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MARYLAND LCV RELEASES 2018 ENVIRONMENTAL SCORECARD

Columbia, MD – On September 13, 2018, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (LCV) announced the 2018 Environmental Scorecard. The annual report highlights the environmental voting record of all 188 legislators and describes the General Assembly’s overall record on those issues each year.

The organization reports that 2018 Session was a complicated year for the environment in the Maryland General Assembly. On the one hand, legislators did pass several bills of environmental importance and in multiple instances the environment was a bipartisan concern. While those bills were important, based on the 2018 Environmental Scorecard, leaders in the General Assembly lacked the courage to allow top environmental priorities for a vote in their committees. This inaction short changes Marylanders from truly understanding where their elected officials stand on top environmental issues in our state and further disenfranchises the voters in a key election year.

“Disappointingly, we saw long-time elected environmental champions fail to support environmental priorities, or refuse to bring them up for a vote. ” Karla Raettig, Executive Director of Maryland LCV. “In particular, we are particularly concerned at the shelving of top environmental legislation, such as the styrofoam ban. These bills are supported by strong community-led coalitions with broad legislative support that key leaders in legislative committees refused a vote on. Once legislators return to Annapolis in January, Maryland LCV will be there to hold them accountable for their actions, or inactions.”

The organization also unveiled the 2018 “Green Champions,” an exceptional group of legislators whose superlative leadership on environmental legislation includes a current 2018 Environmental score of 100 percent, lifetime scores above 95 percent, and primary sponsorship of priority environmental legislation during the previous three years.

“We are proud to present our 2018 Green Champions, who are leading the way on environmental progress in Maryland,” said Ed Hatcher, Maryland LCV Board Chair.  “Our Green Champions not only vote right, but they also understand the urgency of the environmental agenda and are making it part of their political identity. We need to support them in every way we can.”

The thirteen legislators honored this year are Senators Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, Paul Pinsky, and Victor Ramirez, along with Delegates Luke Clippinger, David Fraser-Hidalgo, Bill Frick, Tawanna Gaines, Anne Healey, Steve Lafferty, Clarence Lam, Brooke Lierman, Shane Robinson, and Robbyn Lewis.

The scorecard is available online and includes records of votes cast on the floor of the House and Senate and in committees, along with past voting records.  Go to http://scorecard.mdlcv.org to see the scorecard and follow #MDLCVScore on social media.

Maryland LCV has also created an interactive map with legislative voting information, which provides Marylanders with contact information for their legislators.

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 Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV) is a state-wide nonpartisan organization that uses political action and education to protect our air, land, public health, and water. Maryland LCV endorses and elects pro-conservation candidates and holds elected officials accountable through legislative scorecards. A leading legislative watchdog in Annapolis, we have advocated for smart environmental policies for almost 40 years, working to make Maryland a healthy and prosperous place for families and communities. Maryland LCV 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.

By |2019-12-07T12:48:02-05:00September 13th, 2018|Categories: Press|0 Comments

Spotlight on the candidates for Anne Arundel County Council District 4

The Anne Arundel County Council has seven members. It takes a majority of four votes to pass any bill, including any bill to protect our environment. The Anne Arundel Chapter has endorsed seven candidates for the County Council. We are confident that, if elected, they will give Annapolis a strong conservation majority on the Council. Now we have to get them elected.
 
This is the latest in a series of emails that focus on each individual candidate. In this edition we will introduce you to Councilman Andrew Pruski, the Democratic candidate for District 4, running for re-election. Councilman Pruski represents District 4, which covers Laurel, Fort Meade, Gambrills, Odenton, North Crofton, Millersville, and Crownsville. Find your County Council District here.
 
MEET ANDREW PRUSKI
 
Councilman Andrew Pruski is running for his second term on the Anne Arundel County Council. His public service began at early age as an Eagle Scout and work as a Volunteer for the Veteran’s Administration. He is running for re-election to continue his goals of supporting our public schools, public safety, protecting our environment, and supporting locally owned businesses.
 
Councilman Pruski has been a champion for the environment for many years including his service on the Anne Arundel County Board of Appeals and President of the Four Seasons Community Association. He has fought against the two proposed landfills in West County and supported standing for communities trying to challenge unwanted development projects. There are several notable decisions that Councilman Pruskisided with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and other Environmental Groups.
 
As a school board member and President of the Anne Arundel County Board of Education, Councilman Pruski led efforts to include environmental literacy in the school system curriculum and was an advocate in forming the Watershed Stewards Academy. He believes that environmental education is critical to the future of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. 
 
