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Montgomery County Public Schools to Transition Their Diesel School Bus Fleet to Zero-Emission Clean School Buses for Healthy Kids

 Maryland League of Conservation Voters Applauds the Decision of Maryland League of Conservation Voters Applauds the Decision of Montgomery County Public Schools to Transition Their Diesel School Bus Fleet to Zero-Emission Clean School Buses for Healthy Kids

February 25, 2021

ANNAPOLIS, MD. – This week, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) approved a contract to lease 326 electric school buses as part of a pan to electrify its entire school bus fleet. 

“Chispa Maryland applauds MCPS for taking this unprecedented step in protecting the health of children and beginning this transition to a clean ride for kids,” said Ramón Palencia-Calvo, Deputy Executive Director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and Director of Chispa Maryland, a community organizing program of Maryland LCV.  “This contract demonstrates that school systems can transition their diesel bus fleets to zero-emission clean electric buses while keeping their transportation budgets neutral. We hope other school systems in Maryland can adopt one of the several financial solutions available to bypass the initial costs to transition their diesel fleets to zero-emission school buses.”

Diesel emissions are the most harmful type of transportation emissions. Diesel school buses not only pollute our air and harm our children’s lungs and developing organs, but they also contribute to the greenhouse gas emissions worsening the effects of climate change. Initial costs of electric school buses is still a barrier for school systems to transition their diesel fleets to zero-emission electric school fleets. There are several strategies that school systems and other stakeholders can employ to offset the upfront cost.

In this legislative session, Chispa Maryland and Maryland LCV are supporting House Bill 832, Public Utilities-Electric School Bus Pilot Program, which would deploy electric school buses with vehicle-to-grid-technology, and the Zero-Emission Bus Transition Act of 2021 (HB0334/SB0137), which would mandate beginning in 2023 all contracts for state-purchased buses need to be for zero-emission vehicles, leading to a complete transition of the fleet. 

Chispa, an organizing program of the League of Conservation Voters, launched its Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign in 2015 to push state governments to use Volkswagen settlement funds to purchase zero-emission electric school buses. In 2017 Chispa Maryland, a program of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, launched the Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign in Maryland. 

 

By |2021-03-24T13:46:56-04:00February 25th, 2021|Categories: Blog, DEIJ, Partner, Policy, Press|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Maryland Voters Support Action on Climate and Transportation

Maryland Voters Support Action on Climate and Transportation

A recent poll — conducted for the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (LCV) by Nexus Polling and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication — finds strong support for policies to improve transportation and address climate change in the state. The representative survey of 553 registered Maryland voters was conducted January 27-February 4, 2021, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5%

Voters want the MTA to ensure Marylanders can get to work safely, reduce traffic congestion, reduce pollution, and increase transportation.
Nearly all (96%) Maryland voters say ensuring Marylanders, including essential workers, can get to work safely and on time is an important objective, including more than seven in 10 (72%) who say it is a very important objective. About six in 10 Maryland voters say reducing traffic congestion (61%), reducing the harmful pollution that lowers air quality and contributes to asthma and lung disease (60%), and ensuring low-income communities and communities of color have increased access to public transportation (59%) are very important objectives for MTA. Roughly half say lowering costs for Marylanders (49%) or adding new bus routes and train lines to reach rural communities (48%) are very important objectives as well.

Maryland voters support transit infrastructure spending now.
Nearly two-thirds (66%) of Maryland voters say Maryland should increase spending on transit infrastructure now to ensure Maryland residents, including essential workers, can get around the state safely, while also providing emergency relief to families, businesses, and public services. Majorities of Maryland voters also support a variety of transportation investments, including:

  • Investing in repairing and maintaining current transportation infrastructure (86%)
  • Adding new bus routes and train lines to reach communities that don’t currently have access to public transportation (83%)
  • Providing tax credits or rebates to individuals/households that purchase an electric vehicle (70%)
  • Adding bike lanes to existing roads and bridges (70%)
  • Investing state tax dollars in installing electric vehicle charging stations in rural, urban, suburban areas (68%)
  • Establishing zero-emission zones in cities (52%)

Maryland voters also support a wide array of climate policies, including:

  • Planting 4.5 million new trees over the next nine years to help remove carbon pollution from the air (86%)
  • Requiring oil and gas companies in the state to pay some of the costs related to adapting to climate change, including investments in transportation infrastructure and sea level rise (76%)
  • Requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a fee on their carbon pollution (74%)
  • Requiring new constructed buildings with at least 20,000 square feet to install rooftop solar panels (74%)
  • Requiring utility companies in Maryland to generate 100% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030 (72%)
  • Replacing state-owned gas- and diesel-powered vehicles with electric or hybrid vehicles (67%)
  • Requiring newly constructed homes and buildings to be emissions-free (66%)

