Business community speaks out about climate bills
MARYLAND – House Bill 171 and Senate Bill 135, which were introduced on Wednesday in legislation, tackle the job of reducing Maryland greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. Members from the business community say it’s an admirable goal which the business community supports, but, they have a lot of concerns. “This is the kind of stuff that gets laid out there and it gets introduced and before you know it, it’s being passed,” says President of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, Bill Chambers.
The bills would establish a Climate Crisis Initiative and a council. It will also establish revenue of funds for green infrastructure, and household and employer benefits. However, the controversial part of the bill would also create a greenhouse gas pollution fee on building heat and transportation fuel. “To literally cut off the use of fossil fuels to heat cool and energize your commercial structures after 2030 is ridiculous,” says Chambers.
Zach Evans, with Mountaire, tells us the bill itself isn’t necessarily the problem. “We’re not going to directly combat the fact that everybody should be afforded the right to clean air and water, we’re just going to look at the kind of overarching policies that are going to be bad for business,” says Evans.
Chambers says many businesses are reluctant to build a new commercial building in Maryland, let stay here. He says most businesses either can’t afford or don’t have the means to find alternatives by 2030.”Anything that severely limits our competition or can compete with other areas for business is a concern for us,” says Colin Zimmerman with Coastal Realtors.
Local business leaders say the business and agriculture community needs a seat at the table when preparing legislation like this in the future. That’s because they feel something like this has too many unintended consequences. “I think we’re going to single out business, manufacturing, and agriculture as a loser for all the same reasons,” says Evans. Chambers adds, “Our role is to protect our rural interests here on the shore.”
Zimmerman also tells 47 ABC, even if these specific bills aren’t passed, we could see some version of this over and over again for the next few years.
House Bill 171 was introduced in the Economic Matters and Environment and Transportation Committee on Wednesday and is now pending in the House Economic Matters Committee.
Senate Bill 135 was introduced in the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs and Budget and Taxation Committee, and are now pending in the Senate Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.