Environment Maryland won our top two legislative priorities – on transportation and solar power.
One of our other priorities was a bill to create a comprehensive energy plan for the state. This bill did not pass, but the momentum we generated has created an opening to work with Gov. O’Malley to create this requirement for state agencies without legislation.
Much of the action in Annapolis this year concerned the budget. We were happy to avoid nearly all cuts to Program Open Space and other land preservation programs, and that $20 million was allocated to the Chesapeake Bay 2010 Trust Fund. We were upset that the General Assembly diverted money from energy efficiency programs and that they used the budget to bully the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Maryland.
Beyond that, this was mostly a year of building for the future. In an election year, legislators were quick to cave in to special interests and block good legislation.
Smart growth transportation spending (SB 760/HB 1155 – Pugh, Harrington/Lafferty)
Makes sure future transportation projects are consistent with state smart growth goals and greenhouse gas emission limits. Passed.
Solar power (SB 277/HB 471 – O’Malley)
Accelerates solar energy production in Maryland. Passed. However, the bill was significantly weakened in the House.
Reimbursements for solar power generation (SB 355 and HB 801 – Pinsky/McHale)
Improves our net metering law, requiring utilities to pay for excess power generated by solar power or other on-site generators. Passed.
Comprehensive energy plan (HB 522 and SB 910 – Manno, Hecht/Lenett)
Would create a comprehensive energy plan for the state. Not brought up for a vote in committee. However, Gov. O’Malley is now considering action based on this legislation.
Clean energy loans (SB 720/HB 1014 – Middleton/Hecht)
Would help property owners afford clean energy projects. Not brought up for a vote in committee.
Energy saving televisions (SB 455/HB 349 – Pinsky/Carr)
Would create an energy efficiency standard for televisions. Rejected by the House Economic Matters Committee.
Long-term clean energy in Maryland (SB 558/HB 1224 – Pinsky/Hucker)
Would establish long-term contracts for clean energy. Rejected by Senate Finance Committee.
Green buildings for state-funded construction (SB 215/HB 1040 – Frosh/Bronrott)
Would establish green building standards for state-funded buildings. Not brought up for a vote in committee.
Green buildings for community colleges (SB 234/HB 1044 – Robey/Bronrott)
Establishes green building standards for community colleges. Passed.
Energy use disclosure (SB 952/HB 1291 – Conway/McIntosh)
Would require disclosure of building energy use at time of sale. Rejected by House Environmental Matters Committee.
Energy accounting in public buildings (SB 713/HB 985 – Lenett/Hecht)
Would require energy use benchmarking of public buildings. Rejected by Senate Finance Committee.
Biofuels (SB 569/HB 827 – Middleton/Hubbard)
Would encourage market expansion of biofuels. Voted down by Economic Matters Committee.
Bay fund – The Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund will receive $22.5 million.
POS – Program Open Space funding was not diverted, although $4 million was taken from MALPF.
Clean energy – Energy efficiency funding from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative will continue to be diverted in fiscal year 2012.
Law clinic – Lawmakers used the budget process to intimidate the University of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic in retaliation for a lawsuit against Perdue.
Stormwater regulations – Regulations passed to roll back Maryland’s Stormwater Management Act of 2007.
Stormwater management funding bill (SB 686/HB 999 – Raskin/Hucker)
Would create a dedicated funding source via small fees on utility bills to offset a backlog of urban stormwater management projects. Not brought up for a vote in committee.
Oyster poaching (SB 342/HB 1191 – Frosh/McIntosh)
Would crack down on illegal harvesting of oysters. Killed by a poison pill amendment in the Senate that would prevent oyster sanctuary expansion.
Human waste discharges from boats (SB 513/HB 1257 – Gansler)
Would prohibit direct discharge of waste from boats. Passed by the Senate, but held by the House Environmental Matters Committee.
Disposal of toxic coal ash (SB 653/HB 1467 – Lenett/Stein)
Would prevent toxic pollution from coal ash dump sites. Passed by the House, but held by the Senate Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee.
Arsenic in chicken feed (SB 859/HB 953 – Pinsky/Hucker)
Would ban arsenic-laden additives from chicken feed. Not brought up for a vote in committee.
Pesticide and fertilizer reporting (SB 359/HB 930 – Lenett/Frush)
Would require reporting of pesticide and fertilizer usage. Rejected by the Senate Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee.
Plastic bag use (SB 462/HB 351 – Raskin/Carr)
Would reduce plastic bag litter by creating a fee on single-use bags. Rejected by Senate Finance Committee.
Apartment recycling (SB 156 – Brochin)
Would require recycling at apartment buildings. Rejected by the Senate Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee.
Recycling in bars (HB 944 – Niemann and Carter)
Would require recycling at bars and restaurants. Not brought up for a vote in committee.