Coronavirus response, infrastructure funding and climate action are seen as top priorities for Maryland this year.
More than eight in 10 Maryland voters say passing economic stimulus legislation (83%) and public health legislation (81%) in response to the coronavirus pandemic are important priorities for the Maryland state government this year, including more than six in 10 (61% and 61%, respectively) who say they should be top priorities. Transportation infrastructure is also seen as a high priority by voters in the state: About eight in 10 also say investing more in transportation infrastructure such as roads and bridges (83%) and passing an infrastructure spending bill to update and modernize Maryland’s infrastructure (78%) should be priorities. Roughly seven in 10 see addressing racism (73%) and passing a comprehensive bill to address climate change (69%) as important priorities for the state this year. And 72% of respondents said they support requiring utility companies in Maryland to generate 100% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Not only do Maryland voters support climate policies, but they want their elected representatives to support them as well.
At least seven in 10 say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate for Maryland political office who backs investing state dollars to upgrade the electric grid and expand the production of renewable energy (73%), requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a tax on their carbon pollution (71%), and reducing greenhouse gas emissions 60% from 2006 levels by 2030 (70%).

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By |2021-02-22T09:37:32-05:00February 22nd, 2021|Categories: Blog, Climate Change, Press|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Maryland LCV Announces Congressional Delegation Scores from LCV’s 2020 National Environmental Scorecard

February 18, 2021
Contact: Dannielle Lipinski, dlipinski@mdlcv.org

Maryland LCV Announces Congressional Delegation Scores from LCV’s 2020 National Environmental Scorecard

Annapolis, MD — Maryland LCV today released the Maryland congressional delegation’s scores from the League of Conservation Voters’ 2020 National Environmental Scorecard. The Scorecard is the primary yardstick for evaluating the environmental records of every member of Congress, and is available for download here, in Spanish here, and online in both languages at scorecard.lcv.org.

“President Biden has wasted no time putting climate at the top of his agenda to protect our future.,” said Maryland LCV’s executive director, Kim Coble. “Thankfully we have representatives who have stood up for Maryland’s values and put our future first. But Representative Andy Harris continues to side with corporate polluters over Maryland’s health and environment. There has never been a more important time for our delegation to work together and to protect every Maryland resident.”

The 2020 Scorecard measures votes cast during the second session of the 116th Congress. In Maryland, seven House members and Senators Cardin and Van Hollen earned a score of 90 percent or greater.  

The average House score for Maryland was 87 percent and the average Senate score was 92 percent. The full delegation’s scores for 2020 are:

Senator Cardin – 92 percent

Senator Van Hollen – 92 percent

Representative Harris – 0 percent

Representative Ruppersberger – 100 percent

Representative Sarbanes – 100 percent

Representative Brown – 95 percent

Representative Hoyer – 100 percent

Representative Trone – 100 percent

Representative Mfume – 100 percent

Representative Raskin – 100 percent

“During an incredibly difficult and unprecedented year and with the most anti-environmental president ever, pro-environment members of the 116th Congress paved the way for transformational action on climate and environmental justice,” said LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld. “Now the pro-environment trifecta — led by President Biden and Vice President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader Schumer — is poised to enact transformational progress that results in healthy, equitable, safe communities powered by clean energy.”

The 2020 Scorecard includes 21 House votes that advanced pro-environmental and pro-democracy bills, provisions, and government funding. In the Senate, for the fourth year in a row, the majority of the 13 scored votes were extreme and partisan nominations both to the federal bench and the Trump administration. 

For the first time, the 2020 National Environmental Scorecard includes votes on removing public monuments to racism and policing and criminal justice reform. The same damaging system—racism—is at the root of climate injustice, environmental injustice, and police brutality. The 2020 Scorecard therefore includes votes that reflect LCV’s belief that these struggles are intertwined and must be addressed together.

LCV has published a National Environmental Scorecard every Congress since 1970. The Scorecard represents the consensus of experts from more than 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations who selected the key votes on which members of Congress should be scored.

LCV scores votes on the most important issues of the year, including energy, climate change, environmental justice, public health, public lands and wildlife conservation, democracy, and spending for environmental programs. The votes included in the Scorecard presented members of Congress with a real choice and helped distinguish which legislators are working for environmental protection. More information on individual votes and the Scorecard archive can be found at scorecard.lcv.org.

