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Chapter Legislative Committee Prepares for the 2010 General Assembly Session
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by Yi-Hsuan Lee | 2009

The Maryland Chapter Legislative Committee has been finalizing our top legislative priorities for the 2010 Maryland General Assembly, and would like to welcome any new volunteers to participate in this exciting time! The assembly session lasts for 90 days, from mid-January to mid-April, during which time the legislative committee is involved in fast-paced lobbying activities in Annapolis in order to influence the passage of environmentally-friendly legislation

 

The Maryland Chapter Legislative Committee has been finalizing our top legislative priorities for the 2010 Maryland General Assembly, and would like to welcome any new volunteers to participate in this exciting time! The assembly session lasts for 90 days, from mid-January to mid-April, during which time the legislative committee is involved in fast-paced lobbying activities in Annapolis in order to influence the passage of environmentally-friendly legislation.

The committee has decided to focus their efforts on waste-reduction legislation and on the public disclosure of energy use in commercial and public buildings. Not only is Maryland’s recycling rate at a low 34%, but tons of trash are sent to landfills, which increases carbon emissions. The governor’s Commission on Climate Change found that increasing recycling is one of the most cost-effective measures to reduce Maryland’s greenhouse gas emissions, and as such, the legislative committee’s current proposal includes making single-stream curbside recycling programs available to everyone in the state, and  implementing a statewide beverage container deposit system. Single-stream curbside recycling makes recycling easier, while a beverage container deposit system creates incentives for recycling. According to studies conducted in states which collect a deposit on beverage containers, beverage container litter was reduced 69 to 84%, with total reductions in litter ranging from 30 to 65%. Taken together, these two provisions will provide a more comprehensive recycling program for the state.

Energy use is another issue the legislative committee is working on this year. Buildings, both commercial and residential, account for 39% of energy use in the United States, the largest contributor to global warming. There is ample opportunity to improve energy efficiency in buildings, as most buildings are wasting 30% of their energy. The committee’s proposed solution is to require the disclosure of energy use in commercial and public buildings. This involves negligible costs while identifying buildings that need to become more energy efficient, and creating transparency and incentives.

Committee members have begun to contact and hold meetings with Maryland state delegates who may be interested in supporting these issues during the upcoming session. In order for the committee’s efforts to be successful, your help is essential! If you are enthusiastic about environmental issues and have some time to spare, please join and help your fellow Sierra Club members make 2010 a success! If you would like to join the Legislative Committee, or if you would like more information, please contact Alana Wase at (301) 277-7111 or alana.wase@mdsierra.org. We hope to speak with you soon!   

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