BERLIN — The Maryland Energy Administration this week announced a major energy efficiency program for the state’s agricultural and farming industry named in honor of the late Kathy Mathias is now accepting applications for its second year.
In 2012, MEA officials announced the creation of the Kathleen A.P. Mathias Agriculture Energy Efficiency Program, which provides grants to farms and businesses in the agricultural sector to cover up to 50 percent of the cost of energy efficiency upgrades including solar panels and land-based wind turbines, for example. The program, named in honor of Mathias, longtime Ocean City municipal employee and wife of Senator Jim Mathias, is now in its second year.
“Last year’s program demonstrated that an investment in Maryland’s agricultural sector helps our farms and farm businesses save money and energy,” said MEA Director Abigail Ross Hopper this week. “This not only helps the state reach its goals of reducing overall energy consumption by 50 percent by 2015 and increasing our renewable energy generation to 20 percent by 2022, but also helps our agriculture sector stay competitive and innovative.”
Through the program, MEA will distribute grants ranging from $25,000 to $200,000 to ease the cost of installing eligible energy efficiency technologies. The measures must enable a minimum of 20 percent in energy savings in the buildings or areas where the projects are completed.
Jim Mathias said this week he is pleased Kathy’s legacy of giving and advocacy will be continued.
“My children, Lauren and Trevor, and I are both humbled and honored that Kathy’s life continues to be memorialized through this program,” he said. “Kathy was fully dedicated to the people and lifestyle of the Eastern Shore and very fond of our rural and farming communities. Even through her most difficult challenges, Kathy continued to renew her boundless energy and positive attitude, which exemplifies this program. The MEA has continued to help farmers use best practices to promote energy efficiency while saving money.”
In related news, Senate Bill 641, the Kathleen A. Mathias Oral Chemotherapy Improvement Act of 2014 had a hearing in committee on Wednesday. Last year, Jim Mathias successfully put forth legislation that would make insurers provide coverage for both oral and intravenous chemotherapy treatments, and the newest bill introduced this year would ensure the same coverage under the Maryland Healthcare Exchange.