Earlier this month, LCV released a new report examining the environmental records of members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), collectively referred to as the Tri-Caucus. Using data from LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard, the report details how members of the Tri-Caucus were champions of strong environmental policies that address environmental injustice, helped chair a record number of hearings about climate change, and led on many of the critical pro-environmental bills during the 116th Congress.

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By |2021-02-17T21:23:47-05:00February 18th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Press|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Why Now Climate Campaign

We can’t afford to wait any longer for climate action

Everyone has the right to breathable air, clean water, and healthy communities. And all of these are linked to the climate crisis here in Maryland.

Every year that we wait to take action against climate change, is less time we have to reverse its terrible effects.  We are experiencing a climate crisis — and greenhouse gas emissions are causing this crisis. Maryland is especially vulnerable to climate change. Floods and extreme weather events, such as heat waves and heavy storms are happening at an ever-increasing pace. And that’s why we are working hard on the American Jobs Plan and ensuring a climate recovery is a part of this essential policy.

That’s why we’ve launched the #WhyNow campaign. 

Why Now- Share your story on why we need climate action now

Why Now- Share your story on why we need climate action now

Share with us your #WhyNow story and tell your story about why we need climate action NOW and our leaders to pass the American Jobs Plan.

  • Write a short paragraph about why you believe our elected leaders need to take strong actions to fight climate change NOW and taking action to combat this crises is important to you, your family, and your community
  • Fill out the form below with a picture or video (no longer than 300 seconds) of your inspiration and story

And when you are done, please share with us your social media handles and we will tag you if we use your story in our campaign. #WhyNow #AmericanJobsPlan #ClimateRecovery

Collect video testimonials with Boast

 

By |2021-06-17T10:21:44-04:00February 3rd, 2021|Categories: Blog, Climate Change, DEIJ|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

The Brave New Virtual World of the 2021 Legislative Session

The Brave New Virtual World of the 2021 Legislative Session

There is an old saw around Annapolis that “every session is a special session.”  Every session is unique in its own special way.  Some sessions, however, are more unique than others, and this one certainly takes the cake.  Even veterans around the State Circle – legislative and lobbyist alike – are stumbling around like novices as we learn our way through the brave new world of Virtual Session.

To start with, most of us – including your Maryland LCV staff – are working our bills from the comfort (?) of our home offices, negotiating around spouses, children, and pets.  Gone, for the moment, are the hallway meetings, and the tips and (often critical) gossip gleaned from casual conversations around the charging stations and coffee shops.  

On the other hand: gone, too are the opportunities that give high-dollar lobbyists advantages over the non-profit lobby corps and grassroots advocates. Without the Committee Dinners and other opportunities that deep pocket expense accounts allow, we’re all on more even footing. With committee hearings taking place over Zoom, any individual with a computer and an internet connection has exactly the same ability to testify without needing to drive to Annapolis or spend hours on inefficient, unreliable public transit.

This last point is especially salient for this legislative session as we continue the fight to secure adequate funding for the Maryland Transit Administration’s public transit infrastructure, which is the first bill that your Maryland LCV staff will be testifying on this year. Watch out for the recording of the virtual rally that happened on January 19th, and for the play-by-play live-tweeting of the hearing of Senate Bill 199, the Transit Safety and Investment Act on January 28th.

Public transit systems all over the country have seen a dramatic decline in ridership, but this is much less true in Maryland than it is anywhere else.  A large percentage of our essential workers, especially those in health care, have continued to count on our buses, subways, light rail, and trains to get to work. Unfortunately, Maryland’s buses, subways, light rail, and trains break down significantly more often than those in comparable systems around the country. 

We are relying on essential workers, who are relying on unreliable public transit.  We all need and deserve safe and reliable transit.  Maryland LCV is leading the charge, with our partners, to improve our public transportation system for the sake of our environment, our health, and our economy. (Did you know that dollars spent on public transit yield roughly twice the jobs of the same amount spent on roads?)

We hope you’ll join us to bring this bill over the finish line by contacting your Delegates and Senators and ask them to pass the Transit Safety and Investment Act (HB 114/SB 199).  While the bill provides much needed funds to improve the transit system, these funds come from a reallocation of existing transportation funds. And stay tuned for next week when we report back on what happened in the hearing.

By |2021-02-02T08:29:31-05:00February 2nd, 2021|Categories: Blog, Climate Change, DEIJ|Tags: , , |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
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