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New Energy Committee Revs Up
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by Richard Reis | 2011

How we get our energy is an important factor in determining whether we can maintain an environment necessary for human and other life. Fossil fuels will, sooner or later, run out, and they pollute the environment. The Energy Committee’s goal is to work toward reducing the use of fossil fuels and toward increasing renewable energy sources, both in Maryland and globally.

New Energy Committee Powers Up

 

By Richard Reis—How we get our energy is an important factor in determining whether we can maintain an environment necessary for human and other life.  Fossil fuels will, sooner or later, run out, and they pollute the environment. The Energy Committee’s goal is to work toward reducing the use of fossil fuels and toward increasing renewable energy sources, both in Maryland and globally.

 

On October 17, the Energy Committee met for the first time to address these topics:

 

1.      Reviewing the impacts of power plants and transmission lines on Maryland’s natural resources,  http://esm.versar.com/pprp/ceir15/toc.htm

 

2.      Reviewing the EmPOWER Maryland law, the 2008 Energy Efficiency Act, and ascertaining whether energy companies are meeting the law’s targets of reducing both per capita energy consumption and per capita peak demand by 5% by 2011, and 15%  by the end of 2015 (based on a 2007 baseline); discovering whether privately-owned utilities are following best practices to achieve the law’s goals, and whether  the state is following best practices for its own facilities

3.      Suggesting ways to facilitate the retirement of old and inefficient coal-fired power plants

4.      Researching other laws pertaining to energy and the environment and how we can assist with implementing these (e.g., 2011 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations; 2011 Solar Net Metering)

 

5.      Researching hydrofracking in Maryland and proposed laws that would prevent unsafe practices or drilling in critical locations, such as in watersheds.  Hydrofracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves the high-pressure injection of a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals into rock formations deep underground to obtain natural gas.

 

6.      Studying what should be done to stop trash incineration and to improve the environmental outcome or landfill gas capture projects

 

7.      Suggesting ways to promote offshore wind energy projects

8.      Reviewing  Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) reports to see whether Maryland is complying fully

9.      Deciding whether and how to present documentaries about energy and the environment (such as, Gasland, Energy Crossroads, and An Inconvenient Truth) at the College Park office of the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club or other location

10.  Holding workshops on home weatherization, solar hot water, and solar electric home energy projects to show homeowners how they can reduce the environmental impact of their homes while saving money

 

If you would like to learn more or attend future meetings, please contact Rich Reis, chapter energy chair, rreis@verizon.net or Chris Hill, chapter energy organizer, chris.hill@sierraclub.org.   n

 

Rich Reis lives in Silver Spring.  He is an engineer by profession and a bicyclist by avocation. Rich serves on the chapter excom, is an outings leader, helps with this newsletter, and chairs this new energy committee.  His other environmental interests include sustainable transportation, minimizing the use of pesticides, and lowering the harm of tobacco use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

> 2011 Table of Contents

   
   

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