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Another step to reducing Maryland's carbon footprint

Maryland House of Delegates
Julio Cortez/AP
Maryland House of Delegates

The House of Delegates passed a heavily amended bill to sharply reduce Maryland’s carbon footprint Tuesday. In the process, Democrats beat back more than a dozen additional Republican sponsored amendments.

One of those amendments would have tied Maryland’s carbon goals to those of China. Another would have required products used to achieve the goals, such as solar panels, to be made in the United States.

Del. Wayne Hartman, a Lower Shore Republican, said most solar panels are made in China, where environmental regulations are less stringent than those in the US.

“So here we are with these lofty goals,” he said. “And these goals may be doing the exact opposite of what we want. So, simply requiring these products be manufactured in the USA, we could be helping to accomplish her goals more quickly.” 

But Kumar Barve, the Montgomery County Democrat who chairs the House environment committee, warned that might violate international trade agreements and said the future in solar panels is in thin photovoltaic cells.

“And one of the largest manufacturers happens to be located currently in Arizona,” he said. “But I imagine that's going to be diversified throughout the United States as this new technology is developed.”

The bill goes back to the Senate where Paul Pinsky, the Prince Georges Democrat sponsoring it, said in an email he is “deeply disappointed” in actions that weaken the bill, but that it’s “still a good bill.”

Joel McCord is a trumpet player who learned early in life that that’s no way to make a living.
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