MarylandGov. Larry Hogan signed into law the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act,which requires the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 2006levels by 2030.
TheRepublican governor signed H.B. 610/S.B.323 on April 4 after it passedthe House of Delegates in a 101-37 vote on March 17 and the Senate 38-8 inFebruary. The emissions cuts, which are supported by environmentalists and theMaryland Departments of the Environment, Agriculture, and Natural Resources,has been praised by supporters for being one of the strongest commitments tomitigating climate change by a state, with only California and New York'sexecutive-ordered cuts being higher.
Hogansaid in a news releasethe Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Act, along with another signed law aimedat restoring $60 million of funding to parks and a conservation program, willhave a profound impact on preserving the environment while creating jobs andprotecting businesses.
"It's really a monumental step for Maryland,"David Smedick, a spokesman for the Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club, said inan interview. "It's a great mid-term climate goal that is in line withwhat scientists all around the world are saying we need to hit in terms ofemissions reductions and so this bill puts us on the path for the next 15 yearsto really reduce our climate pollution in the state of Maryland."
"The devil will be in the details," Smedickacknowledged. "We've got a lot to work out still in terms of how we aregoing to meet that goal but some of that is on our doorstep."
Smedick said it is "absolutely critical" forMaryland to align its carbon cap under the multistate Regional Greenhouse GasInitiative, which is under review, with the new emissions cuts. He alsosuggested strengthening the state's renewable portfolio standard, meetingenergy efficiency goals, and looking at how the state can cut emissions in thetransportation sector by rolling out more electric vehicles as ways to meet itsnew mandate by 2030.
Accordingto an Oct. 1, 2015, report from the Maryland Department of the Environment, thestate's existing climate programs were on track to help the state meet its 25% reductiontarget by 2020, while generating between $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion in neteconomic benefits and the creation of 26,000 to 33,000 new jobs.