Two public health and medical professionals write that they see the health of Marylanders is an overarching issue connecting two important pieces of unfinished business facing our state legislators in this session. One is passing a ban on hydraulic fracturing – “fracking.” The second is overriding the Governor’s veto of bipartisan legislation to increase our state’s target for renewable energy
Later this month, the Board of Public Works will be voting on new guidelines requiring future purchases of energy efficient products — including phasing out most state use of bottled water. “Generally we’re looking at things that are environmentally friendly, but also to save on cost,” said Michael Haifley, procurement director of the Department of General Services.
The repercussions of the 2006 campaign’s heavy focus on electricity policy are still being felt as Maryland begins the long march toward November’s elections.
While energy was one of the defining issues of the gloves-off battle between Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley and then-Gov. Bob Ehrlich, it remains to be seen if it will become a big talking point this year. But the debate over how best to hold down residential energy costs in Maryland has raged in Annapolis from gate to gate.
The House and Senate are at odds over whether it’s best to help residents pay their energy bills by sending direct aid, or by offering cash to help make homes more efficient.
The House Appropriations Committee wants to use more of the money from a regional tax on greenhouse gas emissions to pay for the weatherization of homes. But the Senate has voted to send most of the money directly to ratepayers and right away.