Worries of how climate change bill could impact Maryland businesses

MARYLAND– Businesses are joining forces to voice their concerns over House Bill 831, in the General Assembly. They wrote a letter to a House Committee Chair to let lawmakers know what they want to change moving ahead.

“Passing legislation just mandating this out of hand without consideration for the after effects and the unintended consequences is just tone deaf,” Bill Chambers, CEO and President of Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, said.

“We made it clear in the letter, in the beginning, we are not in opposition to climate change legislation we are keenly aware and we support the state of Maryland’s already aggressive goal of reducing our carbon emissions footprint,” Chambers said.

However, Chambers said lawmakers are pushing the gas pedal and accelerating aggressive goals that are going to have an impact on businesses. This bill would create changes to the states approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, like requiring new residential and commercial buildings to meet all water and space heating demand without the use of fossil fuels.

“There needs to be some consideration to strike entirely the building code portion requiring the elimination of fossil fuels, rural areas we being one of those areas don’t have the adequate infrastructure to support these types of mandates,” Chambers said.

Chambers added Somerset County added a natural gas pipeline, which will be critical to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and to the Eastern Correctional Institution.

“Keep in mind, Somerset County, the last county in Maryland to get natural gas will enjoy that new asset here within the next year and now we are going to tell potential building owners and entrepreneurs that want to come in to Somerset County, take advantage of this new asset we are going to tell them the assets not available to them and the asset being natural gas,” Chambers said.

Chambers said this would also require businesses to go “electric-only.” Which he said could be costly for business owners, and the bill doesn’t provide time for them to adapt.

“We are already in an economy that is swirling out of control with inflation and to add these kinds of burdens with accelerated timelines at this time,” Chambers said.

Given these concerns, 47ABC reached out to both of the Sponsors of the bill, Delegate Kumar Barve and Delegate Dana Stein.

Delegate Barve is the only who got back to us, he provided a statement that said, “The House is evaluating a number of options on our approach to building electrification.”

Chambers said he would like to see a study where law makers, stakeholders, and businesses can sit down and look at the impacts of accelerating climate change initiative outlines in the bill.

He hopes from there they can discuss what’s workable and what’s not, and how they can come to an agreement.

Categories: Local News, Maryland