Opinion: Legislature can make healthy decisions on fracking, renewable energy

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

State tries to go green and save money on purchases

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.

New laws make it easier for small power producers

New laws on the books will make it easier for Marylander homeowners and businesses to sell power back to the grid if they own small generators like solar panels or wind turbines.

Until now, customers were limited in the amount of money they could save by generating more energy than they use, because the credit they could get from utilities would expire after one year.

Analysis: No easy campaign slogans on electricity

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.

Home efficiency or direct aid? Greenhouse gas tax money in dispute

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.