As House and Senate negotiators move closer to agreeing on details of the climate legislation they hope will be approved in the 2022 General Assembly session, it appears likely that the Senate will attempt to move a comprehensive climate bill while the House will split the provisions into smaller bills.
House Environment and Transportation Chair Kumar P. Barve (D-Montgomery) revealed the strategy during a webinar Tuesday evening, hosted by eight environmental groups, to mobilize supporters to work to pass that legislation when the General Assembly convenes next month. In the final hours of the regular 2021 legislative session, the House and Senate did not agree on key points of a bill called the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2021, and the measure stalled.
But Barve and Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Chair Paul G. Pinsky (D-Prince George’s) have been on something of a unity tour recently, discussing their four meetings since the legislature adjourned in April, and reiterating their commitment to work together to craft climate legislation. The two appeared together this month on a legislative panel sponsored by the Maryland Democratic Party that focused on strategies for passing climate measures in the upcoming session.
The committee chairs said the bills would aim to reduce carbon emissions in the transportation, utility and building sectors, while promoting environmental justice.
“The two watchwords are urgency and boldness,” Pinsky asserted, saying the legislation would “combine goals with very specific measures.”
On the webinar Tuesday, leaders of the environmental groups sketched out some of their plans for advocacy, including events like the annual environmental summit in Annapolis, scheduled for Jan. 25, and lobbying nights for specific groups. Environmentalists also plan to rally for climate legislation on Lawyers Mall by the State House on Jan. 12, the first day of the session.
Leaders of the green groups said they are unified behind the comprehensive climate platform.
“It will take nothing less than courageous leadership from our elected officials, from business leaders, from our groups, and from each and every one of us,” said Kim Coble, executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.