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Maryland Legislators Push for Clean Energy Jobs Bill

The Clean Jobs Act has picked up leadership support in the Maryland General Assembly for 2016. (Maryland Climate Coalition)
The Clean Jobs Act has picked up leadership support in the Maryland General Assembly for 2016. (Maryland Climate Coalition)
January 13, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - As the General Assembly opened for the new year today, lawmakers and environmental groups called for passage of a bill they say would help the environment and create jobs.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act would increase the Clean Energy Standard to 25 percent of the state's needs over the next five years. Tiffany Hartung, senior coordinator at the Maryland Climate Coalition, said it also would invest $40 million in jobs and clean-energy business development.

"That will help train and prepare Marylanders for careers in clean energy and will also establish a clean-energy business-development fund," she said. "That fund will help minority- and women-owned businesses enter and grow the clean-energy economy."

Versions of the Clean Energy Jobs Act have been introduced in the past two legislative sessions, but Hartung said it has picked up significant support this year from key leadership in the General Assembly.

Hartung said the bill also would help the state meet requirements set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency for reducing carbon emissions from power plants.

"Increasing Maryland's Clean Energy Standard will help the state comply with the Clean Power Plan by moving a greater portion of the amount of electricity that Maryland consumes to clean energy," she said.

According to Hartung, the solar power industry in Maryland currently includes more than 170 companies employing about 3,000 people.

"So, increasing the Clean Energy Standard will continue to grow the amount of clean-energy jobs that Maryland has," she said, "and that's a good thing for the state."

She said the increased investment would support more than 1,000 jobs in the state's solar industry in each year of construction, and an additional 4,600 wind-power installation jobs in the region.

More information is online at marylandclimatecoalition.org.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - MD