Incinerator opponents plan weekend rally

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
09/20/2013
Opponents of building a waste-to-energy incinerator in Frederick County are planning a Saturday morning demonstration at the site of the proposed facility. The gathering fits into a nationwide movement to protest projects that protest participants believe will intensify global warming, according to a news release. The Frederick County event will begin at 10 a.m. at 4549 Metropolitan Court. Event organizers say projects that create climate problems will place a burden on future generations. "Sure, we need to challenge our kids. But not to pay bigger bills while adjusting to a warmer, more disaster-prone climate," said Kathryn Ruud, of Middletown. "We need to challenge them to create energy with renewable sources and to learn ways to consume and recycle that do not create mountains of trash and materials to bury." The Draw the Line campaign is supported by 350.org and Chesapeake Climate Action Network and will include rallies, demonstrations and other events.

Maryland’s New Emissions Plan Shows Climate Action Is Cost-Effective

World Resources Institute
Rebecca Gasper and Kevin Kennedy
07/26/2013
As impacts from climate change become more visible and costly, leaders across the nation are responding. In the wake of projections from the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science showing that Maryland could face sea-level rise of more than six feet by the end of the century, Governor Martin O’Malley unveiled a state climate action plan this week. The initiative will reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also supporting job creation and economic growth. Sea-level rise will make Maryland–and other states on the Atlantic coast–increasingly vulnerable to costly and damaging floods, underscoring the urgency to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are warming our planet. The actions described in Governor’s plan aim to achieve a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions below 2006 levels by 2020. According to analysis conducted by Towson University for the state, the plan is expected to produce more than $1 billion in net economic benefits and support more than 37,000 jobs, providing yet more evidence that smart environmental policy is smart economic policy.

Black liquor’ deal goes sour

MD paper mill backtracks on compromise, fights to retain lucrative renewable energy credits
Baltimore Sun
Tim Wheeler
03/14/2013
A deal environmentalists thought had been worked out to stop mostly out-of-state paper mills from cashing in on Maryland's renewable energy law by burning so-called "black liquor" has come unglued. The state's only paper plant in Allegany County has backtracked on a pledge not to oppose the move in return for being allowed to keep collecting from the state's utility customers for another five years. The New Page mill in Luke and several others out of state have reaped millions of dollarsfrom Maryland ratepayers over the past eight years by taking advantage of an obscure provision in the "renewable portfolio standard" law, passed in 2004 to reduce the state's reliance on climate-warming fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. Under the law, Maryland's electricity suppliers must increase the amount of power generated from renewable sources to 20 percent by 2022. They can either produce it themselves, or buy "renewable energy credits" from facilities generating power from a variety of specified sources, including wind, solar, geothermal and poultry manure. The state's electricity buyers pay for those credits through slightly higher rates. But the law also recognizes as renewable fuel wood scraps and a tarry substance known as "black liquor," a carbon-rich byproduct of the paper pulping process. As a result, the New Page mill and others in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio get subsidies for what is a traditional industry practice of generating power for their plants by burning their waste products.

Black liquor' deal goes sour

MD paper mill backtracks on compromise, fights to retain lucrative renewable energy credits
Baltimore Sun
Tim Wheeler
03/14/2013
A deal environmentalists thought had been worked out to stop mostly out-of-state paper mills from cashing in on Maryland's renewable energy law by burning so-called "black liquor" has come unglued. The state's only paper plant in Allegany County has backtracked on a pledge not to oppose the move in return for being allowed to keep collecting from the state's utility customers for another five years. The New Page mill in Luke and several others out of state have reaped millions of dollarsfrom Maryland ratepayers over the past eight years by taking advantage of an obscure provision in the "renewable portfolio standard" law, passed in 2004 to reduce the state's reliance on climate-warming fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. Under the law, Maryland's electricity suppliers must increase the amount of power generated from renewable sources to 20 percent by 2022. They can either produce it themselves, or buy "renewable energy credits" from facilities generating power from a variety of specified sources, including wind, solar, geothermal and poultry manure. The state's electricity buyers pay for those credits through slightly higher rates. But the law also recognizes as renewable fuel wood scraps and a tarry substance known as "black liquor," a carbon-rich byproduct of the paper pulping process. As a result, the New Page mill and others in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio get subsidies for what is a traditional industry practice of generating power for their plants by burning their waste products.

State coming to grips with climate change

Some measures being taken to combat future heat, storms
Gazette
C. Benjamin Ford
07/13/2012
According to climate scientists and a number of state officials, the events of the past two weeks are consistent with what Maryland faces as a result of climate change. “Fires, drought, more extreme weather events — this is what it looks like,” said Zoe Johnson, program manager for climate policy in the Office for a Sustainable Future with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The recent heat wave “shows us ways we're vulnerable now.” State officials will review the recent events to see what steps can be taken to prepare for the future, she said.