Protecting our environment so that our children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy the same standards of living we enjoy is a top priority of mine. I was thrilled to have been appointed Vice Chair of the Environment and Transportation Committee last year, where I am able to influence the outcome of important environmental legislation.
The Reauthorization of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act (HB 610), on which I am the first co-sponsor, was heard by the Economic Matters and Environment and Transportation Committees on Friday February 26. When it is passed, it will be one of the nation’s strongest state environmental bills curbing carbon pollution. It sets a new target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by the year 2030. As a state with over 3,000 miles of shoreline and a precarious coastal ecosystem, Maryland is especially susceptible to even the smallest environmental changes. This bill should significantly contribute to protecting Maryland’s environment, economy, public health, and Marylanders’ overall well-being. In addition to battling climate change, this bill is also expected to contribute to creation of as many as 30,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector.
I proposed the “Healthy Air For All” Act (HB 1042), which would have required the Maryland Department of the Environment to reinstate regulations to reduce nitrogen oxide, a pollutant that causes ozone—which makes breathing difficult–on hot summer days. Governor Larry Hogan withdrew these regulations on his first day in office. Although the bill failed to pass the legislature, I will continue to advocate for, and propose, laws that will enhance the quality of the air we breathe.
In 2015, I was appointed to the Maryland Climate Change Commission, which is researching the many issues Maryland will face in the coming years as the oceans rise and our weather worsens. In 2015, the General Assembly passed legislation that I proposed (HB 514) to create a permanent commission, made up of advocates, businesses, and educational institutions committed to addressing this issue. Information on the Climate Change Commission can be found on the Maryland Department of the Environment’s website by clicking here.