Councilman Pruski wants to play an integral role in the next General Development Plan by holding open and transparent public hearings to help make wise land use decisions. Councilman Pruski has been an advocate for involving the community in development decisions and promoting policies to protect our environment. His record speaks for itself, he has voted to keep the stormwater remediation fund, ban coal tar, and ban polystyrene foam in Anne Arundel County.
 
COUNCILMAN PRUSKI NEEDS OUR HELP
 
You can find out more about how to contribute and get involved with the Friends of Andrew Pruski campaign by visitingwww.andrewpruski.com. You can also email Scott Howrath at pruskifield@gmail.com to assist with volunteer activities.
By |2019-11-23T06:17:19-05:00August 30th, 2018|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Maryland League of Conservation Voters Announces General Election Endorsements

For Immediate Release
August 16, 2018

Contact: Kristen Harbeson, Political Director kharbeson@mdlcv.org
cell: 410 952 8100

Maryland League of Conservation Voters Announces General Election Endorsements

(Annapolis, MD) Today the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV) released a round of endorsed candidates for the Maryland General Assembly in the 2018 state general elections. With a success rate of over 90% after the June primary elections, the organization said the two Senate candidates and sixteen House candidates are ready to lead their communities with the environment as a central issue to their campaign.

“The general election is 83 days away and these strong conservation leaders are fresh from the primary victories, hitting the ground to be strong advocates in their communities and for the environment,” said Karla Raettig, Executive Director of Maryland LCV. “These candidates will lead in the General Assembly with our values to protect our air, land, water, and communities at the forefront.”

Latest Round of Endorsements as of August 16, 2018

Candidate

County

District/ Seat

Delores G. Kelley

Baltimore County

10/ Senator

Obie Patterson

Prince George’s County

26/ Senator

Ken Kerr

Frederick County 3B/ Delegate

Lily Qi

Montgomery County

15/ Delegate

Emily Shetty

Montgomery County

18/ Delegate

Jared Solomon

Montgomery County

18/ Delegate

Charlotte Crutchfield

Montgomery County

19/ Delegate

Vaughn Stewart

Montgomery County

19/ Delegate

Mary A. Lehman

Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties

21/ Delegate

Veronica Turner

Prince George’s County

26/ Delegate

Jason T. Fowler

Calvert County

27C/ Delegate

Julia Margaret Nichols

St. Mary’s and Calvert Counties

29C/ Delegate

Alice Cain

Anne Arunel County

30A/ Delegate

Mike Shay

Anne Arunel County

30B/ Delegate

Gabriel Acevero

Montgomery County

39/ Delegate

Melissa Wells

Baltimore City

40/ Delegate

Regina T. Boyce

Baltimore City

43/ Delegate

Maryland LCV’s endorsement process is based on proven leadership on the environment for incumbents and a thorough evaluation of new candidate’s background and commitment to the environment.

Before each state election, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Board of Directors and staff evaluate questionnaires and conduct interviews with dozens of candidates for state-wide office, including Comptroller, Attorney General, and Governor as well candidates as for the Maryland House of Delegates and Senate. In the 2018 Primary and General elections, Maryland LCV will once again campaign to elect pro-conservation candidates.

More endorsements will be released in the coming months.

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By |2019-12-07T13:00:43-05:00August 16th, 2018|Categories: Press|0 Comments

Spotlight on the candidates for Anne Arundel County Council

The Anne Arundel County Council has seven members. It takes a majority of four votes to pass any bill, including any bill to protect our environment. The Anne Arundel Chapter has endorsed seven candidates for the County Council. We are confident that, if elected, they will give Annapolis a strong conservation majority on the Council. Now we have to get them elected.
 
This is the latest in a series of emails that focus on each individual candidate. In this edition we will introduce you to Lisa Brannigan Rodvien, the Democratic candidate for District 6, Chris Trumbauer’s District. Chris is barred by term limits from seeking another term. District 6 covers Annapolis Neck. Find your County Council District here.
 
MEET LISA RODVIEN
 
I am running for Anne Arundel County Council District 6 to help improve and protect the quality of life for ALL of our county’s residents.  We are privileged in Anne Arundel County to be part of an amazing and diverse community set in a beautiful and unique landscape on the Chesapeake Bay. In recent years, however, the fast pace of development in our county has strained our county’s schools, our infrastructure, and environment.  As we update the county’s General Development Plan in 2019, I will advocate for a transparent and inclusive process that gives all stakeholders a seat at the table and that ensures finite and fragile environmental resources are treated with great care. 
 
