Maryland’s Republican Governor continues to lead the way on environmental initiatives, announcing today $65M in new state funding for several environmental programs aimed at boosting the state’s renewable energy portfolio and promoting water quality trading markets.
I had the pleasure this morning of joining Governor Hogan and several of his cabinet members, Ben Grumbles, Kelly Schulz,Boyd Rutherford, and Mary Beth Tung, at today’s announcement. What is particularly gratifying about these initiatives, is the emphasis on advancing environmental protection through better incentives and fewer top-down command and control solutions.
While a strong advocate for protecting Maryland’s environment and natural resources, Governor Hogan has rejected the old playbook of “government knows best” – and is trying to find the right balance between job creation and a strong economy and environmental regulation.
The Governor has fought hard against new environmental taxes (or fees) by the Democrat-controlled legislature – taxes he refers to as the “rain tax” and “sunshine tax” which he argues put too much financial strain on working families. And he seems to be winning the hearts and minds of the public in a very blue state, based on his high approval ratings.
Specifically, the initiatives include,
- $3M for the Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN) program to train 1,500 in solar, wind and hydroelectric industries;
- $41M in renewable energy projects, that was negotiated with Exelon Corp., one of the nation’s largest power producers;
- $7.5M to establish the Maryland Clean Energy Institute; and
- $10M from the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Funds to help promote nutrient trading markets.
The incoming Trump Administration should take note of what the Governor and his team are trying to accomplish. When asked how President-elect could help Maryland, the Governor was quick to respond “to carry through on his promise to help promote and fund infrastructure.” The Governor noted that he looked forward to working with President Trump and his Administration.