BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — Facing a likely veto override on a bill to boost Maryland’s renewable energy use, Gov. Larry Hogan is outlining some environmental proposals of his own.
In his first press conference of the new year, Hogan announced a series of environmental initiatives worth $65 million.
Hogan started by touting that under his watch, the Chesapeake Bay received its highest score for water quality in nearly 25 years a few months ago.
He went on to announce his initiatives, including an additional $3 million investment in the EARN (Employment Advancment Right Now) Maryland program, to provide training to fill 1,500 jobs in industries including solar, wind and hydroelectric.
The administration will also invest $41 million in renewable energy projects.
Hogan announced the Clean Cars Act, “which will increase our investment in both the electrical vehicle and in the charging station tax credit programs,” he said.
“Our transportation system actually produces 30 percent of the country’s carbon emissions, which is a huge number,” said Andrea Anderson of Environment Maryland. “He has a mixed record when it comes to environmental initiatives.”
And, in collaboration with the University of Maryland Energy Research Center and the Maryland Clean Energy Center, the administration will invest another $7.5 million to create the Green Energy Institute, which will serve to “commercialize and to develop and attract private investment for clean energy innovations,” Hogan said.
Anderson says last year the governor vetoed the Clean Energy Jobs Act that would have required more renewable energy jobs.
“We’re really pleased that he wants to be an environmental leader but there’s so much more he can do as well,” said Anderson.
Finally, the Clean Water Commerce Act will provide $10 million of Chesapeake Bay Restoration funds for nutrient reduction credits.
Hogan said he looks forward to working with the legislature “in a bipartisan manner” to enact the “common sense” initiatives.
“We owe it to the next generation of Marylanders to continue to find innovative and cost-effective ways to protect Maryland’s environment and to stimulate our continued economic growth and improvement in Maryland,” he said.
Last year, Hogan vetoed a bill passed by the Democrat-controlled legislature to increase the amount of energy Maryland gets from renewable sources like solar power to 25 percent by 2020, up from 20 percent by 2022.
The Republican governor says the bill amounts to “a sunshine tax” by adding costs to electric bills.
The general assembly could override the governor’s veto on the clean energy jobs act this coming session, which begins next week.
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