Broad Range of Stakeholders Call on Governor to Improve Successful Clean Energy and Anti-Pollution Program

Environment Maryland

Nineteen Maryland organizations, businesses, and officials joined with more than 300 others in calling on Governor Martin O’Malley and other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic governors to build on progress reducing pollution and promoting clean energy by improving the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).  The coalition – which includes environmental and public health organizations, consumer advocates, and clean energy and mainstream businesses – highlighted RGGI’s success to date and called for strengthening of the program’s pollution reduction targets and increasing investment in clean energy and energy efficiency measures that benefit the climate, the economy, public health, and energy consumers.  

[For more information about the effectiveness of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the impact that global warming is having on extreme weather patterns, see our recent reports “A Record of Leadership: How Northeastern States are Cutting Global Warming Pollution and Building a Clean Economy” and “When It Rains, It Pours: Global Warming and the Increase in Extreme Precipitation from 1948 to 2011.”]

“More than any time in recent history, the public is focused on the dangerous impacts of a warming planet,” said Connor Acle, Field Organizer with Environment Maryland. “Maryland has been a leader in tackling carbon pollution, and RGGI has been a key element of Maryland’s effort to reduce pollution from fossil fuels and shift to clean energy.  It is critical that we strengthen RGGI in order to build on its past success and actually achieve our global warming pollution reduction goals.”

In 2009, Governor O’Malley signed into law the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions Act, which requires that the state cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 25 percent below 2006 levels by 2020.

Officials from the ten states involved in the program are currently evaluating options for improving RGGI as part of a review process established when the program was launched. The coalition of signatories on this letter hopes that officials will use this process to strengthen the initiative now.

“At a time when our region is suffering from increasingly frequent extreme weather events and the lingering economic slowdown, RGGI has emerged as a policy prescription for both,” said Mike Tidwell, Director of Chesapeake Climate Action Network.  “Making polluters pay for much needed energy efficiency programs lowers electricity consumption, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saves money for ratepayers, and creates good jobs.”

Indeed, independent analysis has shown that RGGI’s impact on the economies of participating states has been positive, boosting net economic output by $1.6 billion and creating over 16,000 “jobs years.” [1]

“Clean energy, including energy efficiency and renewable energy, has been a bright spot for the economy in this region, helping our company grow from 1 to 8 employees,” said Bob Logston, President of Home Energy Loss Professionals, a local company that focuses on making homes more energy efficient.  “We are seeing the economic benefits of shifting our region to a lower carbon economy.   The experience to date should give us the confidence that we can do much more, and strengthening RGGI is a key part of that.”   

Strengthening RGGI will mean that more energy efficiency companies like Home Energy Loss Professionals can save taxpayers additional money on their energy bill.

 “This annually recurring, tax-free discretionary income is spent by homeowners to further boost the local economy, spurring additional economic growth without a taxpayer burden,” says Kerry Hollenbeck, President of Advantage Diagnostics, an Elkton based company that specializes preventing home energy loss. “All taxpayers and businesses within the RGGI region are experiencing these direct economic benefits. Our experience to date has been very positive allowing Advantage Diagnostics to grow. Further strengthening RGGI can only be a positive for the region.”

Initial projections have shown that updating the program’s targets to deliver a 15% reduction in carbon dioxide pollution by 2020 would help address the health impacts of climate change, and would avoid thousands of tons of toxic emissions linked to smog, ground-level ozone, and related health impacts.  The 20% reduction called for in the letter would deliver even greater benefits.

“Burning fossil fuels is bad for our health,” said Dr. Catherine Thomasson, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility.  “Policies like RGGI that reduce air pollution from burning coal and oil are a prescription for a healthy future for our kids.”   

Charging power companies for their pollution not only provides resources to reinvest in energy efficiency, clean energy and other public benefit programs, but also replaces fossil fuels imports with local spending that benefits consumers and the economy.

Shannon Baker-Branstetter, Energy and Environment Policy Counsel for Consumers Union, an independent group that researches products and policies to protect consumers, stated: “In Maryland, RGGI provides essential support for programs that save consumers money, reduce energy consumption, and weatherize homes to be more efficient and comfortable.”

