Cleaning Up the Bay and Protecting the Environment

  • Banning Fracking: The General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed House Bill 1325, an outright ban on fracking in Maryland. Each fracking well can pump over 5 million gallons of water into the ground and contains 600 unknown chemicals. This bipartisan legislation will protect public health and drinking water across the State. We are pleased the Senate and Governor Hogan followed the House’s lead to enact this critical ban. I was the original sponsor of the fracking ban back in 2013, and I’m proud that it is finally state law.
  • Protected Oyster Sanctuaries: We passed a ban on opening Maryland’s oyster sanctuaries to harvesting. This legislation protects our existing oyster recovery investments, gives these sanctuaries additional time to grow, and makes sure that decisions related to oyster harvesting are guided by science. Oysters are the natural filters of the Chesapeake Bay. We need to continue to support efforts to help their population rebound for a cleaner Bay.
  • Clean Energy Act: The General Assembly overrode Governor Hogan’s veto in January to increase the state’s renewable energy goals to 25% by 2020 and, in the process, create thousands of jobs across the wind and solar energy sectors. Maryland has more than 170 solar companies and over 4,000 solar jobs paying nearly $21 an hour. These increased renewable energy standards will allow 1,300 more megawatts of renewable energy, which will reduce carbon emissions equal to 563,000 passenger vehicles in the State. But really this is just the beginning, and we need to do a lot more to address climate change. That is why during the 2018 legislative session I plan to introduce legislation that will bring Maryland to 100% renewable energy by 2035.
  • Composting: In May 2017 the Governor signed two of my bills that will advance composting in Maryland. One will bolster recovery of food waste and other organic materials by expanding infrastructure in the state. The other will reduce contamination at compost sites by preventing the false labeling of plastics as compostable or biodegradable. With the passage of these bills, Maryland can begin exploring different ways to encourage composting in our state. The study group created by this legislation, comprised of state agencies, non-profit organizations, and private entities, will make Maryland more competitive in the field of renewable resources, while decreasing the waste we put into our landfills, and the labeling bill will ensure that composting facilities have clean materials to create their compost with.