Editorial: Hogan, Maryland should join U.S. Climate Alliance

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan needs to make a decision: Join other states in the newly formed U.S. Climate Alliance opposing the decision to exit the Paris Agreement or continue to remain silent on President Donald Trump's actions.

Hogan, a Republican, was critical of Trump during the campaign and didn't vote for the president, but since Trump won the White House, he has avoiding taking a stance on nearly every controversial decision the president has made. For the most part, we've appreciated Hogan's insistence on focusing on Maryland while avoiding becoming embroiled in the partisan warfare in Washington, D.C.


That changed somewhat last week, when following Trump's decision to withdraw from the climate accord, a Hogan spokesperson released the following statement: "This is not an action the governor would have taken. Governor Hogan remains committed to preserving Maryland's natural resources for future generations."

The governor is clearly committed to the environment, yet has been reluctant to join the alliance.

Hogan's administration has been touting some of the state's environmental achievements lately, including his signing of the 2016 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, which includes air quality goals even more aggressive than those in the Paris Agreement. And on Thursday, Hogan was elected to serve as the chair of the Chesapeake Executive Council and, along with governors of other nearby states, signed a resolution supporting the Chesapeake Bay Program, a federal-state partnership the directs the restoration and protection of the bay — which Trump has sought to eliminate.

It was ironic that it was at the same meeting that Hogan expressed skepticism of the climate alliance, seemingly indicating Maryland will not be joining the group.

"We've already accomplished what most of [the other states] need to try to shoot for," Hogan told The Baltimore Sun.

Which is exactly why Maryland should be part of the alliance. Other states and cities could learn something by following Maryland's lead in environmental stewardship.

In fact, Hogan's logic in pushing for continued funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program — "It will take all of the bay jurisdictions and our federal partners working together to continue our progress," he said in a prepared statement Thursday — is the exact logic that should be applied when it comes to continued efforts to mitigate climate change.

Maryland might be doing great, but it's going to take state and federal governments working together — along with governments around the world — to make a real difference.

Hogan has already stated he doesn't agree with Trump's decision to abandon the Paris accord. But actions speak louder than words. The governor has not equivocally ruled out joining the alliance, but it would be a mistake to keep Maryland on the sidelines when it could be a clear leader in the climate change discussion at the state level.