I will also work towards ensuring that our public schools provide excellent education for ALL children so that today’s young people can have prosperous futures right here in Anne Arundel County.  Furthermore, I will work towards improving the availability of mental health resources in our county for people of all ages.  School counselors in AACPS are currently tasked with serving as many as three times the number of students recommended by national organizations.  The number of mental health care providers for adults, even those with insurance coverage, is insufficient to serve the needs of our community.  Expanding access and availability to mental health care in our community will be a critical component in stemming the addiction crisis. 
 
Finally, I will work to create an county that is welcoming to immigrants and does not create undue fear for those who are simply working to live peaceful and productive lives in our county.
 
 
LISA NEEDS OUR HELP
 
You can find out more about how to contribute to and get involved with LISA’s campaign at www.lisarodvien.com.
 
Please join us in supporting Lisa on Thursday, September 6th at the Quiet Waters Park Blue Heron Center from 6 until 8 pm.
By |2019-11-23T06:17:19-05:00August 15th, 2018|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Real Solutions to Climate Change

By: Dannielle Lipinski

Do you remember moving into your first apartment? I loved that feeling of independence. Along with finally being able to sort the recycling and start a compost pile that my roommates hated, I remember looking at our energy bill wondering how we can start to be a part of the clean energy revolution and fight climate change as consumers.

I had already convinced the roomies about energy-efficient lightbulbs and turning off the lights. However, when I talked about solar panels and wind turbines, they immediately shut me down. Now that I’m all “grown-up” and some of my “roommates” are my young son, a turtle, and a rambunctious dog, I can make a few more choices about my energy usage, not to mention still drive everyone crazy with compost ideas, rain barrels, and a garden that has grown a bit wild.  

Through my work at Maryland LCV, I’ve worked on landmark legislation that helps all Marylanders combat climate change. In 2015, the General Assembly passed a fantastic law called the Community Solar Act (HB 1087). This is the pilot program that really changes the way we think about solar energy and who can benefit from its increased usage.

Homeowners who have looked at solar and determined that their living situation cannot support solar panels, they can still benefit from solar power. In addition, the law expands the benefits of solar to renters, churches, and others who have not been able to participate before.  The great thing about community solar is that anyone and everyone can join in. In states like Minnesota and New York, community solar has really taken off.

And now it’s Maryland’s turn. With community solar, you can “share” the power generated at a nearby solar farm. You have the option of paying no upfront fees. There are no rate hikes and no surprises. Simply put, community solar is the wave of the future. Your solar will come from a local site within Maryland and you’ll be helping Maryland grow in solar energy.

Look into community solar today, and you can convince your roommates to take the plunge and join the clean energy revolution! Please check out the links below for more information on opportunities to sign up:

Neighborhood SUN:

https://neighborhoodsun.ourpower.solar/join/index.cfm?sub=location&aid=CarolynRicketts

Solar United Neighbors: https://www.solarunitedneighbors.org/maryland/learn-the-issues-in-maryland/community-solar-in-maryland/

Here is more information about the Community Solar from the Public Service Commission: https://www.psc.state.md.us/electricity/community-solar-pilot-program/

By |2019-11-23T06:17:20-05:00July 24th, 2018|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

We Stand with the Capital Gazette

Written by Kristen Harbeson, Political Director on June 29, 2018
 
I heard that the Capital journalists wrote today’s paper from the back of a pick-up truck. Wherever they wrote the copy, the paper was delivered on time this morning, with the kind of steely-eyed professionalism everyone should aspire to.
 
We rely on the free press in the work we do at the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. We count on them to educate Marylanders about the work of our government, as well as the activities of advocates like us – both for and against. They are our partners in educating you on the work of the General Assembly and they hold both us and the General Assembly accountable. You can trust us more when an impartial, fact-checking, professional free press supports what we say. The free press is an environmental concern.
 
This is all to say that the heinous attack at the Capital yesterday was personal for us at Maryland LCV. Our hearts are broken for our friends and colleagues, and we are immeasurably grateful for their work.
 
By |2019-11-23T06:17:20-05:00June 29th, 2018|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Environmental Candidates Win Big in Maryland Primary

June 27, 2018 (Annapolis, MD) With 91 percent of their endorsed candidates winning races in yesterday’s Primary Election, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV) says the results were a big win for the environment – and that the increased turnout and excitement bodes well for November and future gains for air, land, water and public health in the state. Maryland LCV made 117 endorsements in primary elections, in races across the state, including incumbents, challengers, and candidates for open seats; 106 of those candidates won their races.