[1] Analysis Group, 2011, The Economic Impacts of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative on Ten Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States, available at: http://www.analysisgroup

 

 

 

Dear Governor O’Malley, 

 

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a key part of Maryland and the Northeast Region’s strategy to reduce pollution from fossil fuels, improve energy efficiency and shift to clean energy.    By limiting carbon pollution from power plants, requiring emitters to buy permits to pollute and investing the revenues in energy efficiency and renewable energy, RGGI has helped Maryland meet our environmental and energy challenges while curbing dependence on fossil fuels and saving consumers money.  RGGI-funded investments are also benefiting our state economically; boosting economic growth by $127 million and creating 1,370 jobs during the first two and a half years of operation.  The undersigned organizations and individuals urge state officials to keep Maryland on a path to a cleaner, more prosperous energy future by improving RGGI in the following ways:    

1)    Adjust the cap to ensure that it reduces emissions 20% below current levels by 2020 and is on track to reduce emissions by, at least 80% by 2050

2)    Ensure that the revenues from the RGGI program are invested in energy efficiency and renewable energy options that will save energy, lower costs create local jobs and reduce pollution   

3)    Prevent loopholes that will undermine the effectiveness of the program in achieving its emission reduction targets   

 

Sincerely, 

 

National and Regional Organizations 

Advanced Energy Economy 

Appalachian Mountain Club 

Clean Air Cool Planet 

Clean Water Action 

Conservation Law Foundation 

Conservation Services Group 

Consumers Union 

Delaware Riverkeeper 

ENE (Environment Northeast) 

Environment America 

Environmental Defense Fund 

Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) 

Health Care Without Harm 

Interfaith Power and Light 

National Consumer Law Center, on behalf of its low income clients 

National Wildlife Federation 

Natural Resources Defense Council 

New England Clean Energy Council 

Northeast Energy Efficiency Council             

Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships 

Physicians for Social Responsibility 

The Solar Alliance

Union of Concerned Scientists 

 

 

STATE SIGNATORIES

 

Maryland

Advantage Diagnostics, LLC

Amicus Green Building Center, LLC 

Aqua Well Drilling, LLC

brennan + company architects

Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Chesapeake Climate Action Network 

Clean Water Action (Maryland chapter)

Ecobeco LLC

Efficiency First, Maryland  Chapter

Friends of Harford

Green Homes Blue Sky LLC 

Home Energy Loss Professionals (Baltimore, MD)

Maryland League of Conservation Voters

Montgomery Countryside Alliance

Montgomery County Councilman George Leventhal

Physicians for Social Responsibility, Chesapeake Chapter 

Queen Anne’s Conservation Association

Sierra Club

Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry for Maryland

 

Connecticut 

350 Connecticut 

Audubon Connecticut 

Clean Water Action Connecticut 

Connecticut Forest and Park Association 

Connecticut Fund for the Environment 

Earth Markets, LLC 

Energy Federation, Inc. 

Energy Solutions, LLC 

Enviro Energy Connections 

Environment Connecticut 

Environmental Headlines 

Fuss & O’Neill, Inc. 

Interreligious Eco-Justice Network 

Live Green Connecticut 

New England Conservation Services 

New England Smart Energy Group, LLC 

New Haven Environmental Justice Network 

New Haven/Leon Sister City Project 

Sierra Club – Connecticut Chapter 

The League of Women Voters of Connecticut 

The Watershed Partnership, Inc. 

 

Delaware 

American Institute of Architects, Delaware Chapter 

Brandywine Sprouts, a Chapter of Roots & Shoots International 

Citizens for Clean Power 

Coalition for Climate Change Study and Action 

Delaware Audubon Society 

Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club 

Delaware Greenways 

Delaware Interfaith Power and Light 

Delaware League of Women Voters 

Delaware Nature Society 

Delaware NESEA, the Delaware Chapter of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association 

Delaware Pacem in Terris 

Delaware Riverkeeper Network 

Newark Branch NAACP 

Sustainable Delaware 

Sustainable Economic Development Strategies LLC 

University of Delaware Students for the Environment 

 

Maine

American Nurses Association – Maine 

Coastal Enterprises, Inc. 

