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Climate bill debate lasts five hours in Senate

HAdeMO fast charger plugged into a Peugeot iOn
HAdeMO fast charger plugged into a Peugeot iOn

The Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 is nearing passage in the Senate, but a debate on the bill Thursday lasted roughly five hours.

In an effort to make Maryland carbon neutral by 2045, the comprehensive bill would do things such as require new buildings to be all-electric and add zero-emission vehicles to the state’s fleet.

Minority Leader Sen. Bryan Simonaire of Anne Arundel County applauded the noble intention behind the bill but said its impact won’t outweigh its expense.

“Our main opposition to this bill is that it places a harsh financial burden on the back of Marylanders while failing to deliver any measurable environmental benefits to save our planet or Maryland for that matter,” Simonaire said

Pinsky said Marylanders have seen the devastating effects of climate change and must start somewhere to make a difference.

“We have to move our state and hopefully, with our state and other states, joining us moving our nation to doing something because if we say there's always tomorrow, we're gonna run out of tomorrows,” Pinsky said.

During the debate, 21 amendments to the bill were proposed, only six of which were adopted. Those primarily affect the technical wording of the bill, but a few offered more significant changes.

One proposed by Sen. Pamela Biedle a Democrat of Anne Arundel County would allocate funds for the use of alternative aviation fuels.

Another, which was proposed by Sen. Jim Rosapepe, a Prince George's County Democrat, added schools to the buildings that would need to measure and report emissions to the Department of the Environment annually beginning in 2025.

A third amendment proposed by Sen. Chris West of Baltimore County – the only one proposed by a Republican to be adopted – related to the installation of solar panels on school buildings to be built in the future.

The bill will come up for a final vote before heading to the House which is considering its own climate bills.

Callan Tansill-Suddath is a State House Reporter for WYPR, where she covers the General Assembly.