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2015 HoCoCC Maryland Advocacy

MARYLAND 2015  CLIMATE CHANGE LEGISLATION - Many of the these issues will be back in 2016 Session 
Find your representative here


The law prohibits fracking in Maryland before October 2017; the Maryland Department of the Environment must write regulations for fracking by October 2016. 
Background: In late November 2014, Gov. Martin O’Malley said he would lift the moratorium on fracking in Maryland that had been in place since 2011. His office released a study outlining state agencies’ findings on the impacts of fracking, and suggested a range of practices that, if fully implemented and enforced — could manage those risks to an acceptable level. Meanwhile, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned fracking because his health commissioner said he wouldn't want his children to live near fracking.  We agree with New York's acting health commissioner: The science shows much harm, so we don't want our children living near fracking. Although Howard doesn't lie on top of any shale deposits, an expanded compressor station for fracked gas is planned in our county as part of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline in Pennsylvania. More fracking means more gas-fired power plants, more compressors, more pipelines and more pollution. An economy fired on fracked gas will lead to runaway climate change.  
HB0449 The Protect our Health and Communities Act  Passed House 93 to 45, 3-24-15 amended down from 8 year to a 3 year moratorium 
SB0409  Senate  Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs (EHEA)  Committee Chair Joan Carter Conway,rewrote bill and retitled it   SB409 Environment – Hydraulic Fracturing – Regulations.  Most of text removed including the part on doing a review of health literature..  Now mandates regulations be published by October 2016 and provides that fracking cannot occur in  Maryland until October 2017.    See Baltimore Sun article on the Senate passage here.Balitmore Waterkeepers on Senate Bill  
Washington Post article here: analysis of Senate fracking debate in Senate committee 4/3/15 here.  

Info on what community solar is here.  Polls consistently show that more than 90% of Americans want more clean energy, yet 75+ percent of homes and businesses cannot install a renewable energy system on their own property. Community solar legislation means expanding access to renewable energy to more Americans. Participants share the upfront costs and receive the benefit of net metering credit on their electric bill, which pays for the upfront investment over time, just as if the solar system were on their own house. This helps people who live in an apartment, a rental, or have a shaded roof etc. See also:

Sponsored by Senator Pinsky -Bill on establishing the Commission on Climate Change in the Department of the Environment to advise the Governor and General Assembly on ways to mitigate the causes of, prepare for, and adapt to the consequences of climate change. 

Stalled and Dead Bills 2015 

 Fracking bills that did not pass:
SB0458 Civil Actions - Hydraulic Fracturing Liability Act (Zirkin, Raskin)   Sen. Zirkin's bill on fracking liability for any injury, death, or loss to person or property caused by the hydraulic fracturing activities in Senate Judiciary   Wed Feb 25 1 pm  Passed in  Senate 29 to 17, 3-24-15, got a hearing but no vote in House committee. 
SB 712 - Natural Gas Severance Tax and Impact Account – (Edwards) establishes a 2.5% severance tax  Hearing 3/11  1pm, Budget &Taxation
HB0458 – Environment - Exploration and Production Waste and Waste From Hydraulic Fracturing (S. Robinson, plus 17) establishes that waste from fracking is a controlled hazardous waste  Hearing 3/11  - Unfavorable Report by Environment and Transportation
HB0952 – Public Health – Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals – Information and Fund (Lam plus 26)HB 952  Hearing 3/11  -  Unfavorable Report by Environment and Transportation; Withdrawn 4/1/15
SB438HB883 - Environment - Well Drilling- Notice to Municipalities (Middleton/Frush) would eliminate the requirement that a well driller must notify municipalities of intent to drill and instead require that the Department of Environment notify the municipality when the driller applies for a permit to drill. 

SUPPORT CRUDE OIL RAIL TRANSPORT BILL - Passed House, no vote in Senate Committee
HB1073 Environment - Crude Oil Rail Transport - Risk Assessment and Accident Prevention Study - Requiring the Department of the Environment and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to jointly study the potential risks and impacts to the State in the event of a crude oil spill during rail transport in the State; requiring the Department of the Environment and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to establish specified plans as part of the joint study; etc.

A coalition of environmentalists, public health experts and social justice groups is backing legislation requiring 40 percent renewable energy in Maryland by 2025, double the current standard of 20 percent by 2020. See pictures from a rally for clean energy on  Wednesday, Jan. 14, the first day of the General Assembly session. Plan to attend the Clean Energy Rally Night in Annapolis on February 23.     VIDEO: CCAN recently released a video about this bill featuring labor, faith, health, and climate advocate voices. See\   Sierra Club Fact Sheet here.

Basically enacts the air quality regulations the Governor has stalled, with minor timeline changes.  Hearing March 12 at 1p.m.  Has not passed either chamber.  As of April 5, 2015 does not appear to being moving forward this year.  See Sierra Club Ad calling out Governor Hogan on his failure to publish air quality (NOx) regulations - and press release about the April 2015 ad campaign here.   
UPDATE:  On April 17, 2015 Hogan just issued "emergency regulations" weakening the proposed O'Malley coal plant emission regulations  See Baltimore Sun article here.  A joint committee of the General Assembly will review the regulation and can delay, but not stop it. Sierra Club response here.   
UPDATE April 22, 2015 NOTICE OF SIERRA CLUB INTENT TO SUE to Require Publication and Enforcement of the Regulations for the Control of NOx Emissions from Coal-Fired Electric Generating Units here.

