Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III presents his final budget proposal as executive at the county administration building in Upper Marlboro on March 14. (Demetrious Kinney/The Washington Informer)
Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III presents his final budget proposal as executive at the county administration building in Upper Marlboro on March 14. (Demetrious Kinney/The Washington Informer)

On the eve of Earth Day 2018, Rushern Baker, Democratic candidate for governor, announced the Baker Greenprint for Maryland, the most progressive and innovative plan to make Maryland the first state in the country to achieve 100 percent clean energy and zero waste.

The Baker Greenprint also includes provisions to build resilient communities, restore the Chesapeake Bay, and improve Maryland’s air quality. Baker’s proposal was put together by his Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC), which is chaired by Governor Parris Glendening and includes eight additional prominent members of Maryland’s environmental community including Governor Parris Glendening, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, and former Secretary of Maryland Department of Natural Resources, John Griffin and Elizabeth Embry, Baker’s running mate.

In order to reach 100 percent clean energy and zero waste, Baker will 1) make Baltimore the nation’s clean energy manufacturing capital of the country; 2) invest in infrastructure for a statewide recycling and composting system to reduce waste in landfills, create green jobs and save taxpayer money; 3) institute a statewide ban on styrofoam and plastic bags; and 4) invest in renewable clean energy infrastructure in order to transition away from fossil fuels and coal fired power plants.

“Maryland’s green future is not just about protecting our environment, but about fueling economic development and creating jobs across the state. Investing in clean energy saves money, creates jobs and protects the environment,” Baker said. “There is a false notion that you are either pro-environment, or pro-business. Well in the county, we are leading the state in environmental progress and job creation. As governor, Maryland will lead the country.”

Additionally, the Baker Greenprint would make Baltimore the country’s clean energy manufacturing capital, by incentivizing clean energy companies, including wind and solar, to develop in or relocate to Baltimore in order to revitalize the city’s industrial sector, create an economic engine and make Baltimore the clean energy capital of the country. Baker believes this is achievable by creating a statewide program to provide work-based learning and training in solar, wind and energy efficiency, modeled after successful programs in the county.

Rushern Baker’s environmental stewardship of Prince George’s County, the second-largest county in the entire state, is exemplary and has been recognized by the Obama White House for its innovation and success, said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. Given the Trump Administration’s continued assaults on our environment, Maryland needs a leader who is committed to driving the nation towards progress and protecting Maryland’s natural resources for generations to come.”

Oppositely, Governor Hogan issued an executive order canceling recycling and zero waste goals for Maryland. He vetoed six bills that would have expanded requirements for Maryland obtaining renewable energy sources. In 2016, Governor Hogan reduced a residential utility surcharge instead of providing $10 million to a state program to provide renewable energy job training. Governor Hogan also appointed an anti-environmentalist to Public Service Commission. Governor Hogan has rolled back environmental protections and made it easier for farmers to pollute manure. Governor Hogan has flip-flopped on his stance on fracking.    

As County Executive, Baker created the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment, one of the few counties in the state with a dedicated environmental department. Through his leadership, the County now leads the state in recycling, composting, storm water management and solar energy generation. Baker achieved this through an investment of more than $75 million in environmental restoration projects, with 90 percent of those funds going to local, small and minority businesses.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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