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MD’s New Clean-Energy Task Force Cuts Out Green Groups

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A new task force in Maryland aims to help install new solar-panel projects at the state’s community colleges and universities. (Adobe stock)
A new task force in Maryland aims to help install new solar-panel projects at the state’s community colleges and universities. (Adobe stock)
 By Diane Bernard, Public News Service - MD - Producer, Contact
August 19, 2019

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order last week that establishes a task force to recommend where to put solar- and wind-energy projects in the state.

The new group includes key stakeholders from state agencies along with representatives from Maryland's agricultural community and solar- and wind-energy industries. But it doesn't include any environmental groups, which has raised alarms for the state's green community, according to Mike Tidwell, executive director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

"There are concerns that the governor may have a different renewable-energy definition and agenda than a majority of clean-energy advocates in the state,” Tidwell said.

When asked why the green groups were left off the panel, a spokeswoman for Hogan said in a statement, "There will certainly be opportunities for robust public input from interested organizations and members of the public."

The new Task Force on Renewable Energy Development and Siting will submit its initial findings in December. But Tidwell said he’s worried about the governor's influence on the panel. He said Hogan has supported importing fracked gas into the state through pipelines, which some say will harm the environment.

Tidwell said the governor also has mentioned expanding Maryland's use of nuclear power.

"The governor may be trying to limit the total amount of wind and solar deployed in the state, which would be unfortunate and would be contrary to the actual law that passed in April of this year, the Clean Energy Jobs Act,” he said.

The new law was passed without Hogan's signature. The measure requires that half of Maryland's energy will come from renewable sources by 2030. It also says utilities in the state must subsidize solar and wind farms.

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