January 14, 2016

Baltimore Sun: Bill calls for $40 million investment in clean energy job training

By Christina Jedra

Lawmakers and environmental advocates gathered in Annapolis to push for the Clean Energy Job Act on the first day of the General Assembly session.

“We have to take this precious earth and leave it as well or better than we found it,” said State Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton, D-Charles County.

The bill would ensure Maryland gets 25 percent of its electricity by 2020 from “clean” sources, such as wind and solar power, supporters said. The measure would also initiate a $40 million investment in “the largest clean energy jobs training program in the state’s history” and support minority- and women-owned clean energy businesses, advocates said Wednesday.

The move away from fossil fuel combustion will benefit the health of people and the environment, advocates said.

“The bill is a top priority for Maryland’s environmental community,” said Karla Raettig, director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “It will reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, which are causing rising sea levels, record storms and increasing flooding in Maryland.”

Lawmakers from Montgomery and Prince George’s County were also present.

This is the third time the bill has been introduced, said Tiffany Hartung of the Maryland Climate Coalition. It was previously called the Maryland Clean Energy Advancement Act.

Senator Catherine Pugh, D-Baltimore City, encouraged advocates to lobby legislators that do not already support the bill.

“This is important,” she said. “This is our future.”

Originally published on the Baltimore Sun, available here.