Blocks Away from Annapolis Flooding, Lawmakers Rally for Landmark Climate-Resilience Investment Legislation

State Senator Katie Fry Hester is the lead sponsor of the RENEW Act in the Maryland Senate.

Advocates display giant images of Maryland climate disasters in front of the state capitol, up the street from Annapolis flooding, as lawmakers call for passage of the Responding to Emergency Needs from Extreme Weather (RENEW) Act

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Lawmakers and advocates rallied outside the Maryland State House today, just blocks from newly flooded Annapolis streets, demanding passage of landmark legislation requiring polluters to pay for rapidly growing climate change impacts statewide. The Responding to Emergency Needs from Extreme Weather (RENEW) Act would invest $900 million dollars per year to make Maryland a cleaner, more climate-resilient state without costing Maryland taxpayers a penny.

Speakers at today’s press event were flanked by giant images of climate catastrophes that are already impacting Maryland including recent floods, salt water intrusion, and wildfires. The cost of dealing with these escalating disasters is a major challenge. For example, Annapolis is currently spending more than $50 million to address chronic flooding at the dock — exactly the kind of renovation project the RENEW Act would help fund.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore recently called for spending $1 billion a year to fight climate change. The RENEW Act would be a major step towards funding that commitment, raising $9 billion dollars over 10 years – funded exclusively through a one-time fee on the largest international fossil-fuel companies that have fueled climate change.

“The RENEW Act will build the resilience we need to survive in a climate changed world and make sure Marylanders don’t have to foot the bill,” said Senator Katie Fry Hester (District 9), the lead sponsor of the bill in the State Senate.

Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo (District 15), the lead sponsor on the House side, said, “Governor Moore’s climate plan calls for investing $1 billion a year to tackle climate change. The RENEW Act is the bill that will provide the necessary funding to make those investments.”

“For far too long, fossil fuel companies have prioritized profits over the well-being of our planet. We find ourselves contending with record-breaking heat, storms and wildfires of a magnitude never seen before.” added Delegate Adrian A. Boafo (District 23), the secondary sponsor of the bill in the Maryland House of Delegates. “The RENEW Act proposes a bold solution and ensures the biggest polluters pay their fair share to prepare for and recover from escalating natural disasters. I learned at a young age a very simple lesson — if you make a mess, you clean it up. It’s time for Big Oil companies to clean up their mess and pay their fair share.”

“There is growing momentum to pass the RENEW Act,” said Jamie DeMarco, Maryland Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) Action Fund. “This is the right bill at the right time. The state needs revenue, the RENEW Act provides it.”

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The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) Action Fund is dedicated to driving change in public policies at the local, state and national level to address the climate crisis. Through voter education, lobbying, and participation in the electoral process, we seek to advance our country’s leadership in the global movement towards clean energy solutions — focusing our efforts primarily in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. We know that a vibrant democracy is central to our success so we work to defend democratic integrity wherever we can.