Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed the state’s Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2016, which had bipartisan support in both state houses and strong support of the public, according to polling. The veto surprised and upset renewable energy and jobs advocates as well as the state legislative members that approved the bill.
"Honestly, we're confused. Governor Hogan ran his campaign on supporting Maryland jobs. That's what our industry brings. This veto puts thousands of solar jobs and hundreds of local companies at risk. Moreover, this veto endangers the livelihood of thousands of Marylanders and will stall millions in economic investment," said Omar Terrie, Policy Director for MDV-SEIA, the regional chapter of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
The bill would have expanded the state’s clean energy standard to 25 percent by 2020 from the current requirement of 20 percent. It also would have created more than a thousand clean energy jobs in the state. Maryland has been among the more active states for solar power in the northeast but this might change things as solar companies could look for more opportunities in other states.
"By vetoing the Clean Energy Jobs Act, governor Hogan just missed an opportunity to support job growth in one of the fastest growing industries in Maryland. Last year, Maryland's solar industry saw a 42 percent increase in employment,” stated Marta Tomic, a representative of the Energy Freedom Coalition of America (EFCA) member company SolarCity. “The legislation would have supported the creation of over 1,000 jobs selling and installing over 250 megawatts of solar across the state. The solar industry provides well-paying jobs, private sector investment, and real cost-saving solutions for Maryland residents, businesses, and local governments.”
Hogan signed the state’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act in April and his environmental department last fall said that the state’s renewable portfolio standard has created thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity by 2020. He also campaigned on creating jobs throughout the state.
However, in a letter explaining the veto to state House Speaker Michael Bush (D) Hogan wrote that the act would raise taxes on Maryland residents between $49 million and $196 million by 2020. "This legislation is a tax increase that will be levied upon every single electricity ratepayer in Maryland and, for that reason alone, I cannot allow it to become law," he stated in the veto.
MDV-SEIA pointed out that the veto runs counter to the wishes of Maryland residents. A Moody’s poll this past March showed that 71 percent of Maryland's residents supported the expansion of the state’s RPS. “Support crosses political party lines. A majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents support the Clean Energy Jobs Act,” MDV-SEIA stated. “There is wide support for this proposal across the state-in rural, urban and suburban communities. Hogan clearly did not listen to the will of the people that put him in office.”Tweet