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July 01, 2020

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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. 

© 2020 Beveridge & Diamond PC National Law Review, Volume IX, Number 234


About this Author

Hilary T. Jacobs Environmental Litigation Attorney Beveridge & Diamond Washington, DC

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 Maryland’s Environmental Law Clinic to...

Benjamin E. Apple Environmental Litigation Attorney Beveridge & Diamond Washington, DC

Ben helps clients navigate the complex environmental regulatory and litigation landscape of renewable energy development, brownfields due diligence and acquisition, and Superfund cleanups.

Ben also works closely on general environmental compliance issues surrounding electrical utilities in his role supporting firm Chairman Ben Wilson with his duties as Court-Appointed Monitor for the Duke Energy coal ash spill remediation project.

Ben’s core practice areas include:

  • Navigating the myriad environmental issues that arise in renewable energy development from land acquisition to environmental permitting to end-of-life waste management;
  • Guiding clients through the acquisition and leasing of brownfields, including due diligence and risk management;
  • Advising clients on defending against Superfund liability and negotiating remediation plans at major cleanup sites across the nation;
  • Litigating complex Superfund and tort matters arising out of historical contamination and present-day cleanups; and
  • Designing and implementing environmental, health, and safety (EHS) compliance systems to ensure regulatory compliance, especially in the electrical utility sector.

Prior to joining Beveridge & Diamond, Ben studied at Harvard Law School, where he served as a managing editor of the Harvard Environmental Law Review. Prior to law school, Ben worked as a lobster fishery biologist and research diver for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Research Institute.

Ben is located in Chapel Hill, NC, and practices out of our Washington, DC office.

Brook Detterman Environmental Litigation Attorney Beveridge & Diamond Boston, MA

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

Brook helps his clients to navigate domestic and international climate change programs, develop renewable energy projects, and generate carbon offsets.  He helps his clients to negotiate, structure, and implement transactions related to carbon offsets and renewable energy, and works with clients during all phases of renewable energy and carbon offset project development.  Brook also represents clients during complex environmental litigation, having served as litigation and appellate counsel...