ANNAPOLIS, MD – In a surprising turn of events, Governor Larry Hogan decided not to veto the “Zero-Emission Bus Transition” Act (SB 137) and the “Tree Solutions Now” Act (HB 991), instead allowing them to become law on May 28th. These bills included key provisions from the “Climate Solutions Now” Act (SB 414/HB 583), which failed to pass during Maryland’s legislative session this year. The new laws will require the state to plant five million trees over the next eight years, and will ban the purchase of buses that are not zero-emission.
CCAN Action Fund applauds Senator Craig Zucker (D-Montgomery) and Delegate Marc Korman (D-Montgomery) for being the lead sponsors of the “Zero-Emission Bus Transition” Act, and Delegate James Gilchrist (D-Montgomery) for being the lead sponsor of the “Tree Solutions Now” Act. Neither bill could have become law without the tremendous leadership of Chairman Paul Pinsky (D-Prince Georges) who worked hard to ensure both bills made it out of the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee.
CCAN Action Fund’s Federal and Maryland Policy Director Jamie DeMarco’s statement on these key pieces of legislation passing:
“This is great news. While we feel a lot of disappointment around the campaign to pass the “Climate Solutions Now” Act, because of CCAN Action Fund’s work and the work of our allies, Maryland just passed two critical pieces of climate legislation.
The state will now plant five million trees over eight years, with two thirds of the tree-planting funding going to urban, historically-redlined and economically-disadvantaged areas. This policy will explicitly help communities that have suffered from racist policies and significantly impact people’s everyday lives. By planting trees in urban areas, this bill will increase home values, reduce crime, lessen the heat island effect, create jobs, and improve quality of life.
Additionally, all new Maryland State contracts to purchase buses must be for zero emission varieties. This is a huge win for communities whose residents live near bus terminals and breathe in fumes from idle engines. However, the bill does allow for the purchase of alternative fuel buses if a zero emission bus is not able to meet the demands.
Neither of these policies reach the scale of anti-racist climate policy we need to see coming out of Annapolis. But they are victories that lawmakers in Annapolis and advocates should feel proud of. These victories would not have happened without us.”
The CCAN Action Fund is the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For almost 20 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.