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Racial Justice Response Statement

June 4, 2020

The Maryland League of Conservation Voters and Maryland LCV Education Fund share your outrage, grief, and pain over the killings of George Floyd and other members of the Black community. We steadfastly stand in solidarity with those calling for justice, accountability, and an end to the systemic racism and insidious cycle of violence that is inflicted upon the community. For too long, too many Black communities have been disenfranchised, marginalized, polluted, and prevented from voting, speaking up, or even living without fear of arrest, injury, or worse. Black people have a right to safety, to enjoy the outdoors, to live without being harmed by environmental pollutants, and to vote. And we all have the responsibility to fight for these rights.

Maryland LCV commits to holding ourselves accountable to ensure racial equity is embedded in our programs and operations. We also commit to redoubling our efforts to elect and hold accountable leaders who will ensure the security and rights of all people equally and to continue our work to guarantee that all Marylanders – especially our Black and Brown brothers and sisters  – have an effective political voice and access to clean air and water and safe and healthy communities. We commit to being an organization that works tirelessly on behalf of all Marylanders, but especially members of Maryland’s Black and Brown communities, to protect the right to vote, to protest, to breathe.

For all in the Conservation Voter Movement and beyond who want to act now to be part of the solution, we urge you to seek out organizations and individuals that have been working on the front lines of this essential work to protect protestors and our basic human rights and dignity during this time.  We also strongly urge you to be part of the solution this November by exercising your right to vote.

National LCV’s statement

Below are a few articles that we will be taking to heart:

By |2020-06-04T17:21:44-04:00June 4th, 2020|Categories: Blog, Diversity, Press|Tags: , |0 Comments

The time is now to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Looking up through the trees into a clear sunny skyMaryland is filled with hidden treasures of natural beauty. A true “America in miniature,” our wonderful state has towering tree-covered mountains in the west, and long stretches of sand-covered beaches on our Eastern Shore, and is home to the bountiful Chesapeake Bay. 

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has supported or enhanced the protection of many of the most special parks and other natural areas across the state. The Fund was permanently authorized in 2019, but that does not guarantee that the $900 million put into the LWCF account every year will be spent on conservation. Over the 55 years of the program, billions of dollars have been siphoned from the fund for other non-conservation purposes. In fact, this past fiscal year 2020, only $495 million was appropriated to LWCF—far short of full funding, and yet the highest amount in 15 years.

That means the money that should have gone to increasing recreation opportunity for all, protecting our parks from being sold off to the highest bidder, providing close-to-home playgrounds and ballfields to support healthy kids and families, safeguarding our drinking water supplies, and keeping working forests in sustainable operation instead of subdivided and developed — went somewhere else. 

There has been unprecedented bipartisan support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act in both the House and Senate. On March 3, President Trump announced via Twitter that he would sign permanent LWCF funding legislation and funding for our National Parks. Since then, major developments are underway to introduce and pass such a joint bill in the Senate, by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Cory Gardner (R-CO).  We expect the House to introduce similar legislation soon. (Information from: https://www.lwcfcoalition.com/fundlwcf)

So, what can we do to help the fight to #FundLWCF? 

It is crucial that our elected officials hear from the people who love our public lands, benefit from LWCF in their home communities, enjoy having open space in their cities and towns, like having their drinking water protected, and want to secure access to lands and waters for recreational activities. 

Contacting your Members of Congress, via phone, email, social media, etc, and signing the petition are great ways to help #FundLWCF>>

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has provided funding to help protect some of Maryland’s most special places and ensure recreational access for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. 

Maryland has received approximately $231.8 million in LWCF funding over the past five decades, protecting places such as the Assateague Island National Seashore, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Monocacy National Battlefield and the C&O Canal National Historic Park.

Forest Legacy Program (FLP) grants are also funded under LWCF, to help protect working forests. The FLP cost-share funding supports timber sector jobs and sustainable forest operations while enhancing wildlife habitat, water quality and recreation. 

For example, the FLP contributed to places such as the Broad Creek in Dublin and the Coastal Bay project in Snow Hill. FLP has directly protected 2,014 acres in Maryland. The program assists states and private forest owners to maintain working forest lands through matching grants for permanent conservation easement and fee acquisitions, and has leveraged approximately $4.6 million in federal funds to invest in Maryland’s forests. These forests enhance air and water quality and provide wildlife habitat and recreational access.

