Senator Mary Beth Carozza today thanked the members of the Board of Public Works for unanimously approving a wetlands permit that would allow for natural gas to be brought into Somerset County, which is one of only three counties in Maryland without access to natural gas.  

“I am grateful for the strong support of this Shore economic priority and would like to thank everyone who made their voices heard during this process. As Somerset County’s sole representative in the Maryland Senate, I have made it a top priority to work with local residents, businesses, and area elected officials to bring natural gas to Somerset County,” Senator Carozza said.

“Delivering natural gas to Somerset County will bring jobs to the area, provide a cleaner and more cost-effective energy than current sources, and reduce CO2 emissions at Eastern Correctional Institution and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore by 65 percent and 35 percent, respectively. Cost savings would be significant as the State of Maryland has spent approximately $10 million to maintain the boiler and co-generation facility.”

During her testimony, Senator Carozza highlighted the benefits of bringing natural gas to Somerset County, including the development of an anaerobic digestion facility that will produce renewable natural gas (RNG) while simultaneously addressing the issue of nutrient runoff from poultry waste. Carozza also noted in her testimony that Somerset County and UMES have implemented alternative energy projects over the years, including solar, wind, and waste-to-energy projects, and that she would expect future renewable energy projects to move forward as natural gas is brought to Somerset County.

“Counter to the statements made by some outside groups, Somerset County and UMES have explored and implemented multiple alternative energy projects over the years. The recent UMES Clean Renewable Energy Plan demonstrates its commitment to reducing energy consumption and its carbon footprint,” Senator Carozza added, noting that a majority of opposition for this project came from special interest groups and organizations based outside of Somerset County and her district. “Bringing natural gas to Somerset County is long overdue, and local residents, businesses, and community leaders overwhelmingly support this project.”

Testifying in support of this project alongside Senator Carozza included University of Maryland Eastern Shore President Heidi Anderson, Speaker Pro Tem Sheree Sample Hughes (Dorchester and Wicomico), Delegate Charles Otto (Somerset and Worcester), Delegate Carl Anderton (Wicomico), Somerset County Commission President Craig Mathies, and Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bill Chambers.

The Board of Public Works is composed of Governor Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot, and Treasurer Nancy Kopp, who are responsible for ensuring that significant state expenditures are carried out in a lawful, fiscally-responsible way. Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford today stepped in and ran the BPW meeting, along with other day-to-day operations for the State of Maryland, as Governor Hogan focuses Maryland’s COVID-19 emergency response.   

Senator Mary Beth Carozza testifying in support of bringing natural gas to Somerset County at the December 2, 2020 Board of Public Works meeting.

Mary Beth Carozza for State Senate