Joint Statement on Weakening of Maryland's Building Energy Performance Standards

We are appalled and angered that lawmakers are trying to roll back a key provision of the Climate Solutions Now Act, the Building Energy Performance Standard (BEPS) through an obscure and questionable process.  

The budget agreement this year includes amendment language that would force MDE to strip Energy Use Intensity language from the BEPS regulations that was a result of a two year regulatory process. Taking out the Energy Use Intensity provision will significantly alter the BEPS regulation, which means the Maryland Department of the Environment will have to start over in its process of issuing the regulation, significantly delaying and weakening this important climate policy and will result in an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.  

The existing Building Energy Performance Standards went through a lengthy workgroup process, which was followed by a thorough regulatory review process with abundant opportunities for public and stakeholder input. Over the course of two years, this process produced fair, effective regulations. Now, however, there is an attempt to do an end run around the process and force a vote on must pass legislation.  

This action significantly undermines not only the BEPS but also every regulatory policy to come. Why should an agency put effort into a rigorous, open regulatory process if their work could be cut down by legislators without any warning or input? Achieving the state’s climate goals will require numerous new regulations, and a repeal of BEPS being attached to must pass legislation in the final days of the legislative session without any consultation of stakeholders understandably shakes public confidence in the legislative process.  

In a year when Maryland should be making huge strides forward to meet our pollution reduction mandates, lawmakers in Annapolis appear to be rolling back and delaying the Climate Solutions Now Act. We are at risk of moving backwards on climate at a time when we need to be speeding up our transition to net zero emissions. We call for the passage of a budget that does not weaken or delay Maryland landmark climate law and denounce 11th hour backroom efforts to undermine Maryland’s climate goals.