Bethesda Green group in Annapolis bringing Honest Tea to the green business meet and greet.

Bethesda Green group in Annapolis bringing Honest Tea to the green business meet and greet.

A group of about 30 Bethesda Greeners traveled to Annapolis on Wednesday evening, March 24, to co-host a green business reception for state legislators.

Many of the entrepreneurs leading our incubator companies participated, including Barry Chenkin of Aquabarrel, Peter Wilson of Glen Eco Vapor Systems, Lynn Miller of 4GreenPs/OrganicMania.com, Mike Kennedy of the Maryland Energy and Sustainability Co-op and Jason Schwartz of BKind Vending. A score of BG volunteers came as well; our contingent made up about half of the crowd!

Del. Tom Hucker (Dem, District 20) helped to arrange the event, which took place in the Lowe House Office Building. Hucker, who represents part of Silver Spring and sits on the House of Delegates’ Environmental Matters Committee, told the gathering of green business people from across the state that he relies on green businesses to tell him what they need and to advise him on green issues. He urged more green businesses to get involved in the legislative process. “We’re very accessible,” he said.

State Delegate Tom Hucker and Bethesda Green Executive Director Dave Feldman

State Delegate Tom Hucker and Bethesda Green Executive Director Dave Feldman

A host of other legislators and government officials also gave brief remarks. Christian S. Johansson, Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development, noted that “the green economy is now,” and quipped that his work is all about jobs, green jobs.

Del. Maggie McIntosh (Dem., District 43), chair of the Environmental Matters Committee, said green jobs “are the kind of jobs we want to grow in Maryland.” In response to a question about the status of proposed large-scale wind energy projects in the state, she replied, “Sometimes it takes a while to work through local issues with respect to large wind projects.”

Del. Sue Hecht (Dem., District 3A), who sits on the Economic Matters Committee and is a member of the green caucus, noted that better, more equitable net-metering rules are going through this year, but that the PACE legislation “is almost on a deathwatch,” because the lien language has created big problems for the banks. (PACE stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy loans, which are the basis of the Clean Energy Loans Bill. These loans are added to the property tax on your house and paid off over 10 or 15 years—thus making large-dollar energy improvements such as solar power more affordable. They also convey with the house.)

Sen. Brian Frosh (Dem., District 16) gave an honest assessment of the green business sector in Maryland: “It’s beautiful to see these industries grow up, but it’s taking way too long.”

Sen. Jamie Raskin (Dem., District 20) announced that the State Senate had just that day passed the Green Maryland Act, which will give preference in state purchasing to green products. Of course now the House has to pass it as well.

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