LWCF state assistance grants have further supported hundreds of projects across Maryland’s state and local parks including Conquest Waterfront Preserve in Queen Anne’s County and Seneca State Park in Montgomery County.

Economic Benefits

Active outdoor recreation is an important part of the Maryland economy. The Outdoor Industry Association has found that active outdoor recreation generates $14 billion in consumer spending in Maryland; provides 109,000 jobs that generate $4.4 billion in wages and salaries; and produces nearly $951 million annually in state and local tax revenue. Further, the U.S. Census reports that each year over 2.7 million people hunt, fish, or enjoy wildlife-watching in Maryland, contributing over $1.6 billion in wildlife recreation spending to the state economy.

Funding in Maryland

Federal Total $ 134,400,000
Forest Legacy Program $ 4,600,000
American Battlefield Protection Program $ 3,000,000
Habitat Conservation (Sec. 6) $ 3,500,000
State Program Total State Grants $ 85,300,000
Total $ 231,800,000

Resources:

Factsheet of Maryland LWCF

Majority Leader Hoyer: The time is now to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Maryland is filled with hidden treasures of natural beauty. A true “America in miniature,” our wonderful state has towering tree-covered mountains in the west, and long stretches of sand-covered beaches on our Eastern Shore, and is home to the bountiful Chesapeake Bay. 

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has supported or enhanced the protection of many of the most special parks and other natural areas across the state. The Fund was permanently authorized in 2019, but that does not guarantee that the $900 million put into the LWCF account every year will be spent on conservation. Over the 55 years of the program, billions of dollars have been siphoned from the fund for other non-conservation purposes. In fact, this past fiscal year 2020, only $495 million was appropriated to LWCF—far short of full funding, and yet the highest amount in 15 years.

That means the money that should have gone to increasing recreation opportunity for all, protecting our parks from being sold off to the highest bidder, providing close-to-home playgrounds and ballfields to support healthy kids and families, safeguarding our drinking water supplies, and keeping working forests in sustainable operation instead of subdivided and developed — went somewhere else. 

There has been unprecedented bipartisan support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act in both the House and Senate. On March 3, President Trump announced via Twitter that he would sign permanent LWCF funding legislation and funding for our National Parks. Since then, major developments are underway to introduce and pass such a joint bill in the Senate, by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Cory Gardner (R-CO).  We expect the House to introduce similar legislation soon. (Information from: https://www.lwcfcoalition.com/fundlwcf)

So, what can we do to help the fight to #FundLWCF? 

It is crucial that our elected officials hear from the people who love our public lands, benefit from LWCF in their home communities, enjoy having open space in their cities and towns, like having their drinking water protected, and want to secure access to lands and waters for recreational activities. 

Contacting your Members of Congress, via phone, email, social media, etc, and signing the petition are great ways to help #FundLWCF>>

Here’s a partial list of public lands in our state that receive funding directly through the Land and Water Conservation Fund in District 5- are any of these your favorites?

Park/ Facility  Address
Belts Woods Natural Environmental Area    Church Rd, Bowie, MD 20721
Calvert Cliffs State Park 10540 H G Trueman Rd, Lusby, MD 20657
Cedarville State Forest 10201 Bee Oak Rd, Brandywine, MD 20613
Chapel Point State Park Chapel Point Rd, Port Tobacco, MD 20677
Hallowing Point Boating Facilities  Prince Frederick, Calvert Co
Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary and Visitor Center  11704 Fenno Rd, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Patuxent River NRMA  (Various)
Point Lookout State Park 11175 Point Lookout Rd, Scotland, MD 20687
Rosaryville State Park 7805 W Marlton Ave, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Smallwood State Park  2750 Sweden Point Rd, Marbury, MD 20658
St. Clement’s Island State Park Coltons Point, MD 20626
St. Mary’s River State Park/Fishing Lake  21250 Camp Cosoma Rd, Leonardtown, MD 20650
Zekiah Swamp Natural Environmental Area  La Plata, MD 20646
Nanjemoy WMA  8420 Riverside Rd, Nanjemoy, MD 20662

 

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has provided funding to help protect some of Maryland’s most special places and ensure recreational access for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. 

Maryland has received approximately $231.8 million in LWCF funding over the past five decades, protecting places such as the Assateague Island National Seashore, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Monocacy National Battlefield and the C&O Canal National Historic Park.