Plastic bags are made from byproducts of natural gas (mostly fra- SB 620, Community Cleanup and Greening Act of 2015cked gas, now). Each bag is used for about 12 minutes and then lasts forever. Let's get rid of them in Maryland this year. House Environment and Transportation hearing Wed March 4, 1 pm 0- Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs hearing Tues March 10 . In the House - Unfavorable Report by Environment and Transportation; Withdrawn

Legislation that would require a cumulative environmental impact assessment prior to the issuance of certain environmental permits, including for air quality control, landfills or incinerators, water pollution discharge, and sewage sludge storage. The concept is supported by certain legislators and environmental justice proponents. Maryland must address how we permit sources of pollution to ensure that no community is saddled with an unfair burden. Many of Maryland’s older neighborhoods are subjected to polluting legacy industries, toxic brownfields, polluted runoff from large expanses of pavement, and a lack of green space. Such communities deserve additional consideration when new polluting facilities are permitted nearby. Health or cumulative air impact studies were not done prior to the approval of the incinerator near Curtis Bay. Unfavorable report by the House Environment and Transportation Committee , Withdrawn April 1, 2015


Federal regulators (FERC) approved Dominion's fracked-gas liquefaction and export facility at Cove Point in Calvert County, a project that has raised concerns from neighbors and environmentalists. This is the first liquefied fracked-gas export terminal to be built on the East Coast and the first one to be built so close to a residential neighborhood. Determined folks have been protesting and getting arrested there.  If this facility is built, the price of fracked gas would rise, creating a huge incentive to frack more. See continual efforts at  and

Baltimore students with Free Your Voice are leading an effort to stop an incinerator near their Curtis Bay neighborhood. Howard County government, schools and the community college are among the entities that have agreed to purchase energy from the incinerator. We will be calling on Howard County agencies to drop the contracts, which they most likely can do without penalty in the   spring. A meeting about fair development instead of dirty incinerators was held  Saturday, Jan. 17 at Benjamin Franklin H.S.  April 25 Concert for Fair Development info here.
Fracked Bakken oil from North Dakota will ride the rails through Baltimore to an export terminal in Curtis Bay if Targa Terminals gets its way. In July 2013, an oil train crashed in Lac-Mégantic, Québec, killing 47 people.We are working with others to stop this oil-by-rail plan.  Fact sheet

Exelon wants to gobble up Pepco, creating a near monopoly in energy generation in the region. This merger represents the opposite of locally generated, renewable energy. Exelon has a poor track record on energy conservation and renewable energy. The Maryland Public Service Commission needs to hear from us.   And sign petition here  
New Petition - Comments due April 17 - 

This humongous so-called trade deal would, among other things, allow companies to seek damages if federal or state environmental and safety regulations threaten projected profits. And a corporate tribunal would make the ruling. So, this could unravel all work we do. 

UPDATE April 17 , 2015 - Congress to vote on TPP Fast Track Bill Next week - We oppose Fast Track because the TPP would give corporations incentive to dig up and burn more fossil fuels, making climate change much worse.  Legislation designed to address climate change, curb fossil fuel expansion and reduce air pollution could be subject to attack by corporations.

Keystone XL is proposed $8 billion, 1,179-mile pipeline between Alberta, Canada and Nebraska that would transport 830,000 barrels of tars sands "oil" per day. The "oil" is really toxic tar sands bitumen, which is so thick it must be heated and diluted with toxic corrosive chemicals in order to flow through pipelines. To get at the tar sands gunk, old growth forests are razed. Because Keystone XL crosses the US-Canada border, President Obama has final say on approving the pipeline and is likely to make a decision on whether to approve or deny the pipeline in 2015.
The House of Representatives has AGAIN approved the pipeline. Obama had said he would veto a KXL bill while a Nebraska challenge was pending, but the Nebraska Supreme Court recently upheld the pipeline's route (four of seven justices said the route was chosen illegally, but five judges are needed to overturn legislation. ). Obama had been stating he would veto any congressional legislation while the Nebraska challenge was still pending, so decisions can come at any time.   February 24, 2015 - President Obama Vetoes Keystone Pipeline Bill!     Sign Unity Letter thanking him and asking him to finally reject this pipeline -
The Obama administration proposed an unprecedented opening of the waters off the Atlantic coast for oil and natural gas drilling even as it put vast areas in the Arctic off-limits. The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s new five-year offshore drilling strategy calls for opening the offshore stretch from Virginia to Georgia, an area the energy industry says could hold large amounts of oil and gas.
Quote from Gov. O'Malley: "To allow drilling off the Atlantic Coast is to willfully forget Deepwater’s awful lesson even as the economic, environmental and public health consequences continue to reverberate in communities along the gulf. If a disaster of Deepwater’s scale occurred off the Chesapeake Bay, it would stretch from Richmond to Atlantic City, with states and communities with no say in drilling decisions bearing the consequences. The 50-mile buffer the administration has proposed would be irrelevant. And unlike the gulf, the Chesapeake is a tidal estuary, meaning that oil would remain in the environment for decades."