in clean energy generated retail electricity sales in the state each year until reaching 100% in 2035. Electricity providers would be required either to generate or to purchase electricity in those amounts and would have to document that generation or purchase annually.
Delegate Eric Luedtke, District 14 said, “The destiny of Maryland is tied, perhaps more than any other state, to the water. Climate change and sea level rise are a threat to our state, and we can and should be a national leader in addressing them.”
"We can achieve 100% renewable energy here in Maryland by 2035,” said Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher, District 18. “I stand firmly for this important goal. As a father of three, I know we must join the fight for a cleaner, greener future for our state."