Sierra Club slams Maryland governor for veto of higher renewable energy target

Despite passing with veto-override numbers in the Maryland Senate and the House of Delegates in April, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed the Clean Energy Jobs Act on May 27, said the Sierra Club in a statement issued that day denouncing Hogan’s action.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Catherine Pugh and Delegate Bill Frick, would have increased Maryland’s commitment to renewable energy by moving the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirement from 20% by 2022 to 25% by 2020.

The veto from Hogan comes after polling in the state showed that over 70% of Marylanders supported growing the state’s renewable energy standard, the club said. Only a few weeks prior, Hogan provided his signature to Maryland’s updated Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, which set a goal for Maryland to achieve 40% reductions in climate-disrupting pollution by 2030. A strengthened RPS is one of the needed pillars in Maryland’s clean energy and climate plans to meet any greenhouse gas reduction targets, the club pointed out.

Josh Tulkin, Director of the Maryland Sierra Club, said: “This action by Governor Hogan is deeply flawed. The Clean Energy Jobs Act was a win-win-win for Maryland because it had the support of businesses and environmentalists, grew the clean energy workforce in our state and deployed over a gigawatt of new renewable energy. With veto-proof support from both the House and Senate on this bill, it’s deeply disturbing that Governor Hogan has vetoed a bill that would create jobs and ensure business growth throughout the state. The Governor has stifled clean energy job growth in Maryland through this veto and walked back on his own promise in the new Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act to fight climate change while growing jobs. Given the overwhelming support for this bill in the General Assembly and the general public we are confident in a veto-override next year.”

In a May 27 veto letter to legislators, Hogan said he couldn’t sign the bill because it involved a tax increase levied on Maryland ratepayers to support the higher RPS requirement. He said the higher RPS goal is “laudable,” but Maryland ratepayers are already paying higher prices due to renewable energy.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.