“Last night was about change and excitement,” says Karla Raettig, Executive Director of Maryland LCV, “Voters chose values over incumbency. With at least three new Committee Chairs and four new Committee Vice Chairs, both the House and Senate were transformed – we’re excited to work with many new leaders who have the potential to take the General Assembly in a new direction.”

“The voters sent a pro-conservation message yesterday,” said Maryland LCV Board Chair Ed Hatcher. “Maryland LCV’s endorsed candidates have all made strong public commitments to increase renewable energy, protect our Bay and waterways and safeguard the health of our communities – and voters showed these priorities are also important to them.”

Maryland LCV and the Maryland LCV Political Action Committee put significant resources into several Delegate and Senate races, where their efforts helped to secure victories. “We were thrilled to support ‘Green Champions’ Delegates David Fraser-Hidalgo (D-15, Montgomery County) and Brooke Lierman (D-46, Baltimore City), as well as rising stars Delegate Robbyn Lewis (D-46, Baltimore City) and Senate candidate Sarah Elfreth (D-30),” Raettig added. “We will miss the leadership of Green Champion, Delegate Shane Robinson (D-39).”

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By |2019-12-07T13:00:01-05:00June 27th, 2018|Categories: Press|0 Comments

All Democratic Candidates for Governor are Good Choices for Conservation-minded Voters

(Annapolis, MD) On June 12, 2018 the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV) has announced that, after careful consideration, the organization will not be endorsing a candidate in the Maryland Democratic primary election for Governor because all candidates would be a good choice for conservation-minded voters.

After reviewing candidate questionnaires and conducting interviews, Maryland LCV board and staff came to the conclusion that each candidate would be a leader on such important issues as climate change, clean water, land conservation, and public health.

“We were impressed by all of the candidates’ commitment to strong environmental policies for Maryland’s people and our environment,” said Maryland LCV Board Chair Ed Hatcher. “While we know some people will be disappointed that Maryland LCV is not endorsing in this primary, the environment is clearly a top priority for each one of these candidates — and that is good news for Maryland voters.”

“The environment has been front and center in all of the gubernatorial candidates’ campaigns,” said Karla Raettig, Maryland LCV Executive Director. “Along with education, economic development and health care, the environment is one of the only issues which all the candidates are making a priority – and they all understand how these issues are linked. The candidates’ platforms show they understand what is at risk in the next four years and what the solutions could be.”

All candidates who file for office are invited to participate in the endorsement process, which includes the completion of a questionnaire responding to specific policy proposals and concerns and an interview by members of the Maryland LCV Board of Directors. Candidates asking to be considered for endorsement included Rushern Baker, Ben Jealous, Rich Madaleno, Alec Ross, Jim Shea, and Krish Vignarajah. Before his passing, Kevin Kamenetz also filled out a questionnaire.

The organization noted that Governor Hogan has not yet chosen to participate in the endorsement process, and they invited him to do so, particularly given his public statements about the importance of environmental issues.

“The door remains open for Governor Hogan, and for any third-party candidates, to participate in the endorsement process for November’s general election,” said Hatcher.

Maryland LCV expects to endorse a candidate for Maryland’s Governor in the general election and will release more endorsements for the General Assembly in the coming months.

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By |2019-12-07T12:59:36-05:00June 12th, 2018|Categories: Press|0 Comments

Why Steuart Pittman? Eye on Annapolis

Guest post by Bob Gallagher, Co-Chair of the Anne Arundel County Chapter of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters in the Eye on Annapolis

The two biggest issues in the 2018 election for County Executive are likely to be education and the pace of development. The non-partisan Anne Arundel Chapter of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters endorses candidates based on which candidate will be better for the environment. Carefully managed development can result in gains for the environment. Poorly managed development can be devastating to the environment and to our quality of life. Poorly managed development can also impact schools, exacerbating over-crowded classrooms and straining inadequate school budgets.

Both candidates for county executive, Steve Schuh and Steuart Pittman, have a broad grasp of environmental issues and have made commitments to better manage the pace of development. While Mr. Pittman’s promises are somewhat more specific and comprehensive, the determinative factor in deciding between them is credibility: which one is more likely to fulfill those commitments. We find Mr. Pittman more credible when it comes to managing development. We endorse Steuart Pittman.

