More than a half-year after Gov. Larry Hogan declined to join other governors in supporting an international pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he’s reversed course.
After a year of federal inaction on states’ damaging coal-fired power plant emissions, Maryland’s attorney general, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and others are taking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to court.
Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration has agreed to a plan to cut the Northeastern United States’ cap for carbon emissions by 30 percent through 2030.
Last week, Governor Hogan proposed “$65 million in new, innovative and targeted investments in environmental projects.” Hogan may have tried to get out in front with his “green messaging” because 2017 is set up to be a battle between an eco-friendly General Assembly and a pro-fracking, red-state-leaning governor.
In truth, two-thirds of the $65 million that Hogan announced was already on the books. Maryland had negotiated with Exelon during the merger deal that $44 million would be deposited into the Strategic Energy Investment Fund. The $44 million was earmarked for renewable energy projects. Hogan’s Clean Cars 2017 Electric Vehicle project and the Bay pollution trading program are current programs.
The good news is that Hogan proposes funding these programs. Money is money, and Hogan offered eco-ideas. But are they new and innovative ideas? Mostly, no.
In 2009, Maryland passed the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, which gave the Department of Environment until the end of 2011 to draft a plan to reduce (by twenty-five percent) greenhouse gas emissions in the state by 2020. Unfortunately, that plan will be “slightly delayed.”
“It’s a big job,” Department of Environment spokesman Jay Apperson told The Baltimore Sun. No kidding. Not only does the plan need to satisfy the emissions goals; our legislature has also demanded that it economically benefit the state and create jobs!
Of the 65 strategies laid out in the plan (which is so close to being done, trust me) apparently many are measures that are already on the books, and none will impose regulations on manufacturers.
But, hey, reducing emissions may not be as hard as we think. The 2007 economic downturn has already helped Maryland reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 8.4 percent.