2016 ELA: Capacity to Lead

This evening marks Maryland LCV’s 16th annual Environmental Leadership Awards. Tonight’s honorees have demonstrated that the best way to empower everyday citizens is to build greener, more sustainable communities throughout Maryland. Likewise, the best way to restore power to voters in our elections is to get money out, and the solution for Howard County is Question A.
 

Question A is a microcosm the for public campaign funding movement swelling throughout the country. Led by Howard County Councilmember sponsors Jen Terrasa and Jon Weinstein, Howard County Council sent the proposed amendment to the county charter to the ballot last March. If Question A passes on November 8th, The Citizens’ Election Fund would become the second public campaign funding system for local elections in the state of Maryland and the first in the country to appear on the ballot all by itself.
 

We all can agree that elected officials are more accountable to the interests of voters when they are not beholding to corporate and big dollar campaign donors. Maryland LCV believes that protecting the environment means increasing government responsiveness to the concerns of voters, especially at the local level. That is why Maryland LCV is fully invested in scoring a win in Howard County this fall (#HoCoYesOnA) and building capacity for Howard County electeds to lead on the environment, just like the honorees of the 2016 Environmental Leadership Awards.


Cheers,

Devon Hawkins-Anderson

 
By |2019-11-23T06:17:22-05:00October 13th, 2016|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Field Trip for Offshore Wind

My day-to-day world as an environmental lobbyist tends to be very small: meetings, conference calls, legislator visits, policy research, and data entry and analysis, most of which happen between our Maryland Avenue office and the legislative campus just two blocks away.  On October 5th, however, I had the opportunity as a representative of the Maryland Climate Coalition and the Political Director of Maryland LCV, to join a small delegation of legislators and other stakeholders to visit the off-shore wind project off the coast of Rhode Island.  It was a whirlwind (pun intended) tour of the first off-shore wind project on the East Coast, showcasing the extraordinary power of off-shore wind, the cutting-edge technology, as well as the beauty of the turbines in action.

After being met at the airport by a representative of the Maryland Business Network for Off-Shore Wind, the delegation – which included Senator Kathy Klausmeier (D8-Baltimore County), Delegate Tawanna Gaines (D22-Prince George’s County), and Delegate Sally Jameson (D28-Charles County), as well as representatives from the Town Creek and Abell Foundations – joined scientists, industry representatives, government agency staff, and environmentalists on a small touring boat as it charged through active seas out to the newly completed turbines.

You can see from the pictures that the weather was variable, ranging from clear blue skies to more blustery and ominous cloud cover.  Many of us found the experience of facing the wind and the rough sea to be a challenge, but it was clear that the turbines were perfectly designed for the elements. Although the project experts gave us a great deal of detail about each of the elements of construction, I think that many of us were somewhat caught off guard by the sheer size, as well as the beauty – of what we were looking at.

Each blade is nearly one-and-a-half times the length of a football field, and each fully-assembled turbine, including the platform, stands twice as high as the statue of liberty.  The five turbines together generate 30 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power 17,000 homes and lower carbon emissions by an estimated 40,000 tons annually. The pride in the success of the project developers, as well as the laborers who were involved in the construction, was apparent in both the formal presentations and informal conversations as the boat wended its way around the project.

Equally important to each of member of the delegation was the great potential for the expansion of wind energy down the coast, and the urgency of moving forward on Maryland’s offshore wind project.  Thousands of people were employed in the construction and maintenance of the Rhode Island project, many of whom were hired locally and provided with on-the-job training and advancement opportunities in a growing field.  The projects, sited and constructed with environmental sensitivity, can provide welcome jobs for Marylander while reducing our reliance on climate-destroying fossil fuels. I was especially impressed by my conversation with the representative from The Nature Conservancy, who explained the care with which the project construction was organized to minimize the impact to both seabirds and  marine life, especially the migration of the endangered right whales. The scientific monitoring is extensive, and the cooperation between the environmentalists and the project managers is tight.