Mr. Schuh and Mr. Pittman both have deep roots in the county. They are comparable in age. They come from upper middle-class backgrounds with solid academic credentials. Mr. Schuh pursued law, finance and business before pursuing public office. Mr. Pittman worked for years as a community organizer before returning to manage his family’s 550 acre farm in Davidsonville where he founded a non-profit organization that enjoys  national stature. This is his first run for office.

During his time as a community organizer, Mr. Pittman worked extensively on environmental issues. As president of the Maryland Horse Council, he created its first stewardship committee.  In leadership positions with the Soil Conservation District and Anne Arundel Farm Bureau he worked to build bridges between agriculture and the environmental community. Last year he worked with other community and environmental leaders to limit the excesses of an Agro-tourism bill championed by Mr. Schuh. Working with other community groups he has also been a leader in the effort to expand public participation in the next general development plan. He is committed to enforcing the GDP and other environmental laws, preserving forests and strengthening the stormwater program. He is a strong supporter of increasing open space and water access. He has committed to manage development in a sustainable manner better matching development with infrastructure improvements.

These commitments are attainable and entirely consistent with Mr. Pittman’s actions over the past several years. We find them highly credible.

As a delegate, Steve Schuh had a mixed record on the  environment. He scored 100 percent one year but had a  mediocre lifetime score. He voted for the bill that authorized counties to adopt stormwater fees and promised that he would support the stormwater bill pending before the AA County Council. When his opponent used it against him in the Republican primary, he did a 180-degree turn promising to repeal the bill. His efforts at repeal were unsuccessful.

Following his election, Mr. Schuh appointed a land-use transition team dominated by development interests. During his first two years in office he spoke of the need to “kick start” growth. He supported a bill that gave developers millions of dollars in reduced sewer and water connection fees. He supported a bill that allowed developers to hire their own engineers to review and approve substantial parts of their development plans. During his watch, the county lost more trees than any other county in the state. Developers received record numbers of zoning variances and modifications. The Schuh administration sided with developers to transfer development rights from non-waterfront to waterfront property until the Critical Area Commission ruled it illegal. During each stage of the litigation challenging those  actions, the administration fought to deny environmental groups the right to participate.

It is against this background that we have evaluated the several bills recently proposed by Mr. Schuh to manage development. In our view, those bills are helpful but will not have a significant long-term, limiting impact on development.

In light of his record to date on development, we find Mr. Schuh’s recently professed commitment to rein in growth lacking credibility.

Bob Gallagher, Co-Chair of the Anne Arundel County Chapter of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters

Check out the article on Eye on Annapolis here.

By |2019-11-23T06:17:20-05:00June 11th, 2018|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Spotlight on the candidate for Anne Arundel County Executive

Through his budget powers, veto authority and horse trading, the county executive has a significant influence over the work of the county council. While the current county executive has done some good things for the environment like preserving open space and enhancing public access to waterways, he has also encouraged an accelerated pace of development that has harmed the environment and out quality of life. That is why we have endorsed Steuart Pittman for county executive.
 
This is the last in our series of emails introducing you to our endorsed candidates for county council and county executive for the 2018 elections.
 
MEET STEUART PITTMAN
 
Steuart Pittman was raised in a family that took preservation and responsible land stewardship very seriously. They have preserved for perpetuity a 500-acre tract in south county, the majority of which is forest.
 
As a community organizer in Chicago, Steuart protested hazardous waste storage that was leaching cyanide into groundwater adjacent to public housing. As Maryland Horse Council president, he created a vibrant and progressive farm stewardship committee. As a board member of the Anne Arundel County Soil Conservation District he brought farmers and environmental advocates together to promote responsible management practices. 
 
“This is not about politics,” he says. “It’s about passing on land and water to the next generation in better condition than we found it. That is our obligation as human beings.”
 
Steuart has pledged as county executive to bring communities together around a General Development Plan for the next eight years that manages growth in a way that is fiscally and environmentally sustainable. He has pledged to work toward a no-net-loss forest conservation plan, and to aggressively enforce stormwater management, critical area, and septic laws. He will conduct an audit of recent development in the county to measure the long-term costs and benefits to taxpayers and the environment. That data will guide future planning.
 

STEUART NEEDS OUR HELP

You can find out how to get more involved in this campaign how to contribute here: https://www.pittmanforpeople.com or on Facebook at: pittmanforpeople. Join Steuart and his sister Polly for a wine fundraiser on June 9th at Polly’s spectacular Vineyards at Dodon.

By |2019-11-23T06:17:20-05:00June 4th, 2018|Categories: Blog|0 Comments