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Senate Joins House In Overriding Hogan Veto On Green Energy Bill

Feb 02

After the House of Delegates voted this week to override Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of a clean energy bill, state senators followed suit.

The state Senate voted 32-13 to enact the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2016. It passed last year in a 32-14 vote. The Senate needed 29 votes to override Hogan's veto.

"While President [Donald] Trump appoints the CEO of Exxon to obstruct global climate efforts, states like Maryland will fight back here at home with jobs, cleaner air, and truly responsive government.," Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, said in a statement. "Today, the people of Maryland have spoken and Hogan should listen.”

The former Exxon Mobil CEO, Rex Tillerson, was confirmed Wednesday as secretary of State. Trump's EPA nominee, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, has long cast himself against what he's called the agency's "activist agenda."

The bill speeds up renewable energy requirements for power utilities, who will now have to derive 25 percent of their energy from renewables by 2020, instead of 20 percent by 2022. The new law will create incentives for new clean energy and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Proponents say the greenhouse gas emissions saved are the equivalent of taking 563,000 passenger vehicles off the road each year, and will prevent 25 to 50 premature deaths related to air quality.

Hogan has called it a "sunshine and wind tax." Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for Hogan, said following the House vote that the governor has and will continue to support sensible efforts to encourage the use and growth of all forms of renewable energy, but that this measure didn't do that. 

“The Senate voted for the Clean Energy Jobs Act because it is sound economic and environmental policy,” said Sen. Brian Feldman in a Maryland Climate Coalition release. “Not only will this legislation create thousands of good-paying green jobs, it will put the State on the road to meeting our renewable energy goals – a vision shared by both Democrats and Republicans across Maryland.”

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