To the People of Maryland

The Maryland Clean Cars Act died silently in committee last week. Ask yourself: Why?
Dear Marylanders:

Last week a bill that would have improved public health and the environment, reduced our dependence on foreign oil and promoted the use of alternative technology died silently in committee. Readers may ask themselves how such a bill, with so many positives, could have died unbeknownst to much of the state. More importantly, however, is how could a bill with so many positives have died at a time when we’re at war in the Middle East? When gas prices are at record highs? When smog continues to plague our region? When 150,000 Maryland children suffer from asthma? How? And why?

The Maryland Clean Cars Act would have put cleaner vehicles on our roadways and promoted the use of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles, but opposition from car dealers, Detroit lobbyists, and the Ehrlich administration obfuscated the positives of the bill, much to the detriment of Marylanders everywhere. A small, select group of people put their best interests in front of everyone else and, sadly, won.

Their victory will be short-lived, however. Next year, the legislation will be reintroduced, and more Marylanders will become aware of a bill that will help our state and its citizens in numerous important ways. And hopefully the 8 out of 10 Marylanders who already want to see this legislation passed will see it passed by elected officials who are representative and responsive to the needs and well-being of their constituents.

Chris Fick

The writer is a policy associate with MaryPIRG, a statewide environmental group.

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This story was published on March 21, 2005.