We on the Eastern Shore of Maryland are most affected by our changing climate in the state.

Farmers are losing their land due to saltwater intrusion. Waterfront businesses are losing revenue due to flooding. Watermen’s businesses are affected by acidification of the Chesapeake Bay and water salination changes due to heavy rains and droughts. Commercial and personal properties are devaluing at alarming rates.

In order to have their voices heard Eastern Shore Citizens’ have written testimony for the Climate Crisis and Education Act in the general Assembly.

The Climate Crisis and Education Act sets new statewide, greenhouse gas emission reduction goals: 60% by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2045. It will also generate billions of dollars for investment in clean energy infrastructure and education, while providing protective benefits to Maryland’s trade-exposed small businesses and its most economically vulnerable populations.

“CCEA will, for the first time, begin to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable, by charging a fee on fossil fuels at the first point of entry. The bill will make Maryland a leader in finding viable solutions to combat climate change, and will ensure that our children have a future to look forward to,” said House Bill sponsor Del. David Fraser-Hidalgo.

The Senate bill sponsor state Sen. Benjamin Kramer said, “Maryland has a chance to show the nation we are leaders on this issue and are taking the measures necessary to protect our state, our communities, and our thousands of miles of shoreline that are at risk.”

Main provisions and benefits of the bill include: the establishment of three separate funds for green infrastructure, household and employer benefits and education in the state. Gradually increasing the price of carbon pollution offers energy companies business and regulatory certainty for future planning; while including a no-pass through a provision that protects consumers. It incentivizes renewable energy, which tends to be locally produced and which creates jobs nearby, economic vitality and huge investments in public goods.

Wandra Ashley-Williams, regional director of Climate XChange said, “We now have a federal administration that recognizes the climate is in crisis and is willing and able to take urgent action. However, states must continue to push forward policies at the local level that can get us the emissions reductions and economic vitality we so desperately need; this bill is a critical step for the future of Maryland. This bill critically protects those who have been most burdened by the impacts of pollution by ensuring communities can come out ahead.”

“Failure to implement a carbon price will prolong the climate crisis and worsen its impact. The enormous consequences of carbon emissions on the health of individuals, especially in already overburdened communities, cannot continue to go unregulated. It is essential that polluters pay a price for their environmental impact and transition to less toxic fuels, “ said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby members Linda and Peter Yungbluth wrote, “A fellow birder lives on over 100 acres of farmland and waterfront property in Dorchester County which has been in his family for 300 years. He does not expect this family farm to exist in 50 years. This rate of change in our lifetimes is a loud wake-up call.”

We all have an opportunity to tell our elected representatives that we need climate action and Climate Crisis and Education Act is a great first step.

As Citizens’ Climate Lobby Chestertown Chapter leader, I held a testimony writing party on Feb. 15 to discuss the bill and what we want to do about it.

Now is the time to act.

Maryland may lead other states in our nation in passing legislation that requires the fossil fuel companies to pay for the pollution we all suffer from while they benefit.

This is a non-partisan systemic issue that we need to address together.

To learn more and endorse the Climate Crisis and Education Act go to Rebuild Maryland Coalition – Climate-XChange.

Hope Clark is the leader of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby Chestertown Chapter.

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