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2019 Maryland Climate Legislation

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Bills must pass out of assigned committees before advancing to the entire floor, so please contact your legislator if bills are before their committee.  Legislators need to hear from us even if they already support a bill to know that there is strong constituent support.
Senate Committees:
Judicial Proceedings - HoCo Member - Katie Frye Hester(9)
House Committees:

Note crossover Date is Monday March 18.  Bills that don't pass at least one house by this date have another hurtle to pass, they have to get approved by the Rules Committee to get a hearing and to pass.  

Clean Energy Jobs Act - CEJA (SB 516/HB1158This bill would call on Maryland’s elected officials to double the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard policy to 50% renewable electricity by 2030, determine the best plan to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2023, and implement that plan by 2040. To learn more, check out these calls/webinars and fact sheets:   CCAN conference call. Sierra Club webinar, CCAN Webinar and slides, and fact sheets here,  here and here. Interfaith, Power & Light (DMV)   SB516 hearing in March 5 in Senate Finance.   HB1158 hearing in Economics Matters Fri Mar 8, 1 pm House of Delegates Rm 230,  6 Bladen St. Annapolis.   SB516 removes  subsidy for trash incineration. HB1158 does not.   CEJA op-ed here.  ACTION for Committee Members: Thank Courtney Watson (9B) for supporting HB1158  and Email Warren Miller (9A) asking him to support HB1158.  SEND this important message about supporting clean energy now. Script for letter or phone call and HERE.  Apparently separate stand alone  bills  Senate Bill 548  and House Bill 961  to remove subsidy for incineration are both dead. 
3-30-19 CEJA reported favorably by Senate Finance and  passed by Senate on 3/30/19 with the  provision to remove subsidies for incineration (a provision not in the corresponding House bill.)  Leadership heard us.  This bill was stuck in the House Rules committee until today when it was voted out of committee and sent to the House Floor for a vote hopefully tomorrow.  It should pass.  We assume the committee deleted mention of removing subsidies for incineration.  So once it passes the House (which we hope it will without any poison pill amendments) it will go back to the Senate which is poised to pass it.  The legislative session ends at midnight Monday April 8 and time is running out.  This has to be a priority for all in the House of Delegates! CCAN action fund statement herePASSED at 10:20 pm of the last day of the Legislature.  To the Governor for approval 

(RELATED Long Terms Contacts bill in House, SB910/HB879 defeated in House committee 3-14-19, withdrawn). Sierra Club CEJA Toolkit here supporting both CEJA and Long Term Contracts.

The Maryland Pipeline & Water Protection Act - PAWPA (SB387/HB669)  Would require the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to conduct full, independent reviews of proposed fracked-gas pipelines using its authority under the federal Clean Water Act. MDE could not waive this authority as it did for the Potomac Pipeline. CCAN conference call (starting at 10:45 min); CCAN webpage. CCAN Fact Sheet Sierra Club fact sheet. Sierra Club webinar , webinar slides here and CCAN Webinar starting at 26 min,   S.B.387 Info here.  Press release here. Senate EHEA Hearing was Tues  Feb 19 - see hearing here at 2 hrs, 24 min.   HB669 hearing in Economics Matters & Environment and Transportation (E&T), Thur March 7, 1 pm,  House of Delegates Rm 230,  6 Bladen St. Annapolis. STATUS:  Bill was approved by EHEA with amendments on 3/20/19. Thank Clarence Lam (12) for his support for SB387 in committee.  It will go the Senate for a a vote. 
Consider to ask Warren Miller (9A) and Courtney Watson (9B)  to support HB669. The bill will be in House committees for consideration after it is passed by the Senate.  Both CEJA and PAWPA need to be passed by the House Economic Matters Committee this session.. Status:  Failed to pass.  A House  Economics Matter subcommittee submitted a negative report, and the Economic Matters Committee gave it a negative report.. 

