Thursday, March 20, 2008

Global Warming Bill Amended With Albatross

Some good news out of the Senate today.

The Senate approved an amendment to the Global Warming Solutions Act (SB 309) that would require the Maryland Department of Energy (MDE) to submit to the legislature for approval, any regulations it would use to implement the law.

It is not an outright rejection of this abominable bill, but it does gut it significantly.

The amendment was sponsored by Prince George's County Democrat Nathaniel Exum, who was part of a group of Democrats and Republicans who were concerned about the impact the requirements would have on heavy industries in Maryland.

A group of about 60 workers and managers from the Mittal Steel, in Sparrows Point, in Baltimore County watched today's debate from the Senate gallery. They were trying to convince senators the bill would unfairly target emissions from the former Bethlehem Steel facility, and force that facility to close.

"If this goes through, I loose my job. If i loose my job I loose my home. It's as simple as that," steelworker Roger Ramsey told WBAL News.

Predictably Senator Paul Pinksy, the bill's chief proponent called the amendment "a nuisance."

Senator Nancy Jacobs offered an amendment, which would have exempted Mittal Steel in Sparrows Point, and its 2,300 workers was rejected 26-21. Senator Norman Stone, whose district the plant is located requested that his name be removed as a sponsor.

My sources tell me that the house version of the bill (HB 712) is dead in the Economic Matters committee. However, it is also joint filed in the Environmental Matters committee.

For the record, the self-described progressive champions of the working man are the head cheerleaders for passage of this bill, which could cost Roger Ramsey his home and his job.

crossposted on The Main Adversary


Gunpowder Chronicler said...

Well, I hate to be a cold-hearted member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and Lt General in the Militant Wing of the Salvation Army, but I have to ask:

What about the 70,000 technology workers in the State of Maryland who will get royally screwed come July 1 because of the addition of computer services to the sales tax?

When do I get MY amendment?

Why do we screw a relatively clean industry (unless you look at the crumbs in a programmer's keyboard), yet we let massive polluters off the hook?

Let's not forget: steel mills don't just pollute the air (and right now, greenhouse gases at that mill are not the only worry-- the entire point is being bathed in iron oxide dust particles every day) but the water too?

Here's the difference: knowledge industries don't unionize. Steel mills do. Union political donations are driving this. If those workers are laid off, the United Steelworkers Local no longer has the cash to throw around Soddom on the Severn.

Martin Watcher said...

Here's an interesting question. If the bill is dead in Economic Matters, but it is jointly assigned, I know that just Environmental Matters could move the bill forward. BUT, Environmental Matters didn't have a hearing for the bill, only Economic Matters did. How F'ed up is that, if the members of Env. Matters moves a bill they never heard.