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Legislation Could Propel Maryland into Leadership on Global Warming Solutions
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by Alana Wase | 2008

Citizens all across the state are weighing in to help pass the Global Warming Solutions Act, SB309/HB717. The legislation commits the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 (baseline 2006), and 90% by 2050, numbers scientifically set to avoid the most severe impacts of global warming.

On January 17th more than 400 activists came together in cold, snowy Annapolis to rally for state action against global warming. It was a monumental day; a guard who has been working in the capitol for many years told volunteers that it was the largest rally he had seen in a long time.

While the rally was a huge success, the battle has just begun. Citizens all across the state are weighing in to help pass the Global Warming Solutions Act, SB309/HB717. The legislation commits the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 (baseline 2006), and 90% by 2050, numbers scientifically set to avoid the most severe impacts of global warming. California, Hawaii, and New Jersey have already passed similar legislation, and more than a dozen other states have global warming legislation pending. Maryland’s, however, is one of the most aggressive bills in the nation, and its passage is our chapter’s highest legislative priority.

While many of the critics of bill suggest that this will damage Maryland’s economy, I like to remind them how damaging hurricanes Katrina and Isabel were. Isabel alone caused more than $5.5 billion in damage. Not to mention how such legislation would support the creation of thousands of green jobs.

Another common argument against the bill is that regulating greenhouse gases is not the state’s responsibility, but rather that of the federal government. Most of us would probably agree, but we’d also agree with the Governor that “when the federal government fails to lead, states have no choice but to step up and act.” This is certainly one of those occasions. Equally important, in passing such legislation we’re able to send a strong message to the federal government about how crucial this issue really is.

But, as you might imagine, this bill threatens several rich private interests who are working to stop this legislation. While they’ve got the economic power, we’ve got the people power—what the Sierra Club is best known for! It’s time now to roll up our sleeves and get to work to help pass this bill. As the governor has said, “The time to act against global warming has passed; the time to catch up is now.”

Please contact your legislators and urge them to support SB309/HB717, the Global Warming Solutions Act. To find your legislators go to: http://mdelect.net Let’s make Maryland a leader together! Remember, an email, phone call, or a handwritten letter really does make a difference. For more information about the legislation or how to help, check out our website,  http://maryland.sierraclub.org., or call the Sierra Club office at 301-277-7111. 

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