(Related bill - Interstate Pipeline Liability Act  SB100/HB499 -  3-14-19 Unfavorable Report by House Judiciary; Withdrawn)

Ban on Polystyrene Foam (EPS - Styrofoam) Food Containers (SB285/HB109) by food service businesses and schools. Styrofoam is petroleum-based plastic derived from styrene and benzene and this toxic non-biodegradable material persists indefinitely in the environment and accumulates over time.  It degrades into increasingly smaller pieces, called microplastics. These pieces absorb toxic chemicals and are easily mistaken for food by marine life, injuring and killing fish, seabirds, and marine mammals.
Sierra Club fact sheetInterfaith Partners for the Chesapeake Info Page. Trash Free Maryland  Sign up for webinar on this bill on Thurs. Jan 31 at 7 pm here.   Passed both houses.  Minor amendments need to be reconciled,  then to the Governor for his signature.  

Plastic Bag Fee in Howard County (HB1166would give the county the authority to impose a fee on single-use plastic bags at checkout to encourage the use of reusable shopping bags. This would not apply to bags used for bulk produce, dry cleaning, newspapers, prescription drugs or paper bags. Plastic bags, which are made from polyethylene, emit greenhouse gases and contribute to climate change and are a huge pollution issue. (Fact Sheet.) Hearing in House 3/12 at 1:00 p.m. Environment and Transportation (E&T) & Economic Matters . . Status:  Favorable report by House committees, and passed the House.  Assigned to Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs (EHEA)  where there was a  hearing March 26. Thank Sen. Clarence Lam D. 12 for his support!  Senate Committee voted for the bill and it has moved to Senate floor for a vote on April 3.

Green Amendment (HB0472) would add Marylanders' right to breathable air, uncontaminated water and a clean environment to the state constitution, along with current rights, such as free speech and freedom of religion.
MEHN webinar and slides.   Unfavorable Report - House Environment and Transportation Committee March 11 and withdrawn.

Transportation Climate Accountability Act of 2019 (SB 788/HB 695)  (HB91)
Would require a comprehensive study of the anticipated greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution of any highway project, both state-funded or built through a public-private partnership. Sierra Club fact sheet.  Press Release   NOTE:  The Maryland Department of Transportation recommends DROPPING transit alternatives (heavy rail, light rail, bus rapid transit) to Governor Hogan's highway expansion proposal. 
Also Pre-solicitation Reports - Environmental Impact Statement Requirement (HB91) to require the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to withdraw their pre-soliciation report (for industry interest) on Governor Hogan’s I- 495 and I-270 toll lanes proposal until after the release of the draft Environmental Impact statement (EIS) and prohibit agencies engaging in future P3 projects from releasing this report until the draft EIS.  HB 695 Hearing. Unfortunately, all these bill are stalled right now.

Advocacy efforts have moved to  a newer bill has some important components HB1091, Public-Private Partnerships - Reforms,  passed the House and is in Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.  This bill requires Maryland to thoroughly review the environmental impacts of major transportation proposals before it locks in an "public-private partnership" agreement to build and finance projects, including the expansion of Maryland's highways. In talking to legislators, we insist this bill applies to the current highway expansion plan.  If you live in D13, contact Senator Guy Guzzone and ask for his support. See op-ed from former Gov. Glendening supporting this.  This bill passed the House and has a hearing April 3 in the Senate Budget and Taxation committee.

Health Impact Assessments (HB308) -  Requires a rapid health impact assessment (HIA) be submitted and considered on energy projects before the Public Service Commission (PSC).  The PSC is not currently required to systematically provide for additional health and safety protections for ratepayers; and the PSC may currently approve an application without considering any health impacts of the activity on nearby Maryland residents. Hearing Thur Feb 14 in Economic Matters  (ECM)  Status: House committee ECM, favorable with Amendments 3/18 and passed the House.  Hearing held April 2 in  Senate Finance Committee. 

Extension of Community Solar pilot (SB520/HB683) Remove current restrictions on the community solar program and extend the termination date of the program from 2020 to 2024. Hearing Feb 14 in House Economic Matters and in March 8 in Senate Finance Passed the General Assembly and to Governor for signature

Energy Storage Pilot Project Act (SB0573/HB0650) - Requires the PSC to establish an energy storage pilot program. Energy Storage is battery power for electricity backup in lieu of gas "peakers" power plants that generally run only when there is a high demand, known as peak demand, for electricity.  (Storage article here).  Hearing Feb 21 in House Economic Matters; Mar 5 in Senate Finance.    
Status :Passed the General Assembly and to Governor for signature.    See article on passage and what it means for Maryland here.