Take action today and add your name to our Offshore Wind petition>>

During our trip back to shore, and then back to Maryland, we all found ourselves talking about the project and the potential, in Maryland.  We talked about, among other thing, the need to override the Governor’s veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act, and the importance of pressing forward with solid and visionary climate and energy legislation.  It was clear that, despite the long day, everyone found themselves energized – and that we were energized with wind power.

Kristen Harbeson
Political Director of Maryland LCV

By |2019-11-23T06:17:22-05:00October 11th, 2016|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Connecting the Dots between Money and Voting Rights Challenges

On Tuesday evening, more than 35 people gathered at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center in Columbia for the national pilot of Democracy Initiative’s new “Road to Democracy” training. The  mix of high school students, Fair Elections Howard staff, and popular democracy advocates took time to feel out each other and the room before settling into their seats. Touching on the U.S. Supreme Court decisions of Citizens United v FEC (2010) and Shelby County v. Holder (2013) decisions, Democracy Initiative’s Senior Strategist and Organizer Angie Wells helped attendees connect the dots between big money in politics and voting rights challenges in various forms during the two-hour workshop.

 

After a talk by Wells and a short video, four groups formed and huddled near the corners of the room. Participants worked through interactive exercises that challenged them to think like diverse stakeholder groups and respond to different issue prompts. The take-home message for the day was that the road to popular democracy is paved with public campaign funding and voting rights protection. When public campaign funding empowers citizens to demand responsiveness and accountability from elected officials, we move toward a truer version of democracy. When everyday citizens make their voices heard at the polls, we are reminded of the force of popular will. Most importantly, progress is the direct result of continued efforts to level the playing field.

As such, the evening concluded with a discussion of the Fair Elections Howard Citizens’ Election Fund #VoteYesonA led by Common Cause Maryland’s Policy Manager Damon Effingham and campaign organizers. The second public campaign funding system for local elections in the state of Maryland and potentially the first in the country to appear on the ballot all by itself, the Citizens’ Election Fund is the vehicle for a more robust in Howard County and representation of the growing will for popular democracy free of corporate interference in our elections.

By |2019-11-23T06:17:22-05:00October 8th, 2016|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Stepping up with us for Maryland’s Climate

Together with the Maryland General Assembly, you supported your legislators in championing the renewal and expansion of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act and the Clean Energy Jobs Act this last 2016 legislative session.

“I’m honored to be the recipient of the 2016 Legislator of the Year Award from the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. Thank you for standing together with me and with your neighbors in support of this important cause. Maryland, and in particular Baltimore, has some of the worst air quality on the East Coast and these legislative wins are moving our state in the right direction. Protecting air quality and improving the environmental health of all Baltimoreans will always be my top priority, as will continuing to work with my State colleagues to advance the cause for all Marylanders. We’re all in this together.” Senator Catherine Pugh, pictured right, on the importance of climate action.

Will you join me and my co-workers at Maryland League of Conservation Voters on October 13th to celebrate these climate victories?

Maryland has met its existing renewable energy standard every year since the RPS program was first implemented in 2005. Maryland now ranks among the top solar states in the nation. Plummeting solar and wind prices and abundant, untapped renewable assets—from sunny rooftops to blustery Eastern Shore farmland—position the state to easily achieve a higher goal. Collectively, Maryland’s policies to address climate change are expected to create 26,000 to 33,000 new jobs and grow wages by tens of billions of dollars by 2020, according to state data.

Maryland needs to increase our renewable energy standard to 25 percent while putting in place funding to increase the diversity of business owners and workers. The Clean Energy Jobs Act will give more Marylanders the opportunity to thrive in the growing clean technology sector and put us, on the forefront of clean energy development.

