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Statement from Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble on the announcement of a Maryland Racial Impact Statement Pilot Project

Statement from Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble on the announcement of a Maryland Racial Impact Statement Pilot Project

“We applaud President Ferguson and Speaker Jones’s efforts to recognize and minimize the impact of systemic racism on criminal justice issues. Racial inequities affect so many elements of everyday life for Marylanders, including the disproportionate burden of pollution on communities of color. President Ferguson and Speaker Jones have taken an important step toward fairer decision-making and policies.” 

By |2021-03-24T13:48:03-04:00February 2nd, 2021|Categories: DEIJ, Press|Tags: , , |0 Comments

COUNTY EXEC PITTMAN, COUNCIL MEMBERS LACEY, RODVIEN, PICKARD, & PRUSKI FARE WELL IN MID-TERM ENVIRONMENTAL SCORECARD

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Bob Gallagher (410) 263-2417, riverkeeper@comcast.net
February 1, 2021

COUNTY EXEC PITTMAN, COUNCIL MEMBERS LACEY, RODVIEN, PICKARD, & PRUSKI FARE WELL IN MID-TERM ENVIRONMENTAL SCORECARD
Maryland Anne Arundel Chapter’s Report Card Lauds Positive Conservation Shift for Council Since December 2019

(Annapolis, MD) – County Executive Steuart Pittman and four of seven county council members received strong grades in a new environmental report card released by the Anne Arundel Chapter of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

The report card’s positive grades – which heavily weighted forest conservation and general leadership and support for conservation efforts – reflect a major change in environmental direction for the county since Pittman assumed his executive role in December 2019. Council members Nathan Volke, Amanda Fiedler, and Jessica Haire were the only council members who received poor grades from the Chapter.

County Executive Pittman’s overall performance received an A grade thanks to “his outstanding record and the broad support he earned from the environmental community.”

“The 2018 elections brought us the strongest conservation minded Anne Arundel County government we have had in recent memory,” said Maryland League of Conservation Voters Anne Arundel County representative, Bob Gallagher. “Thanks to County Executive Pittman’s leadership, the County is heading in a very positive direction when it comes to the conservation of our threatened natural resources.”

Gallagher particularly praised strong improvements to the county’s forest conservation law, sponsored by county council member Lisa Rodvien with Pittman’s strong support.

“The administration poured enormous effort into shepherding the forest conservation proposal through the county council in the face of fierce opposition from developers,” said Gallagher. “The resulting bill is a major improvement over the previous law.”

 The report also graded the council on the Styrofoam ban, environmental protection and stormwater fees, and a bill that limited density increase in conservation areas.

The Chapter’s report card covered the period starting with the swearing in of the new county council and county executive in December 2018 through October 2020. Grades were based on the following factors:

  •       votes of each council member on bills and amendments relating to conservation issues.
  •       sponsoring, supporting bills and building support for conservation initiatives, whether or not those initiatives resulted in bills or enacted legislation.
  •       public comments on conservation issues and their responsiveness to the concerns of the environmental community.
  •       views of environmental leaders and organizations in the county.

View the full report card here:

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Maryland LCV is known for educating lawmakers and holding them accountable for their leadership and votes on key environmental issues. Their annual scorecard, along with other reports, help inform voters about their legislators’ records.

By |2021-02-01T10:16:10-05:00February 1st, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Statement by Ramon Palencia-Calvo in Support of the Transit Safety and Investment Act Kickoff

Statement by Ramón Palencia-Calvo in Support of the Transit Safety and Investment Act Kickoff

Maryland LCV is a state-wide, nonpartisan organization, and we use political action and education to protect our environment and communities. We are particularly focused on the intersection of climate and environmental equity. That’s why we see this bill as a priority for all of us.

We are experiencing a climate crisis — and carbon emissions are causing this crisis. We are all aware of the effects of climate change in Maryland, including extreme weather events, such as floods and heat waves. With more than 3,000 miles of shoreline and 265,000 acres of land that is less than five feet above sea level, our coasts are extremely vulnerable to sea-level rise. 

The pollution from carbon emissions not only fuels climate change, but also has a devastating effect on our health — and especially the health of our underserved communities.

Simply stated, transportation is inextricably linked both to our climate and to the well-being of our communities. We need to act now.

Unfortunately, the urgency of this issue was ignored last year. Climate policy was a significant area of failure for the 2020 General Assembly. That’s why Maryland LCV gave the General Assembly an “F” for Transportation in our 2020 Environmental Scorecard.

Many of the bills that did not make the cut last year, like the Transit Safety and Investment Act, would have made  Maryland more resilient to future calamities and to the climate change impacts that we are already experiencing.

Why is this bill so important for the climate? Our transportation sector, mainly consisting of single occupancy vehicles, is the largest source of GHG emissions in Maryland, accounting for 40 percent of total emissions.

