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Diversity, Equity, Justice, and Inclusion

Maryland LCV Hosts statewide Town Hall with special guest, Senator Chris Van Hollen about the benefits of the American Jobs Plan for all Marylanders

For Immediate Release

June 23, 2021

Maryland LCV Hosts statewide Town Hall with special guest, Senator Chris Van Hollen about the benefits of the American Jobs Plan for all Marylanders

Annapolis, MD– Over  a hundred Marylanders tuned in Tuesday afternoon for a virtual Town Hall with special guest Senator Chris Van Hollen to discuss the federal American Jobs Plan and how the plan will directly benefit Marylanders. Community leaders asked the Senator questions about  how he will champion this much-needed economic, environmental, and equity-driven policy.  

“Marylanders are urging our elected leaders to create good-paying jobs while tackling climate change and environmental racism,” said Kim Coble, Maryland LCV executive director. “We are grateful to Senator Van Hollen for his leadership on this essential policy. A large majority (83%) of Maryland voters are clear that they support the investments of the American Jobs Plan in climate, clean energy jobs, and justice.”

“It’s time for Congress to pass the American Jobs Plan and get millions of people back to work in high-quality jobs while investing in ambitious climate solutions, environmental justice, and clean energy,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, LCV SVP of Government Affairs. “We are running out of time to tackle the climate crisis and address longstanding environmental injustice in this country.”

“As our country builds back from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have the chance to modernize and build our infrastructure for the 21st century while tackling climate change and creating good-paying jobs. President Biden’s American Jobs Plan lays the foundation for a more inclusive economy that expands opportunity for Marylanders and folks across our country. I’ve been proud to fight for many provisions within this plan, including legislation to create a national climate bank, cut energy costs for homeowners, create clean energy jobs and technology, and invest in efforts to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay and boost our state’s economy. I am committed to working in Congress to see these provisions through and ensure a brighter future for every Marylander,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen.

“Access to clean water is essential to a better, healthier, more equitable future. Yet many children and families across the U.S. still do not have access to safe sanitation or lead-free water from their taps—especially in low-income communities of color,” said Becky Hammer, Senior Attorney & Deputy Director of Federal Water Policy at NRDC. “President Biden’s American Jobs Plan would replace 100% of the lead pipe and service lines and modernize the nation’s drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems.”

“Preservation is not exclusively about the physical power of preserving historic buildings and sites,” said Nicholas Redding, President and CEO of Preservation Maryland. “Preservation is also a valuable workforce development tool; trained hands within trades careers are required to complete vital revitalization and restoration work across the state.”

“Between climate change, COVID-19, the economic crisis, and racial injustice, we find ourselves in the midst of an interconnected series of epidemics with shared, systemic roots. Unless those root causes are addressed, crises will continue to grow in those same frontline communities,” said Wandra Ashley-Williams, Maryland Regional Director of Climate XChange and Maryland State Conference NAACP. “With the American Jobs Plan, we have the opportunity to address these through Justice 40: the idea that 40% of the funding in the American Jobs Plan will go to local and frontline communities affected by climate change the most.”

Partners for this event included Strong Future Maryland, Maryland Forestry Foundation, Greenbelt Climate Action Network, Sierra Club Maryland Chapter, National Wildlife Federation Action Fund, Preservation MD, NAACP MSC, Climate XChange, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Potomac Conservancy, and NRDC.

This event was recorded and streamed live on facebook.

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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.

The American Jobs Plan will Build Maryland Back Better

The American Jobs Plan will Build Maryland Back Better

Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Report Card for America’s Infrastructure depicts the condition and performance of American infrastructure in the familiar form of a school report card—assigning letter grades based on the physical condition and needed investments for improvement.

In 2021, Maryland received a lackluster “C” grade, and the country’s infrastructure as a whole fared even worse, earning a “C-“ grade.  The Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan would make an historic investment in addressing the nation’s significant infrastructure challenges and help to raise our grade.

The American Jobs Plan will mobilize the country to address the climate crisis and  long-standing and persistent racial injustice. The plan targets 40 percent of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments to disadvantaged communities. And the plan also invests in rural communities and communities impacted by the market-based transition to clean energy.