Engage Maine 

Environment Maine 

Green Earth Energy 

Hammersaw Solar 

Heliotropic Technologies 

Maine Audubon 

Maine Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics 

Maine Conservation Voters 

Maine Council of Churches 

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association 

Maine Public Health Association 

Maine Solar Energy Association 

MaineStream Energy Alternatives dba/Saco Solar Store 

Mountain Riders Alliance 

Mt. Abram (Ski Mountain) 

Natural Resources Council of Maine 

Physicians for Social Responsibility, Maine Chapter 

Product Policy Institute 

ReVision Energy 

Sierra Club Maine 

Unity College 

 

Massachusetts 

Action for Boston Community Development, Inc. 

Amy Perlmutter, Perlmutter Associates 

Andrew Magee, Senior Consultant, Epsilon Associates 

Anne Johnson, Green Harmony 

Appleton Corporation 

Aspen Aerogels, Inc. 

Bedford Global Warming Action Committee 

Berl Hartman, E2 New England Chapter Director, Hartman Consulting 

Better Future Project 

Big Belly Solar 

Birth Tree Capital 

Black Coral Capital 

BlueWave Capital 

Borrego Solar 

Boston Climate Action Network 

BrightWork, Inc. 

Cape Air 

Cape Codders for Peace and Justice 

Chelmsford Climate Action Network 

Cleantech InnoVenture Center 

Coalition for Social Justice 

David Miller, Executive Managing Director, Clean Energy Venture Group 

Dianne Callan, Independent Legal Consulting, Green Tech Legal 

Dynamo Micropower Corporation 

EMI Energy 

Energy Action 

Energy Compression, Inc. 

Energy Consumers Alliance of New England 

EnerNOC 

Environment Massachusetts 

Environmental League of Massachusetts 

Falmouth Climate Action Team 

Eric Grunebaum, Producer, The Last Mountain 

Essex Hydro 

First Wind 

FloDesign Wind Turbine Corporation 

Fuss & O’Neill, Inc. 

Gehrlicker Solar America Corp 

George Matouk Jr., CEO, John Matouk & Co. 

Global Warming Education Network 

GreatPoint Energy 

Green Acton 

Green Decade Newton 

Green Medford 

Hamilton Wenham GREEN 

Harvest Power, Inc. 

Horizon Solutions 

Insulation Retrofit Systems 

Jim Boyle, President & CEO, Sustainability Roundtable, Inc 

KeyBanc Capital Markets 

Lenox Environmental Committee 

Lexington Global Warming Action Committee 

Low-income Energy Affordability Network 

Madera Energy 

Maple Hill Architects, LLC 

Massachusetts Association for Community Action 

Massachusetts Audubon Society 

Massachusetts Climate Action Network 

Massachusetts Council of Churches 

Massachusetts Energy Directors Association 

Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters 

Massachusetts Sierra Club Chapter 

Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance 

Meister Consulting Group 

Mitch Tyson, Principle, Tyson Associates 

Monkeytech International 

Myriant 

New Fuels Alliance 

Nexamp 

Nicole Peoll- Moelter, Director of Environmental Sustainability, Akamai Technologies 

Nuestras Raices (Holyoke) 

Peregrine Energy Group 

Pilgrim MUST 

Pilgrim Watch 

Power Options 

Reflection Films 

Resolute Marine Energy, Inc. 

Russ Landon, Managing Director, Head of Clean Technology Group, KeyBanc Capital Markets 

Sahir Surmeli, Corporate & Securities Practice, Energy and Clean Technology, Information Technology, and Life Sciences Practices, Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo 

Salem Alliance for the Environment 

Solventerra 

Somerville Climate Action 

Stratex Energy 

Sustainable Arlington 

Sustainable Energy Advantage 

Sustainable Milton 

Sustainable Wellesley 

Tedd Saunders, Co-Owner, The Saunders Hotel Group 

Timothy Havel, Energy Compression Inc. 