Thank you for your support of climate action, now join me at the Environmental Leadership Awards dinner on October 13th for a celebration of all our hard work>>

Kristen Harbeson.jpg

Kristen Harbeson

Political Director

Maryland LCV

By |2019-11-23T06:17:22-05:00October 6th, 2016|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Celebrate Pollinators

As a Maryland beekeeper, I could not be more pleased with the 2016 Legislative Session. As I’m sure you’ve heard, Maryland passed

 historic legislation called the Pollinator Protection Act, which bans a class of bee-killing pesticides called neonicotinoids (a.k.a.neonics).

I’ve been involved with the bill since it was drafted because we have seen a sharp increase in bee hive collapses in the past several years. Maryland lost over 60% of its hives in 2015, and 50% in 2014. The numbers leapt from 20% hive losses in 2013. And that’s why it was so important that Maryland passed the Pollinator Protection Act last year. It could not have come at a more critical time to help our suffering pollinators.

Will you join me and my fellow beekeepers on October 13th to celebrate our victory, and my colleagues, on the passage of the 2016 Pollinator Protection Act?

Numerous studies have found that neonicotinoids harm bees, birds, butterflies, and other pollinators, which we depend on to pollinate one in three bites of food we eat. 

The Pollinator Protection Act will make sure that home gardens, and our families, are protected from these dangerous pesticides by taking them off store shelves by January 1, 2018. The work done by the Smart on Pesticides Coalition, Maryland Pesticide Network and longtime advocate, Ruth Berlin, was essential in this victory. This is an important protection for the bees, our bay, and our families.

Thanks to your support, the Maryland General Assembly passed the 2016 Pollinator Protection Act with bipartisan support. Come to the Environmental Leadership Awards dinner to celebrate with us!

My fellow beekeepers and I look forward to meeting you then.

Bonnie Raindrop
Central Maryland Beekeepers Association

By |2019-11-23T06:17:22-05:00September 27th, 2016|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Celebration of a Key Leader of the Maryland Conservation Movement

Do you know the history of our most prestigious environmental award in Maryland?

John V. Kabler on the Chesapeake BayWe were founded in 1979 by a small group of volunteers who knew that our environment needed protecting, and still does. So they established the Maryland League of Conservation Voters to be the watchdog of our elected officials and ensure they vote for the environment and our communities.

John Valentine Kabler was one of our founders. As a native of Baltimore, he was spurred to environmental action in the wake of the Three Mile Island crisis in the late 1970s.

Mr. Kabler inspired a handful of his environmental colleagues to become active in political campaigns. Together these leaders founded the Maryland League of Conservation Voters in 1979. Until his death in 1996, John Kabler was a key leader of the Maryland conservation movement.

It has been 20 years since Maryland lost one of its toughest environmental advocates and we plan on honoring John V. Kabler at our annual Environmental Leadership Awards Dinner. Will you join us?

Sandy Kabler, the wife of the late John V. Kabler, remembers his passion and dedication to preserving the Chesapeake Bay. “He saw a need for action to protect the Chesapeake Bay and stepped up to bring the community and leaders together and hold our elected officials accountable. John saw a need for leadership on our most emblematic Bay and worked tirelessly in the cause. He would be so happy to see a group like the Central Maryland Beekeepers Association honored for their work in protecting a key asset in our ecosystem and community under his name.”  

In the past we’ve honored Former Governor Parris Glendening as our first Kabler awardee, and more recently in 2014 our co-founders Nancy Davis and Ajax Eastman. We’re excited to extend this honor to the Central Maryland Beekeepers’ Association for their grassroots effort in helping us pass the 2016 Pollinator Protection Act and banning bee-killing pesticides in Maryland!

This marks the 20th year of his death, and the 15th year we’ve had an award in his honor. Established in 2001, the John V. Kabler Memorial Award is presented annually to Maryland’s most outstanding environmental leaders and organizations. We hope to live up to Mr. Kabler’s legacy in awarding the Central Maryland Beekeepers’ Association and we hope you will join us in celebration.