Sign the petition today asking our congressional leaders to lead the way on this critical legislation>>

Here is just a sampling of key areas where the plan has the potential to deliver big for Maryland:

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Maryland suffers from some of the worst public transit in the nation. Marylanders who take public transportation spend an extra 66.3% of their time commuting than those in cars and people of color are 2.7 times more likely to commute via public transportation. 

 

RESILIENT INFRASTRUCTURE: From 2010 to 2020, Maryland has experienced 31 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $10 billion in damages. The President is calling for $50 billion to improve the resiliency of our infrastructure and support communities’ recovery from disaster. The plan will upgrade and modernize America’s drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems with a focus on green infrastructure and using nature and nature based systems. It will invest in rural small water systems, household wells, and wastewater systems, including drainage fields.

DRINKING WATER: Over the next 20 years, Maryland’s drinking water infrastructure will require $9.3 billion in additional funding. The American Jobs Plan includes a $111 billion national investment to ensure clean, safe drinking water is a right in all communities. The plan will replace 100% of lead pipes and service lines. President Biden’s plan also provides $10 billion in funding to monitor and remediate PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) nationwide.

 

HOME ENERGY: In Maryland, an average low-income family spends 6-8% of their income on home energy costs (compared to the average Maryland family spending 1.8% of income). The AJP will upgrade low-income homes to make them more energy efficient, saving homeowners money.

 

ACCELERATE CHESAPEAKE BAY RESTORATION: A key component of this plan is to protect and, where necessary, restore nature-based infrastructure – our lands, forests, wetlands, watersheds, and coastal and ocean resources. There are over $1 billion in shovel ready projects in Maryland that could be financed through Clean Water State Revolving Funds with help from the American Jobs Plan.

 

GREEN JOBS: The plan will create a New Civilian Climate Corps. This $10 billion investment nationwide will put a new, diverse generation of Americans to work conserving our public lands and waters, bolstering community resilience, and advancing environmental justice.

 

The plan also promises significant upgrades for Maryland and other states in broadband access, manufacturing, clean energy jobs, home energy upgrades, and childcare assistance. You can find a comprehensive fact sheet on the plan’s benefits for Maryland here.

At Maryland LCV, we are committed to creatively and aggressively protecting the state’s land, air, water, and communities, and especially meeting the challenges of the climate crisis. We can’t reach those goals unless Maryland’s infrastructure is improved dramatically in a way that meets the needs of all our residents. The American Jobs Plan’s focus on climate, jobs, and justice positions it as a bold and much-needed investment in Maryland and the country.

Download our Maryland factsheet on the American Jobs Plan here.

And check out the recent polling on what Marylanders think of the American Jobs Plan here:

  • 83% of voters across the state support the American Jobs Plan
  • 83% think it’s important that Congress takes action to address climate change
  • 85% support investments in clean energy jobs
  • 78% support ensuring the benefits of climate and clean energy investments go to the environmental justice communities long exploited by polluters.

On June 22, 2021 we held a Town Hall with Senator Chris Van Hollen and on July 13 we held another Town Hall with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer with over 100 Marylanders at each event to talk about the American Jobs Plan and how it will affect Maryland. Watch the recordings here.

Statement from Maryland LCV on the Biden Administration’s “30 by 30” Plan

Statement from Maryland LCV on the Biden Administration’s “30 by 30” Plan

On May 6, 2021 the Biden Administration released its new “America the Beautiful” report, which outlines steps the U.S. could take to protect 30 percent of U.S. lands and water by 2030. The Maryland League of Conservation Voters released the following statement in response to the announcement:

The Biden Administration’s commitment to conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands, waters, and ocean by 2030 is great news for all Marylanders. The science is clear that conserving and restoring natural areas is an effective strategy to buffer against the worst impacts of climate change. With more than 7,000 miles of shoreline and approximately 265,000 acres of land that is less than five feet above sea level, Maryland’s coastal communities are among the most vulnerable in the country.

