DeMarcos to Ride Again for Clean Energy

    Environmental groups and renewable energy companies did their usual thing last week, holding a conference call to pressure Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) to sign the Clean Energy Jobs Act, which would increase the amount of renewable energy Maryland electric utilities use.

    Now it’s time for DeMarco pedal power.

    Activist extraordinaire Vincent DeMarco – known best for his work in the State House promoting health care reform and gun safety – and his son, Jamie DeMarco, who works for the Citizens Climate Lobby, are starting a three-day bike ride next week to publicize the legislation.

    The DeMarcos are reprising a longer statewide bike ride they made in the summer of 2016 after Hogan had vetoed a prior renewable energy bill. They called that Ocean City to Oakland trip “The Ride for an Override.” In 2017, the General Assembly overrode the governor’s veto.

    The bike ride will kick off from Annapolis City Dock at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. The DeMarcos will be joined there by the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Brian J. Feldman (D-Montgomery), along with Sen. Sarah K. Elfreth (D-Anne Arundel); Del. Lorig Charkoudian (D-Montgomery); the Right Rev. Eugene Sutton, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland; Steven Chan, a Maryland solar industry worker at New Energy Equity; Brooke Harper, Maryland director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network; and Karla Raettig, executive director, Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

    At 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, cyclists will arrive in Ellicott City and hold a press event about the effect climate change and flooding has had on the town outside Main Street Oriental Rugs. Speakers will include Sen. Clarence K. Lam (D-Howard and Baltimore), Del. Eric Ebersole (D-Howard and Baltimore), Del. Courtney Watson (D-Howard and Carroll) and Pastor Sue Lowcock-Harris of the First Presbyterian Church of Howard County.

    On Thursday, the cycling team will leave at 8 a.m. to bike through College Park to the Patuxent River Trail, across the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The team will then take the C&O Canal trail to Potomac, where they will stay for the night.

    Next Friday, the team will leave in the morning for Frederick starting on the C&O Canal trail and arrive in Frederick, their final destination, around lunchtime.

    So far, Hogan has not said whether he’ll sign the latest clean energy bill – and it’s possible he may signal his intentions before the ride kicks off.

    “Either he hasn’t signed it and we urge him to sign it, he vetoes it and we urge an override, or he signs it and it’s a celebratory ride,” Vincent DeMarco said.

    [email protected]

    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.