NRDC Hails Landmark Maryland Legislation Promoting Environmentally Friendly Technology

ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 11, 2000) - Calling it the most comprehensive package of state tax incentives for climate-friendly technology, NRDC hailed the Maryland Clean Energy Incentive Act signed into law today by Gov. Parris Glendening.

The new law offers individuals and businesses a variety of sales tax and income tax reductions on purchases of energy-efficient appliances, cars, and heating and cooling equipment. It also provides incentives for producing electric power from renewable sources of energy, including solar energy, wind power and agricultural crops.

"This is a law that will reward innovation and protect the environment," said Ed Osann, NRDC's Maryland coordinator. "Public health and environmental quality in Maryland remain at risk from power plant and motor vehicle pollution. New technologies are the key to resolving these problems without major economic disruption."

The act was sponsored in the House of Delegates by Speaker Casper Taylor from Allegany County, and in the Senate by Sen. Chris Van Hollen from Montgomery County. Their legislation garnered support from a diverse coalition of Maryland business interests and environmental organizations.

"This is a landmark piece of legislation," said Kathleen Scheg, a Marylander who serves as NRDC's national legislative director. "This law should provide a model for other states -- and for the U.S. Congress -- showing them how to create market incentives for technologies that can combat global warming and save consumers money."

NRDC is a national, non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, the organization has more than 400,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Background information on the Maryland Clean Energy Incentive Act

On May 11, 2000, Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening signed the "Maryland Clean Energy Incentive Act" into law. This bill will offer Maryland's individual and business taxpayers a wide range of tax incentives for purchases and investments in clean energy technology and consumer products. Several of the incentives are first-in-the-nation policies for state governments.

The bill was supported in the General Assembly by an unusual coalition of business and environmental organizations, including NRDC, the Association of Forest Industries of Maryland, BP-Amoco, Maryland Public Interest Research Group (MaryPIRG), and the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club. The bill was sponsored in the House of Delegates by Speaker Casper Taylor and in the Senate by Sen. Chris Van Hollen.

NRDC expects the bill to increase the market in Maryland for advanced technologies that can reduce emissions that contribute to global warming and other pollution. The tax incentives for businesses and individuals under the new legislation include:

  • Suspension of Maryland's 5 percent sales tax on new energy-saving clothes washers, refrigerators and room air conditioners carrying the Energy Star label developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy;
  • Reductions in the state titling tax for new cars and light trucks of up to $2,000 for electric vehicles and up to $1,500 for efficient new combustion-electric hybrid vehicles;
  • Suspension of sales tax on purchases of highly efficient new heating and central air conditioning equipment and fuel cells for generating heat and electricity in buildings;
  • Income tax credits of up to $2,000 for purchasing and installing solar energy equipment; and
  • Income tax credits for producing and selling electric power from wind energy, landfill methane and biomass combustion, including energy crops and poultry litter, and biomass co-fired with coal.

These incentives will generally be available (with some exceptions) for purchases and investments made between July 1, 2000, and December 31, 2004. Tax credits for electricity production from renewable energy will run for 10 years. None of the incentives are permanent; all will expire after their most beneficial effects have been accomplished.

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