Counties Already at Forefront of Climate Crisis; Need More Resources, Less Paperwork

On February 8, 2023, Associate Policy Director Dominic Butchko testified before the House Environment and Transportation Committee in opposition to HB 0147 – Environment – Climate Crisis Plan – Requirement.

The bill’s cross-file, SB 0250, will be heard in the Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee on February 9.

HB 0147 requires each county to adopt a broad and unwieldy climate crisis plan that they are not adequately equipped to implement. Counties certainly appreciate their role in helping to address and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change, but this bill presumes that local government, rather than the State, is best placed to develop and administer comprehensive plans to deal with the issues at hand. For the daunting, far-reaching challenges posed by climate change, institutions with more resources and greater authority are better situated to carry out the intent of HB 0147.

From the MACo Testimony:

Multiple Maryland counties have adopted climate action plans, with varying focus. However, the breadth and scope of the plans envisioned under HB 147 are broader and far more all-encompassing than any amount of authority currently vested in county governing bodies. The proposed plan includes aspirations to change not only public but private buildings, vehicles, energy systems, and the like.
Mandating each individual county to develop plans for mass transit strains the imagination – as no intra-county system would pass any reasonable cost/benefit analysis. Requiring these county plans, without any capacity to affect their components, underscores the incorrect placement of these plans at the county level. Counties lack the authority to back up the broad vision of the plans, and almost certainly lack both the expertise and the resources to single-handedly generate a product with the level of detail required under HB 147.

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