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Maryland General Assembly to Hold Hearings on Climate Alliance; Air Quality Bills

The Maryland House of Delegate's Committee on the Environment and Transportation will hold hearings later this month on two important environmental bills.

The first is HB 3, the U.S. Climate Alliance bill, which requires the Governor to join the U.S. Climate Alliance by July 18, 2018, and which prohibits the Governor from withdrawing from the Alliance without the approval of the General Assembly.

The U.S. Climate Alliance is a coalition of 14 states and Puerto Rico, each of which has committed to meeting the greenhouse gas emissions goals set out in the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement was signed by 195 countries and commits each country to hold its greenhouse gas emissions to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The hearing is on January 24 at 1:30 p.m.

The second is HB 26, the Community Healthy Air Act, which would create a commission to set air quality standards for the pollutants generated by "large animal-feeding operations." The bill directs the commission to study ammonia, fine particulate matter, coarse particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds; and to identify the risk to public health of all other pollutants emitting by the animal-feeding operations.

The commission must be comprised of at least one expert in each of (i) air pollution monitoring; (ii) spatial statistics and modeling; (iii) exposure science; (iv) environmental epidemiology; (v) toxicology; (vi) human health risk assessment; or (vii) preventive medicine.

The hearing is on January 31 at 1:00 p.m.

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