Groups: Nine-Month Delay in Releasing Climate Plan is “Utterly Unacceptable”
ANNAPOLIS, MD — Today, 26 Maryland-based advocacy organizations sent a letter to the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) expressing “deep concern” that the agency has not yet released its legally mandated Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan. The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2016 — which was passed by super majorities in the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan — requires MDE to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 2006 levels by 2030, and for MDE to develop this plan by the end of 2018.
Anne Havemann, General Counsel, CCAN, stated: “Now is the time for leadership, not inaction. We are nearly out of time to deal with the climate crisis, and yet MDE has been sitting on its hands for over nine months with no plan to show for it. Not only do we demand the release of this legally mandated greenhouse gas reduction plan but we also demand that it fully account for the true impact of fracked-gas on Maryland’s greenhouse gas emissions. To do otherwise would delegitimize this already delayed plan.”
The letter reiterates that there is “growing urgency and alarm raised by the world’s leading climate scientists” about the climate crisis, and states that the Hogan administration is “wasting what little time we have left” to address climate change. They noted that this delay “does not harmonize with the Administration’s purported commitment to addressing global warming.” Hogan has positioned himself as a climate-friendly governor, announcing his public commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement and releasing a plan for 100% “clean” electricity even as he denigrated Maryland’s flagship clean energy law.
Celia Plante, Co-Chair of the Maryland Legislative Coalition, stated: “As voters and as residents of Maryland, a state that is one of the most heavily affected by climate change in the nation, we recognize that we need to transform from fossil fuels to clean energy as fast as possible. We cannot accept MDE’s foot-dragging when our children’s futures are literally at stake. If the MDE cannot even produce a plan in a reasonable amount of time, they are not qualified to lead us during this emergency. We need leadership not stall tactics.” The Maryland Legislative Coalition is an alliance of grassroots activist groups from all across the state, including Indivisible, Our Revolution, Progressive Maryland, Together We Will and Huddles.
Bonnie Raindrop, Legislative Chair of the Central Maryland Beekeepers Association, stated: “Climate change affects the survival of wild bees, honeybees, nectar and pollen producing plants and pollinators, which cannot adapt quickly enough to earth’s rising temperatures and weather changes. We depend on pollinators for one in three bites of food and are losing 60% of honeybees in Maryland annually and 70% of the worlds flying insects worldwide. This crisis demands swift action on the part of Maryland.”
Ruth Alice White, Advocacy Lead of HoCo Climate Action, stated: “Howard Countians are ready for climate action. Howard County youths and adults were among those involved in climate strikes last week, filling the streets, raising banners and calling for action during this time of climate emergency. Many have taken steps to lower their personal carbon footprints. But for greater changes, we need bold state policies in place. Secretary Grumbles, don’t hold us back.”
The groups also called on MDE to include in this plan “a full accounting of the life-cycle methane pollution related to energy use in Maryland derived from gas.”
Lois Hybl, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of Maryland, stated: “When legislation such as the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act is passed, we count on our government to take the necessary steps to meet the goals of such legislation. The League of Women Voters expects our elected officials and those appointed by them to act in a timely manner.”
The letter the week after millions of people took part in Global Climate Strikes around the world, calling for swift climate action. The world’s top scientists with the United Nations have released a report showing the world needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 in order to avert climate catastrophe.
The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 16 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.chesapeakeclimate.org