The RENEW Act: Investing in Maryland
The Responding to Emergency Needs from Extreme Weather (RENEW) Act
will invest in disaster relief and preparedness for Maryland.
For decades, fossil fuel companies have been ramping up emissions in the name of ever-higher profits. And now, with unprecedented heat records, thousand-year storms, and hellish wildfires, we are the ones paying the price. Taxpayers are getting stuck with skyrocketing bills for climate disasters. We need YOUR help telling Maryland lawmakers to take groundbreaking action.
Extreme weather events are becoming more common and more costly. Saint Mary’s County spends $950,000 a year to upgrade storm water management systems to handle heavier rain storms. Annapolis is spending $54 million to update its dock which has been chronically flooded by higher tides. Howard County is currently spending $228 million to bore an 18 foot diameter tunnel underneath Ellicott City to alleviate flooding. All across Maryland a warmer, wetter world is taking funds out of this year’s budget.
Which Path Do You Want Maryland To Go Down?
Big Oil Pays, We Prepare For A Changing Climate
To help address these rapidly rising costs, the Responding to Emergency Needs from Extreme Weather (RENEW) Act would invest $9 billion in new revenue to prepare for and recover from escalating natural disasters:
Upgrading Infrastructure to prevent flooding and wind storm impacts.
Rebuilding after disasters.
Installing air conditioning in public buildings, including schools.
Building community-based resiliency centers to offer shelter and other resources.
Hold Big Oil Accountable
Should Marylanders give up schools, libraries, safe streets, and reliable public infrastructure? Should taxpayers carry this global warming burden that they never wanted to begin with?
We don’t think so.
The RENEW Act
The RENEW Act is based on a policy that was first introduced in the U.S. Congress by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and has been introduced in four states. The premise is simple, Maryland taxpayers should not be the ones paying for the costs of extreme weather. That’s why the investments from the RENEW Act would be funded entirely by making the largest international fossil fuel companies pay a one-time fee for their historical emissions.
The costs of increasingly extreme weather are here today. The RENEW Act offers a solution that will help alleviate those damages while protecting Maryland consumers.
The Responding to Emergency Needs from Extreme Weather (RENEW) Act would require fossil fuel companies to provide dedicated funding to prepare for and recover from intensifying climate disasters.
As storms and extreme weather become more severe, the damage to people and property is growing. Ellicott City alone had two “1,000 year storms” in the last two years, and Howard County is currently planning to spend $228 million to help protect the city’s residents from future flooding!
Protect Consumers, Not Polluters
Right now Maryland taxpayers are footing the bills for infrastructure investments made necessary by the climate crisis. The RENEW Act takes this burden off of taxpayers and puts it squarely on the shoulders of the largest international fossil fuel companies. These companies knew and lied about the climate crisis for nearly half a century. Their coordinated campaigns to block policies that would have reduced climate pollution caused the crisis we are in today, and they should be the ones to pay, not Marylanders.
The RENEW Act would require any company that has emitted more than a billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions between 2000 and 2018 and sells its product in Maryland to collectively pay a one-time fee of $9 billion. This would apply to roughly 40 companies. In 2022, those companies collectively made over $500 billion in profits.
This is not a carbon tax where all producers need to pay a certain amount for every gallon of oil they sell in Maryland. Rather, it is a one time payment based on historical contributions to the climate crisis. Those companies who do pay will not be able to pass the cost along to consumers because they will still have to compete with smaller producers who don’t have to pay into the fund.
Because these companies sell their products in Maryland, Maryland has the legal authority to require them to pay. The Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. constitution ensures that legal judgements passed down in Maryland enforcing this legislation will be enforced in other states, and Attorney General Brown has written a letter affirming this principle.
The RENEW Act allows Maryland to fund billions of dollars into critical infrastructure projects needed to adapt to a warming world, and ensures Maryland taxpayers don’t pay for any of it.
Big Oil Knew About Climate Change
Take 30 seconds to demand that legislators stand with us to ensure that fossil fuel companies pay into a fund that will address the worst effects of climate change in Maryland.
Big Oil Companies’ own internal documents show that they were aware of the facts of climate change as early as the 1960s, but rather than take action, they’ve hidden the science and fought environmentalists every step of the way, catastrophically slowing any potential progress in addressing greenhouse gas emissions. Now we are feeling the effects of this reckless disregard for life on Earth and still they rake in the money. We say, “Enough!”
We know this doesn’t take the place of reducing our emissions and we won’t stop fighting for a clean energy future. But it will take every tool in the box to address this problem and, as always, it’s your support that makes it all happen.
ACT NOW! Money from polluters would be used to fix damage from natural disasters as well as funding infrastructure improvements to lessen impacts in the first place.