Here's the same old threat again from the paper mills : "make us go by the rules and we'll just have to close down"........this time it's, "make us cut carbon emissions, and we'll just have to close down".
This is what we can expect in Congress and the FL and GA Legislatures this year; the pulp/paper/timber lobbyists will be busy trying to stop any greenhouse gas/carbon limits.
Here's what SHOULD BE and MUST BE: "cut your emissions now or we'll close you down."
And the EPA and DEP's should immediately require pulp/paper mills to report how much carbon dioxide they emit.
Del. Joseph C. Boteler III, a Republican representing District 8 in Baltimore County, questions panelists as lawmakers hear testimony about climate change and House Bill 712, which would call for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in Maryland. (Sun photo by Glenn Fawcett / February 29, 2008)
The Global Warming
Solutions Act would continue to require an average 25 percent cut in emissions from all businesses and homes by 2020. But supporters say a reduction of this size could be achieved through increased energy efficiency rather than having to abandon coal for wind power, solar panels or other new technologies.
State Del. Kumar P. Barve
, the House majority leader and a sponsor of the legislation, said he would accept the administration's amendments because they retained the more important 2020 mandate.
"The 90 percent cut is an aspirational goal that we'd like to maintain," Barve said. "But let's be honest, I'll be 92 years old by then. ... Future legislatures will have to deal with this."
The amendments came as environmentalists and public health advocates argued that cuts in greenhouse gases are necessary to help save Maryland's 3,100 miles of
coastline from flooding and prevent drought and disease.
But fighting hard against the limits have been owners of a steel mill, paper mill, brick factories, power plants and other industries - as well as some union officials who worry about their members losing jobs.
Brad Heavner, director of Environment Maryland, said he is not disappointed by the amendments because he expected compromise during the legislative debate.
"To meet the 2050 goal, we need new technologies - so it's entirely appropriate that they will review the goals as we move forward," Heavner said.
Bill Pitcher, lobbyist for the NewPage paper mill in Western Maryland, which had said the bill as originally drafted could force it close, said he was "encouraged" by the compromise.
To force the Maryland paper mill to stop burning coal - the cheapest fuel - while competing Chinese paper mills keep burning coal would bankrupt NewPage, which employs 950 workers, he said. "If this
regulation passed [in its original form] it would put that plant out of business," Pitcher said.Several other business owners testified that the bill would boost the state's economy by creating thousands of jobs in wind energy, solar panel manufacturing and home insulation.
Among the bill's supporters to testify during a joint hearing of the House Economic Matters and Environmental Matters committees was 8-year-old Gus Dunn-Hindle of Southern Maryland.
He said his generation will see Baltimore and many other waterfront communities flooded because of global warming and rising sea levels. "In the future, young people will look back and ask, 'Why didn't they do something when they had the chance?'" he said. "Now you have the chance to do something."
Del. Joseph C. Boteler III, a Republican from Baltimore County, questioned whether global warming is caused by industry. He suggested sunspots might cause climate
Donald Boesch, president of the University of Maryland
Center for Environmental Science, said the international scientific consensus is clear that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced by industry are warming the earth's atmosphere. "There is a very solid consensus on what we know about climate change," Boesch said.
Scientists have recommended a 90 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century to prevent destabilization of the climate.
State Del. Anthony J. O'Donnell
, the House minority leader, said the O'Malley administration's antagonism toward Constellation Energy over electricity rates could discourage the company's plans to build a nuclear reactor in
Southern Maryland, which O'Donnell described as the state's best chance of producing energy without any greenhouse gases.
"How can the state propose these goals, reductions in greenhouse gases, and yet be pushing the greatest hope of doing that or accomplishing that further away from reality?" O'Donnell asked.
Other amendments proposed by the administration yesterday include a requirement that the state's environmental agency report back to the legislature every four years to make sure the pollution control goals are practical and won't hurt businesses.
The administration is also backing away from a proposal to create a 20-employee Office of Climate Change within the Maryland Department of the Environment at a cost of $2 million a year, saying the agency should hire 10 people for about $1 million.tom.pelton@...