September 16, 2019

September 16, 2019

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Maryland Establishes Task Force on Renewable Energy Development and Siting

Maryland’s Governor Lawrence Hogan has issued an Executive Order establishing a task force responsible for evaluating the siting of new solar and wind energy projects throughout Maryland. Gov. Hogan’s actions were prompted by the recently-enacted Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act, and his concerns surrounding the implementation of that legislation. The Task Force on Renewable Energy Development and Siting (“the Task Force”) will be composed of representatives from key state agencies, the local agricultural community, and the solar and wind energy industries.

The Executive Order aims to address conflicts that increasingly arise when large-scale renewable energy projects are slated for agricultural and/or rural areas. As the Executive Order states, “[u]nwise siting of renewable energy projects could jeopardize Maryland’s farms, forests, waterways, and wetlands.” 

The Task Force must study and develop consensus-based recommendations for “accelerating the siting of clean and renewable energy projects” on pre-developed commercial, industrial and public land while minimizing the impact of such projects on “agriculturally or ecologically important, sensitive, or valuable areas . . . .” Pre-developed commercial, industrial and public land includes but is not limited to brownfields, closed mines, landfills, parking lots, rights-of-ways, and rooftops.

When submitting its recommendations, the Task Force must also provide “detailed proposals” outlining mechanisms for the State to evaluate, review and approve solar and wind energy projects in an expedited and streamlined manner. The Task Force must also identify specific changes to State Law, policies, procedures, regulations, resources, and tool that would incentivize “responsible renewable energy development and siting.”

The Executive Order requires the Task Force to hold open, publicly accessible meetings “at such times and places as it deems appropriate and necessary.” Interested parties such as renewable energy companies, manufacturers, trade organizations, and members of the agricultural community should prepare to participate in these meetings.

The Task Force must submit its preliminary recommendations to the Governor by December 1, 2019, and its final recommendations by August 14, 2020. 

© 2019 Beveridge & Diamond PC

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About this Author

Associate

Hilary maintains a general environmental litigation and regulatory practice, working with clients nationwide across industrial sectors.

She joined the Firm following her graduation from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law (UM Carey Law). 

While at UM Carey Law, Hilary served as a law clerk in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Water Enforcement Division, and served as Articles Editor for the Maryland Law Review. She also worked in the University of...

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Benjamin E. Apple, Environmental Attorney, Beveridge & Diamond Law Firm
Associate

Ben joined the firm following his graduation from Harvard Law School, where he served as Managing Editor of the Harvard Environmental Law Review while at Harvard Law School.  He also served as Director of Academic Affairs on the Student Representative Board, and as a member of the Harvard Human Rights Clinic.  He was also a research assistant to Professor Richard J. Lazarus.

Also during law school, Ben served as a law clerk for Advocates for Human Rights in New Orleans, a law clerk for Alternatives for Community and Environment in Boston, and interned at Greater Boston Legal Services.

Prior to law school, Ben worked as a lobster fishery biologist and research diver for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Research Institute, where he designed and executed experimental research focusing on by-catch, trap movement, and habitat destruction.

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Brook J. Detterman, Beveridge Diamond, Climate Change Lawyer, Liabilities Law
Associate

Brook Detterman's practice focuses on climate change, renewable energy, and environmental litigation.

Brook helps his clients to negotiate, structure, and implement transactions related to climate change and environmental commodities markets.  He regularly counsels clients during transactions under the EU ETS, California’s cap and trade program (AB 32), and other U.S. and international emissions trading programs. Brook also supports clients in the renewable energy industry, providing advice on renewable energy policies, regulations, and...

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