Tom Clay, CEO, Xtalic Corporation 

Veolia Energy 

Watertown Citizens for Environmental Safety 

Wilson Solar Power 

Wind Action Committee 

 

New Hampshire 

Conservation New Hampshire 

Energy Federation, Inc. (EFI) 

Environment New Hampshire 

Fuss & O’Neill, Inc 

Green Alliance (Sustainable Entrepreneurs) 

New Hampshire Audubon 

Sierra Club New Hampshire Chapter 

Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests 

 

New Jersey 

350 NJ 

Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions 

Climate Mama 

Delaware Riverkeeper Network 

Environment New Jersey 

Genesis Farm 

Grandmothers Mothers and More for Energy Safety 

GreenFaith 

League of Women Voters New Jersey 

New Jersey Audubon Society 

New Jersey Citizen Action 

New Jersey Conservation Foundation 

New Jersey Environmental Federation 

New Jersey Environmental Lobby 

New Jersey Work Environment Council 

New Jersey Highlands Coalition 

New Jersey Sierra Club 

North Jersey Public Policy Network 

Pinelands Preservation Alliance 

Raritan Headwaters Association 

Scott Olson, Deputy Mayor, Byram Township, NJ 

 

New York 

Adirondack Council 

Alliance for Clean Energy New York 

Arnold P. Wendroff, PhD of the Mercury Poisoning Project 

Arthur H. Kopelman, Ph. D., SUNY Distinguished Service Professor and Professor of Science, FIT Department of Science and Mathematics 

AWS Truepower, LLC 

Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy 

Center for Medical Consumers 

Center for Working Families 

Chenango Clean Energy Service Corps 

Chhaya Community Development Corporation 

Citizens Campaign for the Environment 

Citizens’ Environmental Coalition 

Clean and Healthy New York 

Community Environmental Center 

Cowles & Company Contracting 

Croton Watershed Clean Water Coalition 

Earth Kind Solar Energy 

Empire State Future 

Energy by Choice 

Environment New York 

Environmental Advocates of New York 

Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) 

Federated Conservationists of Westchester County 

Florence W. Liddell, Environmental Advocate 

Free Lighting Corp 

Grassroots Environmental Education 

Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc. 

Kalex Energy Co. 

Long Island City Business Development Corp. 

Long Island Progressive Coalition 

Michael Connolly, Partner, Morrison Cohen, LLP 

Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City, Inc. of Staten Island 

New York Assembly member Alan Maisel 

New York Assembly member Deborah J. Glick 

New York Assembly member Naomi Rivera 

New York City Council member Letitia James 

New York Interfaith Power & Light 

New York League of Conservation Voters 

New York Public Interest Research Group 

New York Solar Energy Industries Association 

Northern Westchester Energy Action 

NYSUT 

NYU Global Greening Initiative 

PEF/EnCon- Division 169 of the NYS Public Employees Federation 

Powersmith Home Energy Solutions 

PUSH Buffalo 

Renewable Energy Long Island 

Rural Ulster Preservation Company 

Solar One 

Solaris, LLC 

Stephen O. Wilson, former Executive Director, now Emeritus Hudson River Environmental Society 

Sustainable South Bronx 

Sustainable Tompkins 

The Catskill Center for Conservation & Development 

The Honorable Matthew T. Ryan, Mayor of Binghamton, NY 

The Oblong Land Conservancy 

Theresa Swidorski, Legislative Director for Member of the Assembly Glick 

Tri-State Transportation Campaign 

WESPAC Foundation 

 

Rhode Island 

Aspen Aerogels, Inc. 

BCX Energy 

Clean Water Action Rhode Island 

ENTECH Engineering 

Environment Rhode Island 

Green Energies, LLC 

Kurt Teichert, Brown University Center for Environmental Studies 

Newport Solar 

Northeast Solar and Wind, LLC 

People’s Power and Light 

Rise Engineering 

SPG Renewables 

Wallace Lees, Burrville Town Council 

 

Vermont 

350 Vermont 

Audubon Vermont 

Central Vermont Community Action Council 

Clean Crowd 

Energy Futures Group 

Renewable Energy Vermont 

Shelter Analytics 

Sierra Club Vermont 

Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility 

Vermont Energy Investment Corporation 

Vermont Natural Resources Council 

Vermont Public Interest Research Group 

 

 

Cc: Robert Summers, Secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment

      Maryland Public Utility Commissioners

      Malcolm Woolf, Director, Maryland Energy Administration 

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Tim Rains / NPS | Public Domain

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