Veto Override and RPS Expansion in Maryland: Roles of Actors and the Economy

Sunday, October 1, 2017


Rio Mizuno


The excessive generation of greenhouse gases by fossil fuel electricity production, and its resulting contribution to climate change, are some of the most threatening environmental issues today. To combat this problem, many US states have adopted a renewable portfolio standard to increase electricity production by renewable sources. RPS has been successful in mitigating GHG emissions, and about half of these states have expanded their RPS goals. In this paper, I conduct a case study of Maryland’s passage of the Clean Energy Jobs Act, a bill calling for a RPS increase, and the reversal of the governor’s veto to better understand what made these events possible. I find that the state’s divided government had a significant effect in causing the clash between the sponsor of the bill and the governor- this political clash spurred arguments based on economic factors. Furthermore, I find that provisions to the bill accounting for economic impacts likely led to its passage, and that the high economic well-being of Maryland was a determining factor in the state’s implementation of the RPS. The importance of economic reasoning suggests that provisions regarding economic growth are crucial to gaining support for increased targets in renewable energy production.