Perhaps no threat to our economy and way of life is greater than the threat of climate change. Every elected official in Maryland, including the Comptroller, must be actively engaged in meeting this challenge head on. Climate change is already affecting almost every aspect of our state from the economy to the health of our citizens to the preservation of our cultural heritage. Its consequences will become much more serious in the years ahead and will significantly impact important environmental, social, and infrastructure assets. To prepare for climate change, the State needs a detailed understanding of future impacts, and a long-term strategic plan that outlines the role for all state agencies. Coordination for these actions can begin within the operations of the Office of the Comptroller. Making climate resilience one of the key pillars of the Comptroller’s Office will ensure that all decision-making and functions have a “climate lens” by which to define future actions.
The Comptroller’s office will take the lead role analyzing implications for the State’s budget and identifying areas of greatest risk. This will ensure climate resilience planning and financing become a priority for decision-makers at all levels of the state government. The Comptroller’s Office will play a leadership role channeling capital essential for climate mitigation and adaptation. Brooke will champion and help develop a set of criteria to evaluate state expenditures based on equity and justice impacts. In the environmental and infrastructure space specifically, she will advocate for tools for assessing the greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction return of investments (ROI). Climate risks also need to be considered in managing state pension funds and other financial instruments.
Brooke will create a Maryland Climate Resilience Officer located in the Comptroller’s office. This executive-level staff member will advise the Comptroller on procurement practices, investments, planning, and risk reduction measures, as well as environmental justice concerns. She will interact with state agencies and be a resource to local governments to help mitigate the impacts of climate change, promote state opportunities for financing, and ensure that communities that have historically faced disproportionate amounts of pollution and litter are actively engaged with and invested in.
Brooke will re-evaluate the State’s procurement practices to allow the ability to acquire and/or upgrade more energy efficient buildings and vehicles reducing energy costs and pollution.
Brooke will work across state lines to learn best practices and develop accountability standards. She will leverage special purpose funds and support the creation of additional funds to hold polluters accountable and create additional producer responsibility programs in the future that help Maryland’s bottom line and empower our local governments, while also reducing waste in landfills and incinerators.
As Comptroller, Brooke will hold agencies accountable for transparency and good governance when it comes to environmental sustainability. Brooke will also drive their work to improve Maryland government waste diversion, ensuring agencies have cutting edge composting, recycling, and litter reduction programs.
Brooke will support offshore wind so that Maryland can be a national leader in an expanding industry. Maryland’s current Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) aims to source 25 percent of all electricity consumed in the state from renewable energy by the year 2020. The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 created a special “carve-out” for offshore wind not to exceed 2.5 percent (estimated to be equivalent to about 480 MW) of the overall RPS. The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) manages the application and review process for offshore wind developers. Brooke would propose additional financial support for projects in the form of Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credits (OREC) and beyond. She would extend the “carve-out” to not to exceed 20 percent. Brooke would also work with the federal government to offer additional leases as needed to offshore wind projects. Brooke would also work to ensure that offshore projects receive the permits needed to ensure efficient development of the offshore wind projects.