Maryland climate bill passes state Senate after being severely weakened:

The Global Warming Solutions Act would require a 25 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions from Maryland businesses by 2020. But under the amendment approved Thursday, the state’s environmental agency would have to get the General Assembly’s approval each time it issued rules to cut the pollution.

Shari Wilson, the state environment secretary, said the amendment would undermine her agency’s ability to implement air pollution control programs by requiring legislative approval before it could impose regulations.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“Right now, we have authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions,” Wilson said. “We are viewing this as a rollback of our existing regulatory authority.”

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“If you have to have the MDE coming back to the General Assembly every time they change a compact fluorescent light bulb, you are severely handicapping the agency from bringing to Maryland voters the solution the voters want,” [Mike] Tidwell said.