ANNAPOLIS, MD – County Executives and Elected Officials from some of Maryland’s largest localities are calling on the General Assembly to provide support for local governments across the state that are imminently facing a fall in tax revenue and employment opportunities due to the collapse of the coal industry.
In the past 10 months 95% of Maryland’s coal-fired plants have either retired or announced plans to stop burning coal in the near future. Across the nation former coal communities are in dire straits struggling to provide basic services due to coal’s uncompetitiveness in today’s energy markets. That’s why County Executives and officials from, Charles County, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, and the city of College Park have filed supportive testimony in the General Assembly on the Maryland Coal Community Transition Act, calling on the body to pass the bill and manage the state’s transition off coal.
This bipartisan legislation will transition Maryland off coal-fired power plants in an orderly fashion, establish a transition fund to support impacted workers and communities, and establish a robust, multi-year fossil fuel community transition planning process.
In response to the legislation Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks released the following statement:
“In Prince George’s County our remaining coal-fired power plant announced they will stop burning coal in just 3 months, regardless if the Coal Community Transition Act passes. As we move towards policies that will help our environment, we must also ensure that we provide assistance to those who will be impacted by the transition. That is why it is so important for the General Assembly to act this year and provide a managed transition plan with new programs and processes to help Prince George’s County residents, workers, and our community better manage this transition.”
In response to the legislation Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich released the following statement:
“Last summer, GenOn Holdings gave only 90 days notice that they were closing out the coal operations at the Dickerson power plant in Montgomery County and that 63 workers would lose their jobs. At the time, we knew our air and water would benefit but we were missing robust “just transition” conversations for those workers and the much needed structured support from the state. The Coal Community Transition Act will help provide that more structured support for Counties that are being impacted by this energy transition before it’s too late.”
In response to the legislation Baltimore City Councilmember Kristerfer Burnett released the following statement:
“While there are no coal-fired boilers in Baltimore City, on the days of the year when these over 50-year-old power plants fire up their boilers in nearby counties the toxic and dangerous pollution doesn’t stop at the city line. That means that Baltimoreans, especially our most vulnerable populations, are suffering from respiratory alignments. It is time for the General Assembly to pass the Coal Community Transition Act, to prepare our workers, our communities, and our energy system for the transition away from coal-fired power plants to renewable energy.”
In response to the legislation Charles County Commissioner President Reuben Collins released the following statement:
“For more than 50 years Charles County has been home to the Morgantown coal-fired power plant, which, while it has provided energy to our buildings and jobs to our economy, is also a major source of air, water, and climate pollution. We want to be at the table when a “just transition” plan is adopted to ensure that the lost revenue (commercial tax dollars in excess of $8.5 million) will be replaced with a plan to retrain the present workforce, and focus on renewable energy alternatives. Passage of this legislation in Annapolis will be a win-win for our citizens, closing out the hazardous emissions from a coal plant to a transition to energy that is renewable.”