(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—The Maryland Senate and House of Delegates were unable to reach an agreement over the two different versions of the Climate Solutions Now Act that each chamber had passed earlier this session. As a result, the legislation did not pass this session.
Some of the legislation’s components were added to other bills that were approved. The five million tree planting program was shifted to another bill, HB991, and approved. This will require the state to plant 5 million trees in eight years, including 500,000 in urban areas, starting in 2023. Changes to the state’s Environmental Justice Commission passed the General Assembly as a standalone bill, HB1207. Legislators also approved SB137, a bill to transition the state’s transit bus fleet to zero-emission buses, and increased funding for the State’s transit infrastructure.
Both versions of Climate Solutions Now called for the state to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. The Senate and House versions varied in their treatment of interim goal setting, reductions from the building and transportation sectors, as well as other differences. Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and other environmental organizations had strongly advocated for the bill this year. CBF will continue to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in future legislative sessions.
In response to the Climate Solutions Now failing to pass this year, Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Maryland Executive Director Josh Kurtz issued the following statement:
“We had a chance this year to put Maryland among the world’s leaders in reducing harmful emissions that are causing climate change as well as the stronger storms and higher temperatures that result from it. Unfortunately, legislators couldn’t arrive at a consensus on how to move forward and we ran out of time.
“The good news is lawmakers were able to shift the five million tree planting program to another bill that did pass this year. So while the state will not have a new goal for reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions this year, officials will begin a decade-long effort to plant millions of trees. Those trees will sequester carbon, clean water, filter air, and beautify our communities. They will be the seeds that a broader greenhouse gas reduction effort can grow from. We will continue to support future legislation that makes meaningful emissions reductions from the state’s building, transportation, and energy generation sectors to ensure future generations of Marylanders have a healthy environment and thriving Chesapeake Bay.”