A well-funded transit system will help reduce the number of cars and trucks on roads and the number of miles travelled by these vehicles, and thereby reduce overall GHG emissions. On average,  a single occupancy vehicle produces more than double the amount of CO2 per passenger mile than public transit.  This is paramount because we cannot fix our climate problems  if we do not address the leading source of GHG emissions.

The Transit Safety and Investment Acts is not only important for the climate. This bill is also an important equity bill because public transit is a crucial factor in helping families  move out of poverty. If we allow our public transit system to fall into continued disrepair, the ability of Marylanders to recover economically now and after the pandemic will be adversely impacted.  We cannot fix equity problems if we don’t address accessibility to jobs.

Finally, this is also a public health bill. The health impacts of pollution from the transportation sector are widely documented.  This pollution contributes to everything from respiratory disease, such as bronchitis and asthma, to cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Reducing pollution from cars will have a direct impact on health, especially those in urban areas and communities located near highways.

A well-funded transit system is essential for our communities, our climate, and our public health. Let’s make sure 2021 is the year of the Transit Safety and Investment Act.

By |2021-01-20T07:19:09-05:00January 20th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Press|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Statement by Executive Director Kim Coble on the Passing of Maryland Senate President Emeritus Mike Miller

Statement by Executive Director Kim Coble on the Passing of Maryland Senate President Emeritus Mike Miller

January 15, 2021

Our thoughts and prayers are with Maryland Senate President Emeritus Mike Miller’s family as we hear of his passing today. For the past 33 years, he led the Maryland State Senate with sharp political acumen and strong commitment to serving not only his District 27 constituents but all Marylanders. His lasting influence will be seen in the people he has mentored over the decades, many of whom have risen to be leaders in their own right. Maryland LCV is thankful for his leadership, his dedication and lifetime of public service.

Baltimore Sun article on his life.

By |2021-01-15T20:35:50-05:00January 15th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Press|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Statement by Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble on the US Capitol Siege and other Election-related Threats

Statement by Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble on the US Capitol Siege and other Election-related Threats

As we embark on a new legislative session and opportunity for Marylanders to promote and pass equitable laws and policies for clean water, healthy air, and a resilient climate, Maryland LCV remains committed to building long-term, nonpartisan, mutually beneficial relationships that are based on respect and trust. 

Fair, free, and equitable elections are integral to our work and are the bedrock of our democracy. Respecting the will of the majority, reflected in the outcome of the popular and electoral college votes, and ensuring a smooth transition from one administration to the next, is the responsibility of all Americans. 

We condemn the violent January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and any attempts to suppress democracy, steal elections, subvert the will of the majority, or interfere with  the voting rights of Black and Brown communities.

We ask our fellow Marylanders to uplift the voices of our communities on issues that are important to them. And we call on all Maryland elected officials to denounce attacks on American democracy and to join us in our commitment to strengthening voting rights, access, and protection for all.

By |2021-03-24T13:48:03-04:00January 14th, 2021|Categories: Blog, DEIJ, Press|Tags: , |0 Comments

MARYLAND LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS UNVEILS LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES FOR THE 2021 MARYLAND GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSION

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2021

MARYLAND LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS UNVEILS LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES FOR THE 2021 MARYLAND GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSION
 Top Environmental Group to Focus on Bills Addressing the Climate Crisis and advancing Environmental Justice

 
Annapolis, MD – On the first day of the 2021 Maryland General Assembly Legislative session, Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV) announced their legislative priorities, with a specific focus on comprehensively addressing the climate crisis and the disproportionate impacts of pollution on Maryland’s underrepresented communities.

“Climate change is an urgent threat facing our country and our state,” said Maryland LCV board chair, Lynn Heller.  Heller, whose term as board chair began just last month, said that the organization is approaching the 2021 session with a renewed vitality and focus thanks to a recently completed strategic plan. “Our new plan is centered around climate change and environmental justice, and it will guide the organization’s work in 2021 and beyond,” Heller said, adding that “Maryland LCV will work to mobilize Marylanders to promote and pass equitable laws and policies for clean water, healthy air and a resilient climate.”

Maryland LCV’s top two legislative priorities will be the Climate Solutions Now bill and the Transit Safety Investment Act.

Climate Solutions Now would move Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction goal to net zero by 2045. The bill will provide several low-cost mitigation policies to reduce pollution, including bus electrification and tree plantings in underserved urban areas, calling on the Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities to determine the percentage of state funds spent on climate change that must go to environmental justice communities, and the creation of a work group to protect impacted workers.

“Climate Solutions Now will rebuild Maryland’s economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing Maryland’s overburdened communities,” said Maryland LCV executive director, Kim Coble. “Maryland legislators have a responsibility to meaningfully address the climate crisis and a diverse coalition is emerging to hold them to that obligation.”

The Transit Safety and Investment Act, mandates an increase of $123 million annually from the Transportation Trust Fund for the next ten years for the transit system “state of good repair” needs identified by the MTA.

