CCAN Condemns Hogan’s Veto of Bill to Expand Clean Energy and Jobs in Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md.–Despite its passage with overwhelming, bipartisan, and veto-proof support, Governor Larry Hogan today vetoed legislation that would expand Maryland’s use of solar and wind power, create thousands of family-sustaining jobs, and help thousands of Maryland households reduce their electric bills through solar energy.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act (SB 921/HB 1106), sponsored by Senator Catherine Pugh and Delegate Bill Frick, would commit Maryland to getting 25 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, up from the current goal of 20 percent by 2022. This step would create incentives for roughly 1,300 Megawatts of new clean energy.

A 2016 poll conducted by the nonpartisan firm OpinionWorks showed that nearly three-quarters of Maryland voters, including a majority of Republicans, back the renewable energy expansion.

Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, released the following statement in response:

“Governor Hogan’s veto of the bipartisan Clean Energy Jobs Act is a shock to business leaders and Marylanders who value clean air and water.

“While we fully expect the General Assembly to override this veto, Governor Hogan has ushered in harm to our economy and environment in the meantime. This veto will likely cause immediate job losses in the solar industry, while temporarily delaying reductions in harmful air, water and climate pollution. It’s deeply hypocritical for the Governor to say he supports reducing greenhouse gas pollution and now to veto the top policy solution.

“In defending his veto, Governor Hogan ignored the overwhelming economic and consumer benefits of clean energy, while using misleading statistics to distort the cost impact of the bill. In fact, the Clean Energy Jobs Act does not impose any new taxes while it will help Marylanders save money through affordable solar and better health. Meanwhile, the costs of fossil fuels to our health and climate keep rising.

“In a state that’s experienced so much clean energy job growth and is so vulnerable to sea level rise, the Governor’s veto is bad for business, bad for our environment, and bad politics.”

Expanding Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 25% by 2020 will:

  • Grow Jobs: Over 1,000 new high-paying Maryland solar jobs will be created in addition to Maryland’s 4,300 existing jobs in the solar sector.
  • Protect Health: Significantly improve the state’s air quality while preventing 25 to 50 premature deaths per year and increasing regional economic growth by $200 million to $450 million annually due to better health outcomes.
  • Combat Climate Change: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 2.7 million metric tons per year. That’s the carbon equivalent of taking 563,000 passenger vehicles off the road every year.

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The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the biggest and oldest grassroots organization dedicated to fighting climate change in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. CCAN is building a powerful movement to shift our region away from climate-harming fossil fuels and to clean energy solutions: www.chesapeakeclimate.org.