Forest Legacy Program (FLP) grants are also funded under LWCF, to help protect working forests. The FLP cost-share funding supports timber sector jobs and sustainable forest operations while enhancing wildlife habitat, water quality and recreation. 

For example, the FLP contributed to places such as the Broad Creek in Dublin and the Coastal Bay project in Snow Hill. FLP has directly protected 2,014 acres in Maryland. The program assists states and private forest owners to maintain working forest lands through matching grants for permanent conservation easement and fee acquisitions, and has leveraged approximately $4.6 million in federal funds to invest in Maryland’s forests. These forests enhance air and water quality and provide wildlife habitat and recreational access.

LWCF state assistance grants have further supported hundreds of projects across Maryland’s state and local parks including Conquest Waterfront Preserve in Queen Anne’s County and Seneca State Park in Montgomery County.

Economic Benefits

Active outdoor recreation is an important part of the Maryland economy. The Outdoor Industry Association has found that active outdoor recreation generates $14 billion in consumer spending in Maryland; provides 109,000 jobs that generate $4.4 billion in wages and salaries; and produces nearly $951 million annually in state and local tax revenue. Further, the U.S. Census reports that each year over 2.7 million people hunt, fish, or enjoy wildlife-watching in Maryland, contributing over $1.6 billion in wildlife recreation spending to the state economy.

Funding in Maryland

Federal Total $ 134,400,000
Forest Legacy Program $ 4,600,000
American Battlefield Protection Program $ 3,000,000
Habitat Conservation (Sec. 6) $ 3,500,000
State Program Total State Grants $ 85,300,000
Total $ 231,800,000

Resources:

Factsheet of Maryland LWCF

Maryland LCV Education Fund Responds to Urgent COVID-19 Need by Raising Funds for Langley Park Latino Community

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 21, 2020

Contact: Dannielle Lipinski, 443-617-7257, dlipinski@mdlcv.org                                                                                            En español

Maryland LCV Education Fund Responds to Urgent COVID-19 Need by Raising Funds for Langley Park Latino Community
Longtime Maryland LCV partners have been disproportionately harmed by coronavirus pandemic

Annapolis, MD – Maryland League of Conservation Voters Ed Fund (Maryland LCV Ed Fund) is responding to the COVID-19 crisis by launching a fundraiser for a key Latino community
partner in Prince George’s County.

“Through our Chispa Maryland program, we have partnered with many Latino community groups who share our goal of protecting our air, land, water, and public health,” said Chispa Maryland Program Director Ramon Palencia-Calvo. “The Langley Park community in Prince George’s County, where upwards of 80% of the residents are Latino, has been an especially committed and effective partner. Because the community has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, we want to do all we can to help them weather this storm.”

“The coronavirus pandemic has created an extreme need in the Langley Park community, one of the most affected in Maryland”, said Palencia-Calvo. “Immigrant community members are experiencing income loss due to layoffs or significant reduction of work hours, and many have been unable to access federal assistance programs or other relief efforts”.

In response, Maryland LCV Education Fund and Chispa Maryland are partnering with the Langley Park Civic Association, a nonprofit organization that serves individuals residing in Langley Park, to assist its immigrant residents during the coronavirus pandemic. Jointly, the two organizations are setting up a GoFundMe page to raise funds that will help provide families with emergency assistance for rent, food, medicine, and other essential items. Maryland LCV Ed Fund is also fundraising from other sources for the community.

“This pandemic has highlighted the inequities that exist in our communities,” said Angela Gonzalez, board president of the Langley Park Civic Association. “We have families, youth, and seniors who have contributed greatly to Maryland’s economic development by working hard and paying taxes, yet many of them do not have access to the most basic services such as health insurance, financial assistance, and other support. We have learned of many families with extreme needs that are not being met and it is our duty as fellow neighbors and community members to step up and fill this void so our families can survive and navigate this crisis.”

The organizations plan to have the GoFundMe go live on Thursday May 21. For more information, visit the Maryland LCV Education Fund website at https://www.marylandconservation.org/

###

The Maryland LCV Education Fund, a non-profit, non partisan organization,works to strengthen the Maryland environmental community by growing a base of conservation-minded voters across the state. A leading environmental organization in Annapolis, we have advocated for smart environmental policies working to make Maryland a healthy and prosperous place for families and communities. Maryland LCV Ed Fund protects public health by fighting for restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and local waters, preserving green spaces, promoting smarter growth and increasing Maryland’s investment in clean energy.

