It is our responsibility to be good stewards of our environment. My priorities include preserving our environment and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. The Bay is not only an ecological treasure, but is depended on by the majority of our State for food, jobs, and much, much more. I will continue to vote to increase funding and support policies to restore the Chesapeake Bay and do what is necessary to limit run-off and waste that goes into it. I will also help our State to invest in alternative energy infrastructure. Maryland has an opportunity to lead the nation in revolutionizing our energy structure to one that is cleaner and less dependent on foreign oil. This includes developing our own source of offshore wind, promoting research into wind, solar, and other renewables, and encouraging a shift to efficient energy uses in our everyday lives. I have helped pass legislation to regulate greenhouse gases, increase energy efficiency of buildings, require the use of environmentally friendly construction material standards for new buildings to help prevent pollutants from entering our environment and the Bay, and devote more resources to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. I stood up on behalf of the University of Maryland’s Law School to make sure that they were not punished for their pursuit of a lawsuit against the polluting chicken farmer industry.
We’ve previously passed legislation to put our Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) at 25%, and I am hopeful that we will at least be able to get it up to 50% this year. Montgomery County has again been a leader on this front, and we often use this as a bargaining mechanism, to show that these efforts are in fact doable. Two other bills we’ve passed this year would require the state pension system to do a risk assessment before investing in climate-related entities, as well as a bill that would require the legislature’s approval should the Governor try to withdraw from climate accords. Back in 2015, I helped to pass legislation nicknamed the “Tesla Bill”, making it easier to purchase electric vehicles in Maryland, and I’m pleased to see how well that industry has done in the years since.