Please see a summary update of the bills Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility has been working on this legislative session Thank you to everyone who has helped through your testimony and support. I'd like to give a special shout out of thanks to Gina, Sara, Al and Rachel.
I have also attached a letter we wrote to President Miller at the end of the week asking for his support in having the NOx bill released from the Rules Committee.
Bill tracking as of 3/29/15
Green = Still Active
Red = Not Active
ENERGY AND CLEAN AIR BILLS
Fracking Moratorium (HB449/SB409): This bill, as amended, would impose a three-year moratorium on fracking in Maryland to allow for further health studies. Prior to being amended, it provided for an eight-year moratorium.
Dr. Gina Angiola testified in support of the bill before the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. CSPR submitted written testimony and organized a letter from over 120 health professionals in support of a moratorium.
This bill passed the House of Delegates. The Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee has not voted on the bill.
Fracking Chemical Disclosure and Studies (HB952): This bill would require companies to conduct health studies on the chemicals and chemical formulas used in fracking prior to their use, creates a state data base for that information, allows doctors and health professionals to access and share that information for professional purposes, and creates a compensation fund for those harmed by fracking.
Tim Whitehouse and Dr. Al Bartlett provided testimony in support of this bill before the House Committee on Environment and Transportation – with the caveat that CPSR supported this legislation in the event the General Assembly decides to allow fracking in Maryland. CPSR also submitted written comments.
There is a hold on this bill and will not come to a vote this year.
Bill to Address NOx emissions from Coal-fired Power Plants (HB1042/SB892): This bill would largely codify a regulation that Governor Hogan refused to publish, but that Governor O'Malley had signed prior to leaving office. This bill would require that all coal-fired power plants in Maryland install and operate Select Catalytic Reduction technology to reduce Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) pollution.
Both Dr. Sara Via and Dr. Al Bartlett testified in support of this bill before the House Environment and Transportation Committee and CPSR submitted written comments. Our lobbyist, Darrell Carrington, has been very involved in this bill.
SB892 is in Rules Committee and CPSR wrote asking President Miller for his support in releasing the bill from this Committee.
Cleaning up the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) (SB7060): This bill would limit the amount of combustible energy sources allowed in the RPS to 2013 levels. Under the current law, certain dirty energy, such as incineration and "black liquor," are considered renewable energy and can get subsidies.
This bill has not moved out of Rules Committee and therefore will not pass this year. There have been no hearings or opportunity for public comments.
Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 25% (HB 377/SB373): This bill, as amended, increases Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 25% by 2020. Prior to being amended, the bill would have required 40% renewables by 2025.
We signed on to testimony by the Maryland Climate Coalition. Hearings have been held. We also signed on to a coalition letter urging the leadership of the General Assembly to support this bill. Darrell has been working on this.
Hearings have been held in both the House and the Senate.
Community Solar (HB 1087/SB481): This bill would allow the Public Service Commission to establish a program on community shared solar energy generating systems.
We submitted written testimony
Passed the House of Delegates. Hearing in the Finance Committee – 4/2
Cumulative Impacts (HB987/SB693): This bill seeks to change the way we consider issuing air permits for new facilities in areas that are already overburdened by air pollution. This bill would require additional air monitoring by the industry, as well as an enhanced public participation process.
Chesapeake PSR submitted written comments and Rachel Abbott testified in support of the bill before the House Environment and Transportation Committee.
Hearings have been held in both the House and the Senate. The bill would have received an unfavorable recommendation from the House Environment and Transportation Committee, and thus has been withdrawn by the sponsor.
Pollinator Protection Act (SB163/HB 605): This bill places restrictions and labeling requirements on entities selling seeds, material, and plants that have been treated with a neonicotinoid pesticide.
Chesapeake PSR signed on to written testimony developed by the Maryland Pesticides Network in support of this legislation.
This bill will not be voted on this year. The House is forming a committee to look at the science.
Bill to Limit Pesticides Application of Child Care Facilities, Schools (HB995): This bill would prohibit a person from applying a lawn care pesticide on the grounds of any child care center, school, or recreation center, or on any other recreational field that is used by a child under the age of 18, unless an emergency application of a lawn care pesticide is necessary to eliminate an immediate threat to human health.
Dr. Dana Beyer testified in support of this legislation and we submitted written testimony.
The bill will not be considered this year.
Montgomery County Bill 52-14 - This bill would limit the use of certain pesticides on lawns that cause or are likely to cause cancer or are known endocrine disrupters.
Chesapeake PSR submitted written comments on this bill.
The Montgomery County Council is considering the bill. A work session is being held on March 30th.
Paid Medical and Sick Leave (SB40/HB385): This bill would require employers with more than 10 employees to provide paid medical leave for workers.
Chesapeake PSR will send out an action alert on 3/29/15 allowing members to contact representatives in support of this bill.
This bill will probably not move this session.
Reforms of Maryland Public Information Act (SB695/HB755):
This bill would address a number of issues related to fees, enforcement and exemptions to the Maryland Public Information Act. These reforms have been developed by a coalition civil liberties, press, health and environmental groups concerned about the lack of transparency in Maryland.
Chesapeake PSR signed on to joint testimony drafted by a coalition of groups and will send out an alert on 3/29/15 allowing members to contact representatives in support of this bill.
Unanimously passed the Senate and is being considered in Health and Government operations.
Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility
325 East 25th Street
Baltimore, MD 21218