Environmentally overburdened communities call for the passage of Reclaim Renewable Energy Act Bill:
Maryland is fighting for the environment in a way that many states have been unable to match. Maryland Legislators announced the Reclaim Renewable Energy Act (RREA) of 2023 (SB590/HB718), which seeks to fix environmental injustices caused by fossil fuel companies and make renewable energy more accessible.
The goal of RREA is to clean up Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by removing factory farm gas and trash incineration from being listed as “renewable.” This will help reduce the negative effects of air pollution, improve public health outcomes, and address the climate crisis.
Notably, the bill seeks to repair long-standing environmental injustices that have disproportionately burdened communities of color with support for the vulnerable communities.
This announcement was met with deserved enthusiasm from local residents who have long suffered from air pollution caused by nearby facilities that burn fossil fuels and dump pollutants into the surrounding environment.
“As a child I never considered that a tall smoke stack that welcomed me to Baltimore, spewed so many dangerous chemicals into the air and contiguous to the community I live in. This particulate matter, even emitted at low levels, can cause neurological dysfunctions, preterm births, and lung cancer. My community should no longer be a “dumping ground” and suffer at the hands of power holders who pander to “greenwashing” utility companies. At its core, this is environmental exploitation, and it's time for decision-makers to pass the RREA.” Said Godwin Kennedy, a 35-year-old black resident of Cherry Hill in South Baltimore.
Progressive Maryland remains committed to helping those affected most by environmental racism. Low-income black communities are often situated in “sacrifice zones'' due to racist worldviews of inferiority as they are seen as less politically viable. The reality is, on a monthly basis, these communities are paying Baltimore Gas and Electric to one day give their children cancer. Trash incineration is not clean, it's a slow death and power holders should pass the RREA bill NOW.
With this act, Maryland sets a powerful example for other states around the country in how they can begin healing environmental injustice and transitioning away from dirty fossil fuels towards a more sustainable future powered by renewable energy sources so that our communities can thrive.
- SirJames Weaver, Progressive Maryland's Environmental Justice Organizer
Here's the link and time stamp to the Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee streaming session where SirJames testified for the RREA bill.
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