Chispa, meaning “spark” in Spanish, is a program of Maryland League of Conservation Voters Ed Fund launched in 2014. Chispa Maryland has been working to ensure that Maryland Latino
families and community leaders are a powerful voice for protecting the environment, our health, and our future. Chispa works with Latino families, community groups, faith-based organizations, and legislators to identify and address unique environmental issues facing Latino communities in Maryland.

By |2020-05-21T09:02:50-04:00May 21st, 2020|Categories: Press|Tags: , |0 Comments

There’s an urgent need in our community — here’s how you can help

By Ramon Palencia-Calvo, Deputy Director and Chispa Maryland Director                                                        En español

  Together we give

Through our Chispa Maryland program, we have developed transformational relationships with a variety of environmental and community groups. The Prince George’s County community of Langley Park,where upwards of 80% of the residents are Latino, has become one of our most effective and valued partners. 

Our Chispa Maryland program and community leaders and residents of Langley Park have collaborated on environmental education workshops, advocacy opportunities, community clean ups, environmental forums, and air quality monitoring. I know I can always count on the Langley Park community to go the extra mile in support of the environmental issues that are so important to all of us.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic is severely threatening the Langley Park community, one of the most affected areas in all of Maryland. Latino community members are experiencing income loss due to layoffs or significant reduction of work hours, and many have been unable to access federal assistance or other relief programs. 

Join our effort today to support our partners in need, Our campaign ends on May 31st>>

Over 30 Environmental Justice and Action Promotores from this community have graduated from our program. These Promotores and leaders have become the heart and soul of the Chispa Maryland program, and this community has helped us advance environmental legislation and policies, such as the Clean Energy Jobs Act, the Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign, and banning styrofoam in Prince George’s County. 

In response to the needs of our community allies, Chispa Maryland is partnering with the Langley Park Civic Association, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that serves individuals residing in Langley Park, to assist its immigrant community directly affected by COVID-19 and the broader pandemic.  This organization and the people they represent have been key partners in helping Chispa Maryland advocate for climate justice.

They have stood with us to advance our joint environmental priorities, and now they need us to stand with them. Join us today in support of the Langley Park community and our 10 day campaign to raise funds directly to those in need>>

The Langley Park Civic Association will identify families that require critically urgent financial assistance for rent, food, medicine, or other essential items. The funds will be used to provide direct financial relief to those families who might have been rejected from other funding sources, have received only partial relief, or have emergency needs that are simply too urgent to undergo a complex administrative process. 

Check out our press release here.

Thank you and I hope you and your families are well in this time,

headshot of ramon palencia calvo

Ramon Palencia-Calvo, Deputy Executive Director and Chispa Maryland Director
Maryland LCV Ed Fund and Chispa Maryland

By |2020-05-20T21:38:02-04:00May 20th, 2020|Categories: Blog, Diversity, Donor, Successes|Tags: , |0 Comments

Everyone Votes Maryland- Webinar

Thank you to everyone who was able to join us Wednesday night for the Everyone Votes Maryland- The State of Voting webinar. We had a great turnout and went through the ins and outs of voting for the primary and general election.

As Maryland continues to grapple with challenges of the COVID-19 virus, a number of emergency measures have been put in place to protect public health and every Marylander’s right to vote in the upcoming June 2, 2020 Primary Election. This webinar was hosted on May 13, 2020 by the Everyone Votes Maryland coalition.

And here are the slides from the webinar for download or print.

Here’s the recorded webinar:

Topics discussed include changes made to the upcoming election, the impact these changes have on different groups of voters, and how to ensure you are able to exercise your right to vote.

Featured Speakers:

  • Kristen Harbeson, MD League of Conservation Voters
  • Nicole Hanson-Mundell, Out for Justice
  • Ben Jackson, Disability Rights MD
  • Joanne Antoine, Common Cause MD
  • Ralph Watkins, League of Women Voters MD
  • Qiana Johnson, Life After Release
  • Rev. Kobi Little, NAACP
  • Baltimore Sergio España, ACLU MD
  • Cristi Demowicz, Represent MD
  • Emily Scarr, Maryland PIRG
  • Yaheiry Mora, CASA
  • Tasmin Swanson, Baltimore Votes
  • Jay Hutchins, Planned Parenthood of MD

    Attendees were provided with opportunity to ask questions at the end of the webinar.