“Investments in transit reduce greenhouse gas emissions and produce roughly twice the number of jobs per dollar as the same investment in roads,” said Coble.  “We have seen during this pandemic that many of our essential workers, especially in health care, rely on public transit to get to their life-saving jobs, but our public transit system is unreliable. They deserve better.”

The organization will also work to strengthen the existing Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities through the Environmental Justice Commission Bill. The bill will include revisions to commission membership, goals, authority, and reporting requirements.

Coble added that Maryland LCV will pursue its entire agenda with diverse coalitions across the state, made up of other environmental advocates; social justice, community, and faith leaders; and business and labor groups.

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Maryland LCV is known for educating lawmakers and holding them accountable for their leadership and votes on key environmental issues. Their annual scorecard, along with other reports, help inform voters about their legislators’ records.
By |2021-01-13T08:08:32-05:00January 13th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Press|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

NAACP Prince George’s County Branch and Black Girls Vote Receive $10,000 Grants for Equity and Racial Justice Work

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  December 22, 2020
Contact: Ramón Palencia-Calvo, (202) 531-5091, rpcalvo@mdlcv.org

NAACP Prince George’s County Branch and Black Girls Vote Receive $10,000 Grants for Equity and Racial Justice Work

Grants will support COVID-19 relief and Black Lives Matter efforts

Annapolis, MD – Chispa Maryland, a program of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV), in partnership with their Chispa National LCV counterparts, have awarded two $10,000 grants to Maryland nonprofit groups to support their COVID-19 relief and Black Lives Matter movement work. The groups, Baltimore-based Black Girls Vote and NAACP Prince George’s County Branch, share Chispa Maryland’s goal of elevating environmental justice issues in the Maryland General Assembly.
“Maryland’s low-income communities and communities of color have for too long suffered from poor environmental conditions, resulting in children with higher asthma and lead poisoning rates and other issues associated with contaminants in their land, air and water,” said Ramón Palencia-Calvo, Chispa Maryland director. “Groups like Prince George’s County NAACP and Black Girls Vote are doing important work to bring attention to, and improve, the issues that impact their community members.”

“We have so many black girls who are passionate about the environment,” said Nykidra “Nyki” Robinson, founder of Black Girls Vote, a nonpartisan organization designed to represent the concerns and interests of Black women. “We are committed to using these funds to make sure they have access to short- and long-term mentorship and fellowship opportunities that give them a place to let their voice and passion be heard.”

NAACP Prince George’s County Branch works to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. The organization will use the funds in part to advance the Maryland Solar Equity Initiative 2020, which it initiated in 2020 with Bowie State University, Maryland’s oldest historically Black college. The funds will also help NAACP Prince George’s County in its outreach to the communities of Brandywine and Langley Park on issues ranging from community environmental hazards to improving transit equity and Coronavirus equity practices.

“The grant will go a long way in supporting our efforts to combat environmental injustice in our community,” said NAACP Prince George’s County Branch Treasurer John E. Simms, Jr.

Chispa Maryland’s mission is to ensure communities have a stronger political voice to influence policy makers and fight polluters. The group provides training, information, and opportunities for Latino individuals and groups to play an active role in protecting their rights to clean air and water, healthy neighborhoods, and a safe climate for generations to come.

The recent grants are not the only financial support Chispa has provided during the COVID crisis. In May 2020, Chispa Maryland and the national League of Conservation Voters raised more than $30,000 for the Langley Park Civic Association to aid COVID-relief efforts in the Prince George’s County community.

“Communities of color are important partners in our work to advance environmental legislation and policies that incorporate environmental justice in Maryland,” said Palencia-Calvo. “With so many of them experiencing hardship because of the pandemic, generating support for our community partners will continue to be a priority for us.”

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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 |2021-03-24T13:48:03-04:00December 22nd, 2020|Categories: DEIJ, Press|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Statement from Kim Coble, executive director of Maryland LCV on Maryland not participating in the first round of states for the Transportation and Climate Initiative program

Statement from Kim Coble, executive director of Maryland LCV on Maryland not participating in the first round of states for the Transportation and Climate Initiative program

“With the climate crisis accelerating, fueled by emissions from transportation, we are disappointed that Governor Hogan has not served as a leader on regional efforts to reduce emissions and formally committed to the Transportation & Climate Initiative.

We will continue working with the Hogan administration to ensure Maryland fully commits to this important program as soon as possible. The state needs to get on board quickly, because all Marylanders, and especially our communities of color, deserve clean air and an equitable and clean transportation sector that increases access to social and economic opportunities and reduces the negative health effects caused by air pollution.”

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Maryland LCV is known for educating lawmakers and holding them accountable for their leadership and votes on key environmental issues. Their annual scorecard, along with other reports, help inform voters about their legislators’ records.

By |2020-12-21T12:31:21-05:00December 21st, 2020|Categories: Climate Change, DEIJ, Press|Tags: , , , |0 Comments