In addition, for too long low-income communities and communities of color in Maryland and elsewhere have not had access or representation when decisions that affect green spaces and nature are made. The result has been inequitable distribution of green space and adverse social, economic, and health consequences. The 30 by 30 plan will increase local participation in the decision-making process, bringing forward solutions that work for communities while protecting Maryland’s natural systems that are so crucial to our well-being and economic security. 

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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 |2021-05-06T14:24:54-04:00May 6th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Clean Water and the Bay, Climate Change, DEIJ, Press|Tags: , |0 Comments

Maryland LCV Statement on Chauvin Guilty Verdict

Maryland LCV Statement on Chauvin Guilty Verdict

Annapolis, MD — In response to the jury’s finding that Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is guilty on all murder charges for killing George Floyd, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (LCV) issued the following statement:

“No court verdict will ever deliver real justice to Black people who have for too long been the victim of violence from police, but we are grateful that George Floyd’s killer will face some measure of accountability under the law. 

“Maryland LCV exists to protect Maryland’s land, air, water — and its communities. We will continue to advocate for and work towards solutions that bring real equity and justice for all Marylanders. Today and every day, we believe Black Lives Matter.”

By |2021-04-21T13:20:40-04:00April 21st, 2021|Categories: Blog, DEIJ, Press|Tags: , |0 Comments

Compounding crises: How climate change and COVID-19 disproportionately impact women

Compounding crises: How climate change and COVID-19 disproportionately impact women

What do the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic have in common? They both disproportionately impact women, especially women of color.

Throughout the course of the pandemic women have left the workforce in alarming numbers and have lost an average of 5.4 million jobs in the United States — 1 million more than their male counterparts. And, women of color are being hit the hardest by the pandemic and by the effects of climate change.

In December of 2020, women of color accounted for ALL of the recorded job losses, and 154,000 Black women left the labor force entirely. Women are expected to balance careers and provide financial support while also being the dominant caretakers of children and family at home. In many communities, especially rural communities and communities of color, this caretaking means tending to the home, looking after children, assisting aging family members, acquiring resources for the family, and providing emotional support.

Similarly, many social, economic, and cultural inequities make women more likely to absorb the very real impacts of climate change. For example, women are more likely than men to face economic insecurity, and people living in poverty are exposed to climate disasters at a greater rate. Women have less access to civic rights and land acquisition opportunities, are less often in decision-making positions, and face systematic violence in every institution. And, the ever-worsening effects of climate change — drought, fires, natural disasters, food shortages — make women’s role as caretakers increasingly more difficult

This is why solutions to both the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic need to not only center and uplift women, but must be made with them! Existing policy and infrastructure must shift to support and elevate women and mothers, and change the culture of caretaking in our country. Creating a world that works for women is imperative to an equitable, sustainable future.

Women are resilient changemakers who shape the face of policy and progress across the globe. Even during a global pandemic, 2020 became a record year of firsts for the United States, with Kamala Harris becoming the first Black and South Asian woman to be elected as vice president, Deb Haaland becoming the first Indigenous cabinet secretary, Katherine Tai becoming the first woman of color and first Asian American serving as US trade representative, Dr. Rachel Levine becoming the first openly transgender person confirmed in a federal post, and many more amazing women taking their place in our government — including, of course, the women legislators of Maryland

The current Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, Delegate Adrienne Jones, is the first woman and the first person of color to hold that spot, and she is supported by Speaker Pro-Tem, Sheree Sample-Hughes. President Pro-Tem, Melony Griffith, in the Senate is also a woman of color. Women lead half of the House of Delegates Committees and one quarter of the Senate Committees. In fact, the current Maryland Women’s Legislative Caucus is the largest in our state’s history, representing 30% of the Senate and 43% of the House of Delegates. While this is not equal representation, it is substantial progress from the government our mothers and grandmothers would recognize.

It’s on all of us to build a more equitable and safer planet — and that means centering women, especially women of color. We must also choose to confront sexism, dismantle the patriarchy, and challenge white supremacy, every day.

Here’s to the progress that we’ve made and to the fight ahead!

In Solidarity,

The Women of Maryland LCV

By |2021-03-29T10:59:10-04:00March 29th, 2021|Categories: Blog, DEIJ|Tags: , |0 Comments

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

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 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

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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