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Advocates Pushing for a Veto Override of the Clean Energy Jobs Act in 2017

Nearly 12% of Maryland's children suffer from asthma. (Moms Clean Air Force)
Nearly 12% of Maryland's children suffer from asthma. (Moms Clean Air Force)
August 8, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Advocates are still pushing for an override of Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act. In late May, Hogan vetoed the legislation, calling it a tax increase on every single electricity ratepayer in Maryland.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act would have required state utilities to increase the amount of renewable energy they use to 20 percent by 2022. Advocates said it would have created thousands of new jobs. Allison Rich, children's environmental health specialist at the Maryland Environmental Health Network, said it is about jobs, but it's also about breathing clean air.

"Right now it's all this unhealthy air," Rich said. "We really feel like Governor Hogan is holding Maryland back on public health, economic growth and job development. And Maryland can't wait for cleaner air."

According to Rich, Maryland ranks 5th in the nation for adult asthma, and nearly 12% of the state's children suffer from it. Her group and others are lobbying for a veto override.

The governor's veto was a setback at a time when they'd been making strides toward cleaner air and water in Maryland, Rich said.

"Originally the RPS would have placed Maryland to have the 6th-most accelerated target growth for expanding renewable energy," she said. "And unfortunately, now we have to take a step back."

The governor's veto did not necessarily mean the end of the bill. Both chambers of the state legislature passed it with a veto-proof majority, and lawmakers are expected to take an override vote in the 2017 session. A survey by the Maryland Climate Coalition found that nearly three-quarters of Maryland voters supported expanding renewable energy in the state, even if it meant adding an extra 50 cents per month to their electric bill.

For more information on renewable energy, visit energy.gov.


Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD