Maryland — The Sierra Club, joined by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Interfaith Power & Light and Delegate Kumar Barve, released a bipartisan poll showing Marylanders overwhelmingly want to move beyond coal and into a clean energy future.
The poll, conducted by Ferguson Research and Hart Research Associates, found that 70 percent of Marylanders want to transition the state off dirty coal and move to clean energy sources like wind power and solar energy.
Lending further evidence to Marylander’s support for clean energy, the poll found that 69 percent of respondents favor setting a timetable for retiring Maryland’s six remaining coal plants.
Key findings include:
70 percent of Marylanders favor transitioning from dirty coal to clean solar and wind, while providing economic support to former coal workers and their communities.
67 percent of Marylanders want to skip the falsely-advertised “bridge fuel” fracked gas, and go right to clean renewable energy.
83 percent of Marylanders believe it is important to provide paid job training and healthcare to workers that lose jobs due to closure of a coal plant.
71 percent of Marylanders know that transitioning from dirty coal to clean energy will improve people’s health.
Following the polling release, Del. Barve announced plans to introduce legislation in 2020 to move Maryland off of coal-fired power plants by in the coming years and establish a program to support workers and communities impacted by transition off of fossil fuels like coal.
Supporting the findings of the poll and calling for action, an initial group of 27 organizations have signed on to an open letter endorsing a move beyond coal for Maryland that supports workers and communities facing the transition off fossil fuels. The letter will be updated as additional groups join.
Delegate Kumar Barve, Chair of the House Environment and Transportation Committee released the following statement:
“The overwhelming support from everyday Marylanders for responsibly moving beyond coal is undeniable. It is now incumbent on our elected officials, including myself and the General Assembly to respond. It is well known that we should not and cannot continue to burn coal for electricity if we are serious about improving air quality, fighting climate change, and growing the clean energy economy. Next year, I will introduce and fight for legislation that responsibly ends coal-burning for electricity in Maryland and establishes new programs to aid our hard-working families in this transition.”
The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Senior Campaign Representative David Smedick released the following statement in response:
“There is no scenario in which Maryland meets its climate action commitments and still burns coal for power. We have to move off coal for the sake of our health and climate, there is no denying it. These polling results show that Marylanders are more than ready to move off coal in a very specific, scheduled way, and to do that with clean energy, not dangerous fracked gas. State leaders need to listen to their constituents and set a timeline for phasing off our coal plants and provide support for our workers and communities facing a transition off fossil fuels.”
Maryland League of Conservation Voters’ Deputy Executive Director, Ramon Palencia-Calvo issued the following statement:
“Coal pollution and climate change unjustly impact our vulnerable populations and communities in Maryland. Coal plants in Maryland that are still operating today have been polluting our air and water since the 1950s, making children suffer from asthma and other health conditions. Maryland has to establish clear and enforceable action plans for moving off of fossil fuels such as coal. The public is showing strong support to do so. It’s time for the state to act and move off fossil fuels and to a clean energy economy.”
Interfaith Power & Light’s (DC.MD.NoVA) Director of Faithful Advocacy, Jonathan Lacock-Nisly issued the following statement:
“People of faith know that caring for our communities means transitioning away from coal as a power source. We know that this is essential for the health of our state, our climate, our neighbors, and ourselves. We work every day with faith communities all across Maryland who have devoted significant time and energy to installing solar power because they find it obscene to pray to a loving and just God in a space that is powered by an energy source that is making their neighbors sick. Faithful Marylanders know that a clean energy economy is our future, and our communities are depending on our elected officials to chart the path forward.”