Gov. Moore recommits Maryland to California’s vehicle emissions reduction goals

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore is working on accelerating the state’s commitment to improving air quality and combating the effects of climate change by returning the state’s timeline to its initial, “more aggressive,” clean energy plan, which is in line with California’s.

Moore’s support for the progressive plan comes after a unanimous vote by the state’s Air Quality Advisory Council approving the state’s return to greener vehicle emission policies in the Advanced Clean Cars II rule under the federal Clean Air Act.

The proposal requires 43% of new cars sold to be zero-emission by 2027, increasing the percentage annually until all new passenger vehicles sold are zero-emission by 2035. The move could cut vehicle emissions by 75% over the next two decades, the governor said during a press conference with the Department of the Environment in Baltimore on Monday.

“Car exhaust is the largest source of greenhouse gas in the state of Maryland,” Moore said. “Bigger than homes and businesses, bigger than factories, bigger than power plants — it’s car emissions. By ramping up electric vehicle sales, we can move, and move fast, to reduce greenhouse gases,” he said.

State Republicans are not happy with the revised plan and have introduced a bill to study how it’ll affect Maryland’s economy and power grid. Legislators in the Environment and Transportation committee heard testimony on behalf of the bill, Environment — Low Emissions Vehicle Program — Prohibition, on Feb. 24.

Minority leader Jason Buckel issued a statement about the policy that says, in part, “It is based on California’s economy, California’s transportation needs, and California’s electrical grid.”

The proposal will be finalized in September, but first must go through a public comment period and review by committee.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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