Maryland Matters reported on Aug. 16 that Delegate Dereck Davis is considering introducing legislation that would remove “black liquor,” a byproduct of paper milling, from the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) – a list of energy sources that are considered renewable and therefore eligible for state subsidies.
Del. Davis should be applauded for his leadership to clean up Maryland’s RPS. The truth is state legislators must address major holes in Maryland’s plan that still incentivize dirty energy like black liquor.
A comprehensive RPS clean-up plan would also need to also eliminate trash incineration and biogas, which were allowed to remain as “renewables” when the Clean Energy and Jobs Act passed last year. That bill was so flawed that it has opened the door to the next generation of false energy solutions, like the subsidizing of nuclear, from the Hogan administration.
Our Maryland legislators need to stand against the false solutions already being rumored to be in Hogan’s misnamed CARES bill package. Instead, they should focus on promoting just the real clean renewables such as solar and wind.
Davis is taking a solid first step in a much larger debate over the RPS clean up now to address how our state will truly transition off of fossil fuels faster and more affordably. Del. Lorig Charkoudian’s Community Choice Aggregation bill from last year, for instance, seeks to give local communities the power to set ambitious clean renewable energy goals while also negotiating good rates. It is the sort of comprehensive legislation we need our elected officials to push.
— LILY HAWKINS
The writer is the Maryland organizer for Food & Water Watch.