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Hogan sends strong signal Maryland won't join climate alliance

Gov. Larry Hogan gave perhaps his strongest indication yet that Maryland won't join the United States Climate Alliance, a group opposed to President Donald Trump's decision to abandon the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

"We're not sure what the intention of the group is," Hogan said Thursday at an Annapolis meeting of the Chesapeake Executive Council. The panel was gathered to discuss the future of the Chesapeake Bay Program, a federal-state partnership Trump has proposed eliminating.

Maryland is already ahead of most states in imposing clean-air standards that outpace federal regulations, he said.

"We've already accomplished what most of them need to try to shoot for," he said.

A dozen mostly Democratic states formed the alliance to express their commitment to the Paris climate pact despite Trump's decision to abandon it. The United States is now one of three countries that isn't party to the agreement, which sets country-by-country targets to help slow or reverse global climate change.

Member states include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington state. Puerto Rico has also joined.

Hogan, a Republican, is among a handful of governors who have publicly expressed support for the Paris agreement — and concern over the Republican president's decision to leave it — without joining the alliance. Others include Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, both Democrats.

Hogan aides had previously said the governor was still learning about the initiative, and that he disagreed with Trump's decision.

For his part, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Thursday he agreed to join the group as "a show of unity more than anything else."

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