MACo Opposes Removal of Local Authority Over Solar Energy Siting

MACo Legal & Policy Counsel Les Knapp testified with Caroline County Planner Kathleen Freeman to the House Economic Matters Committee on March 5, 2020 to oppose HB 1390 – Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity – Electric Facilities –
Study and Procedures.

The bill would: (1) remove current incentives for energy developers seeking a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the Public Service Commission (PSC) to follow local zoning and land use requirements; (2) require the creation of illogical “one-size-fits-all” setback and buffering requirements for energy projects; and (3) apply vague and unnecessary prohibitions against local governments regarding the withholding or delay of site plan or permit approvals for energy projects.

From the MACo Testimony:

HB 1390 contains provisions that would undermine the role of local land use, as established by the General Assembly in 2017, in the siting of energy generation facilities; create illogical setback and buffering requirements; establish vague and unnecessary local site-plan and permit restrictions; and upend the current relationship between local governments and the PSC. Accordingly, MACo requests the Committee give HB 1390 an UNFAVORABLE report.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2020 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.