Maryland must pass strong, comprehensive climate legislation that includes bold goals and commitments to concrete actions with a focus on underserved and impacted communities. We are heartened by the commitment of leaders in both the House and Senate to advance ambitious legislation.
Maryland LCV is asking legislators to include the following provisions in the final legislation:
- Update the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act goals for statewide emissions to reduce 60% of emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2045
- Focus on transportation, which is the leading contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in Maryland. Specifically, ensure the fleet of school buses across the state are zero emission and start with a pilot project that prioritizes low-to-moderate income school districts, require that by a certain date manufacturers sell zero-emission trucks, and ensure Maryland Transit Authority prioritizes worker protections.
- Create an emissions standard for large buildings that encourages electrification of heating and water systems and a net-zero emissions requirement by 2040 with interim targets by 2030, require construction of new K-12 schools to consume no more energy than they produce and require existing K-12 schools to improve energy performance with the aim of achieving net zero.
Every day, more than 650,000 children in Maryland ride to school on one of the State’s approximately 7,200 diesel school buses. Every year, school buses in Maryland travel more that 128 million miles. Diesel school buses emit dangerous pollutants that kids breathe into their developing lungs, causing respiratory illnesses, aggravating asthma and exposing youth to cancer-causing pollutants. School boards and elected officials must put the health of Maryland’s youth and communities first by transitioning the state’s school bus fleet to clean, zero-emission electric school buses.
The School Bus Electrification Pilot Program provides the opportunity to expand the benefits of electric school buses to every school system in Maryland within the territory of an investor-owned utility. The Pilot Program, implemented by the Public Service Commission, will allow school systems to purchase electric school buses at no additional cost to the school system. Each investor-owned utility that participates in the program will cover the incremental costs of purchasing and deploying electric school buses incurred by a school system. The Pilot Program will also provide for no fewer than 25 electric school buses per investor-owned utility for a maximum of $50 million in rebates.
Maryland needs to advance community solar projects through the Low-to-Moderate Income Community Solar Tax Credit. The proposed bill exempts projects in Low to Moderate Income (LMI) communities from county or municipal personal property tax for community solar projects installed on rooftops, parking lots, roadways, or brownfields. The tax credit was a provision in the failed 2021 Climate Solutions Now Act.
The community solar pilot program has the potential to reduce the energy burden of thousands of LMI income Maryland households while generating tens of megawatts of solar power on the rooftops and parking canopies of our cities and towns. Currently, it is not financially viable to develop rooftop and parking canopy community solar projects. We need to both remove financial disincentives and provide financial incentives if we are to encourage the development of these types of projects that provide discounted clean energy to LMI households, create local jobs, and mitigate carbon emissions.