Marc believes that protecting our environment and finding sustainable sources of energy are among the most important issues facing Marylanders in the coming years. That is why he is proud to have received a 100% voting record from the League of Conservation Voters in 2016. Maryland has 3,200 miles of shoreline and even small changes to the climate and sea level will have major implications to our environment, economy, and quality of life. The state is also blessed with the Chesapeake Bay, a true environmental gem that we must work to protect and restore. Demand for energy has leveled off in recent years, but this is due as much to a slow economy as it is to any policy or behavioral shift. As the economy grows and energy demand increases, prices will rise and new sources will be needed. The question becomes, where does Maryland want its energy to come from: dirty fossil fuels or new, clean sources?
- Maryland has been a leader in seeking climate change solutions, passing legislation and joining efforts such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program for power plants in the Northeast. However, these are just the early steps—far more must be done and our state cannot go it alone. Marc supports pursuing additional regional agreements to find broad-based solutions to this problem. He also supported the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act which increases Maryland’s goal for reducing emissions.
- Marc is fighting to clean up Maryland’s valuable water resources. These are not only essential for our health and economy, but are an important legacy for the next generation. The Potomac River borders District 16, supplying much of our drinking water. The Potomac River is a major tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, requiring us to work especially hard to heal the Bay. That means creating additional regional programs, continuing to assess stormwater treatment programs, and determining if more chemicals need to be removed from certain products, as phosphates have been eliminated from dishwasher detergent. Marc fought against efforts to reduce funding to improve water quality.
- Dirty fossil fuels are unsustainable in the long-term. Marc supports continuing to shift energy usage to cleaner alternatives. Maryland has already led the way with: EmPOWER Maryland, a program to promote energy efficiency and reduce demand by 15% by 2015; the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from 2006 levels by 2022; and a renewable energy portfolio standard requiring that 20% of electricity come from renewable sources by 2022. Marc knows we must back clean energy goals up with action. So far, Maryland has only reduced demand by 11%, cut greenhouse gas emissions by 8%, and generated 7% of electricity from renewable sources. Montgomery County’s highly trained workforce makes it the perfect place for the energy solutions of the future to be developed and nurtured. That includes assisting with the financing of solar panels, wind turbines, and other renewable energy projects at many more locations; facilitating the permitting and zoning process for such projects; promoting cutting-edge energy storage which allows more efficient deployment of renewable energy projects; and making it easier for small-scale renewable projects to feed into the electric grid. Specifically, Marc voted in favor of increasing the state’s renewable energy goal and authored a bill to advance the deployment of energy storage in the state.
- Marc also supports protecting wild and open space. Program Open Space is an innovative state program with dedicated funding from the transfer tax set aside to protect land and create parks. Marc opposes raiding those funds or using them for improper purposes. Since Program Open Space began in the 1960s, over $1 billion has been diverted to other purposes and Marc voted for a bill to repay some of those funds and limit further diversions. Marc also supports the state's Wildlands Preservation System, a network of state-owned places that have retained their wilderness character and contain important, diverse plant and animal life.
With more cars on the roads each year, transportation continues to be one of the leading sources of pollution—and headaches for commuters. Marc believes that as our population continues to grow, how our infrastructure develops will have a major impact on the health of our environment, our economy, and on future generations. Marc is pushing for smarter development, including the expanded use of public transit to provide alternatives to driving, keeping the release of greenhouse gasses (and frustrating commutes) to a minimum. You can read more about Marc’s transportation plan here.