As one of the few environmental organizations that make electoral endorsements of conservation champions and score our legislators on how well they vote, we need your help.

We selling tickets fast and we’ll soon run out, make sure you get your tickets today to celebrate the life of John V. Kabler and the continued conservation of our environment in his name.

Sandy says it best with I know John would like to thank and honor all the many people who have carried on  and have worked so tirelessly over the last 20 years to protect the Chesapeake Bay and all  of our Natural resources.  It takes a community of grassroots organizers and legislators to work together to protect the environment for future generations. Thank you to all of you!”

See you on October 13th-

Karla Raettig

Executive Director

Maryland League of Conservation Voters

To find a full list of all our Kabler Awardees, go here: /john-v-kabler-award

By |2019-11-23T06:17:22-05:00September 22nd, 2016|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Fair Elections Howard County

On Tuesday night, more than 70 Citizens’ Campaign Fund supporters gathered at Kelsey’s Restaurant in Ellicott City to attend the Fair Elections Howard Kickoff. From the outset, we could sense that folks were eager to learn more about the issues but even more excited to fellowship with like-minded neighbors. 

This event marked the official start of a movement in Howard County that began when the County Council passed the “citizen funded campaign system” resolution in March. With election day now less than two months away, the effort to get citizens of Howard County to “Vote Yes on A” is in full swing. 

Joined by Senator Ben Cardin, Congressional member John Sarbanes, and Councilmembers Jon Weinstein, Jen  Terrasa, and Calvin Ball reminded the crowd that when office seekers choose to opt into a public campaign funding system, it broadens and deepens their engagement with communities they serve. More simply put, “It changes the company we keep!”  

Senator Ben Cardin reminded us all what’s on the line here, insisting that “the integrity of our democracy is at stake.” Congressman John Sarbanes picked up where Senator Cardin left off, underscoring his dedication to this work: “This is the solution that people have been waiting for, to feel like you have a voice again in your politics. Liberate us to talk to regular citizens, rather than fundraise. You are the change that I’ve been waiting for.”

The citizen funded campaign system makes this a reality through public matching of small citizen donations, so participating candidates can stop chasing corporate and Political Action Committee money and spend more time and resources listening to voters. Attendees nodded in agreement and pledged to take action this November to retake our democracy, with above 50% signing up to knock doors, make calls, and host house parties.

The event closed with remarks from several Fair Elections super volunteers who urged their neighbors to go the extra mile between now and November to achieve success on Question A. Even after the launch wrapped, supporters stuck around to discuss what public campaign funding could mean for Howard County and beyond. In the words of one woman, “[We] cannot wait to see what that future could look like.”

As Maryland League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Karla Raettig explains, “At the heart of the fair elections movement is the desire to reclaim our democracy and have elected officials who are both accessible and accountable. We can’t make progress on the pressing environmental issues of our time without a level playing field for candidates who share those values.” We at Maryland LCV could not agree more!

Take action today and pledge to vote YES on Question A!

By |2019-11-23T06:17:46-05:00September 16th, 2016|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Welcome to the Maryland League of Conservation Voters’ new website!

We are an environmental non-profit based in Maryland’s capital city of historic Annapolis. Our mission is the political voice of the environment.

The Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV) is a state-wide, nonpartisan organization that uses political action and education to protect our air, land and water. Maryland LCV endorses and elects pro-conservation candidates and holds elected officials accountable through our scorecards.

 A leading legislative watchdog in Annapolis, we have advocated for smart environmental policies for nearly 35 years, working to make Maryland a healthy and prosperous place for families and communities. Maryland LCV protects public health by fighting for the Chesapeake Bay and local waters, preserving green spaces, promoting smarter growth and increasing Maryland’s investment in clean energy.

Enjoy our site, and sign up for our email updates here.

By |2019-11-23T06:17:46-05:00July 23rd, 2016|Categories: Blog|0 Comments