Dear Maryland General Assembly:
We urge you to support legislation that requires the Public Service Commission (PSC) implement a “climate test” during its decision-making process.
Currently, the Maryland Public Service Commission, which approves all large facilities that generate electricity and oversees gas utility companies, does not consider climate in its decision-making process. In 2019, the PSC permitted the retired coal-fired CP Crane facility in Baltimore to repower to gas. In approving the project, the PSC declared that “the Commission has never required that any consideration of climate change and its effects be included in a Proposed Order or CPCN proceeding. . . . Staff is bound by Commission precedent." In a world that is both literally and metaphorically on fire, there is no room for more gas in Maryland and there is no excuse for state agencies to ignore climate change.
We believe the PSC should be required to:
* Consider climate change in its regulation of the electricity sector, based upon the best available scientific information recognized by the IPCC and achieving our state climate goals.
* Consider climate impacts when reviewing applications for new electricity generating facilities, and when it approves the sites for new facilities.
* Ensure that state agencies have also considered climate when providing input to the PSC regarding applications for new facilities.
This “climate test” provides a necessary and straightforward solution to the PSC’s refusal to consider climate change when making energy-related decisions.
For these reasons, we ask you to support legislation that would institute a climate test at the PSC.