March 23, 2018
What is Next for 100 Percent Clean Energy in Maryland?
This was written by members of the 100% Renewable Maryland coalition: Al Bartlett, Maryland Sierra Club; Gina Angiola, Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility; Ann Bristow, Frack-Free Frostburg; Thomas Meyer, Food & Water Watch.
Last week, it became clear that the state legislature was not going to pass a major energy bill this election year. Delegate Shane Robinson withdrew HB 878, the 100% Clean Renewable Energy and Equity Act. The other major energy bill introduced, which proposed to expand the state’s existing Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50%, was also withdrawn after a negative vote in sub-committee. Withdrawing the 100% Act makes reintroduction of this bill, or something very similar, easier to do next year. The clean energy debate in Maryland, and across the country, has fundamentally shifted: it is no longer a question of if we can move to 100% clean energy, but how.
In these past few months we have not just put a stake in the ground, we have built a solid foundation for the clean renewable energy debate.
While this year’s legislative session is drawing to a close, this is just the beginning of our campaign for 100% clean energy in Maryland. These first months have been very successful: the hard work of analysis and planning that made the 100% Act a feasible and affordable approach was just finished late last fall. When the legislature convened in January, few legislators and few in the public knew about the possibility of moving to 100% clean electricity by 2035.
Since then, the 100% Renewable Maryland coalition has spread the word through public meetings, rallies, blogs, op-eds, letters to the editor and sessions with legislators. Six weeks later, by the time of its hearing in the House Economic Matters Committee, the 100% Act had 50 co-sponsors.
Learning from Past Victories
As this campaign progresses, we will continue to act based on the lessons many of us learned in previous climate campaigns, including the successful effort to ban fracking. Real change won’t be won overnight, but the long fight is worth it in the end. When we campaigned to ban fracking in 2016 and 2017, we fought for what we actually needed — a ban — and we won.
Leaders of the fracking ban movement have begun to join us — they know what will happen if Maryland doesn’t get on the path to 100% clean energy. The alternative is more air-polluting and carbon-intensive gas-fired power plants, compressor stations and pipelines, and methane release that will dominate our energy generation for decades to come.
We now have the rest of the year to continue educating legislators and the public, to build the widespread grassroots movement that will ultimately make the campaign for 100% clean energy successful.
We need everyone’s help to build the movement that will win this battle for our energy future, our planet, and our children. In these past few months we have not just put a stake in the ground, we have built a solid foundation for the clean renewable energy debate, and ultimately Maryland’s clean energy future.
Now we need to organize: public meetings, neighborhood discussions, film screenings, petition drives, op-eds and letters to the editor. We need to educate and call on our political leaders to support real, clean renewable energy for Maryland.
We need everyone that cares about climate change and a clean energy future to join the campaign. Help us support 100 percent clean energy in Maryland by signing our petition here.
Chesapeake PSR is a strong health voice on issues of environment, social justice and peace. Our volunteer activists are medical and health professionals and interested individuals. Please volunteer with Chesapeake PSR, donate, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
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