BALTIMORE, MD — On Friday, January 31, at 12:30pm, dozens of concerned Maryland residents held a rally to call out the inadequacies in Governor Hogan’s draft plan to address climate change. The press conference took place just before the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) held its final public meeting on the draft plan.
Joyce Dowling, Leader of Clean Air Prince Georges, stated: “Brandywine has become a sacrifice zone in Maryland and it’s an environmental justice issue — five gas-powered plants in a 13-mile radius in southern Prince George’s County and northern Charles County. This is an atrocity for our health and our children’s future besides adding greenhouse gases to the climate crisis. The governor’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan supports more gas and fewer renewables than are necessary — it is not a realistic plan.”
In October, 2019, MDE released its plan to reduce its legally mandated Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan. This came two weeks after 26 Maryland-based advocacy organizations sent a letter to the agency expressing “deep concern” that the plan was nearly ten months overdue. MDE has held multiple community forums for public comment on its draft plan throughout the state. The meeting on January 31 will be the final meeting.
“Public officials who pretend to take strong action on climate, when they are in reality doing very little, are just as culpable for the climate crisis our kids are inheriting as big polluters,” said Steven Hershkowitz, Maryland Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “If the Hogan Administration won’t fix their false advertising, our General Assembly will need to step in and act in their stead.”
“Governor Hogan’s draft climate action plan is an insufficient response to the climate emergency facing this state and our entire planet,” said David Smedick, Senior Campaign Representative with the Sierra Club. “One of the most glaring problems in the Governor’s draft plan is the continued use of coal-fired electricity in Maryland all the way through, and even after, 2030. Coal is a 19th century technology that has absolutely no place in a 2030 climate action plan. The first item on Governor Hogan’s climate action checklist needs to be a firm plan to move Maryland beyond coal that also supports a transition for the fossil fuel workforce in the state.”
The Maryland Climate Coalition has many concerns about the draft plan. Concerns include:
- It relies on outdated science in critical areas and unproven technologies. For instance, it fails to put us on track to meet mid-century targets identified by international scientists as necessary to avoid the worst of climate disruption.
- The plan provides few clear policy specifics on how to achieve goals.
- It relies, for example, on the success of Governor Hogan’s proposed legislation called “Clean and Renewable Energy Standard” (CARES), which has been developed with minimal public input, and continues to rely on the burning of fossil fuels, and expanding nuclear power, which are neither clean nor renewable.
- It has no community environmental equity analysis regarding the impact of the draft plan on communities of color, low-income communities, communities historically overburdened by pollution, and communities historically underserved by our energy and transportation systems.
- It suggests Md. will achieve 100% clean electricity while still burning fossil fuels.
Additionally, a recent policy review from the Center for Climate Strategies — which has extensive experience working on climate policy with the MDE — found that Hogan’s draft climate plan is critically flawed and falls far short of what is needed to address the climate crisis.
The Maryland Climate Coalition has a vision for climate action that looks at the entirety of the greenhouse gas problems our state is experiencing from every major source—not just energy usage. We know a solution that will achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 is necessary. We must address energy production, transportation, agriculture, and housing as well as reduction strategies such as forestation and sequestration.
The Coalition will support legislation to be sponsored by Maryland State Senator Paul Pinsky, Chair of the Education, Health, and Environment Affairs Committee, and Delegate Dana Stein, Vice-Chair of the Environment and Transportation Committee, that would reform the state’s climate plan in line with the Coalition’s principles.
Denise Robbins, Communications Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, firstname.lastname@example.org, 240-630-1889