girl with mask and teddy bear for blog postMaryland is one of the filthiest states in the nation. In addition to producing high levels of greenhouse gases from power plants, our state also produces a great deal of pollution from other types of toxic incineration. In fact, Maryland’s death rate from air pollution was rated the highest in the nation in 2013. Air quality has improved since then, but our state still has a long way to go.

That’s why the Maryland Climate Change Commission claims a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 would be necessary for our state to avoid the worst environmental effects caused by air pollution. Currently, Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) is on the right track by recommending a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2022.

Additionally the Clean Energy Jobs Act is also being considered in the Maryland General Assembly. Passage of this bill would add over 1,000 solar jobs a year and help the state meet EPA requirements for reducing emissions. “There is no question that green jobs help Maryland’s economy. Our business has been growing rapidly. Every year we add more employees. ” states Geoff Mirkin, CEO of Solar Energy World, a clean energy company headquartered in Elkridge Maryland that powers its own facility on a solar system designed and installed by company employees. “It’s great for consumers too. Most of our customers go solar because it makes good economic sense. They save thousands of dollars in electricity costs.”

Support for a path to a cleaner, more productive Maryland is key to the implementation of measures to reduce greenhouse emissions and it does appear that some of our state officials are supportive of renewable energy. Even so, this issue is not in the local news very often, possibly because leadership, though supportive, no longer sees it as a top priority.

Since former governor, Martin O’Malley left office news stories about the benefits that the renewable energy industries are bringing to our state in terms of job growth and cleaner air are few and far between. O’Malley was a strong advocate for solar and wind and is still a big supporter of these industries. Current leadership may be supportive but do not seem to be as passionate or vocal about their support. If leaders aren’t passionate about these issues, the press loses interest as well.

Marylanders need to see our leaders speak out in favor of these tougher standards and the press needs to cover this as urgent issue because it affects both the physical and economic health of Maryland residents. A 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 is attainable if more Maryland residents and business owners take advantage of renewable energy like solar power.  Solar is more affordable and sustainable than imported sources of dirty fuels and adds increased efficiency to our power grid.  This increased efficiency not only benefits the environment, it also results in lower electric bills for Maryland homeowners.

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Green energy is available now and the benefits are clear. If our civil representatives put them into action today, we all can be part of our brighter tomorrow but they need our help to see this as a priority. If you feel passionate about this issue, contact your representatives to tell them to step up support for renewable energy. Contact members of the press asking them to do stories on the topic of renewable energy. Or write your own blog, share posts on Facebook – the possibilities are endless. If we want to squash Maryland’s dirty secret, we all need to be advocates for renewable energy.

Written by Laureen Peck and Sharon Derby, Solar Energy World