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. 

 

Maryland Voters Strongly Support Major Action by General Assembly To Address Climate Change and Improve Public Transportation

IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

February 22, 2021
Contact: Dannielle Lipinski,
443-617-7257                                          

Maryland Voters Strongly Support Major Action by General Assembly To Address Climate Change and Improve Public Transportation

New Poll Shows Strong Backing for Increased Use of Renewable Energy, Tree Planting and Expanded Public Transportation Options 

Annapolis, MD – As wide-ranging climate and transportation legislation moves through the 2021 Maryland General Assembly, a poll from the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV) shows that Maryland voters strongly support doing more to comprehensively address climate change and improve transportation and transit options.

The new polling, which was commissioned by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, was released today as the Climate Solutions Now Coalition brings together hundreds of climate-action supporters for an online rally to urge legislative approval of comprehensive climate and transportation legislation this year. The lead sponsors of major climate action legislation will speak at the 5 p.m. rally, along with  national climate-action leader Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org.

The poll found that voters strongly support a wide array of strategies to address climate change. Among the findings, the poll showed:

  • 76 percent said they are worried about global warming.
  • 69 percent believe a comprehensive bill to address climate change should be a priority for the state. 
  • 72 percent support requiring electric utilities in Maryland to generate 100 percent of their electricity from renewable resources, like wind and solar, by the year 2030. 
  • Depending on the policy approximately ¾ of voters polled support the state requiring a wide array of climate policies from various greenhouse gas contributing sectors.
  • 96 percent say it is very important for the Maryland Transit Authority (MTA) to ensure Marylanders, including essential workers, can get to work safely and on time.
  • 83 percent support adding new bus routes and train lines to reach communities that don’t currently have access to public transportation. 
  • More than 85 percent consider it very or somewhat important that the MTA ensures low-income communities and communities of color have increased access to public transportation.

The poll also found strong support for 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%). Click here for a memo summarizing the poll’s findings. 

Major legislation pending in the General Assembly, the Climate Solutions Now Act, would move Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction mandate to net neutral by 2045, as recommended by the Maryland Commission on Climate Change, and plant 5 million trees by 2030.

“The Climate Solutions Now Act will help rebuild Maryland’s economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and  addressing Maryland’s overburdened communities,” said Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble. “The poll confirms that voters believe we need to act now to address the climate crisis. And that includes investments in transit, which reduce greenhouse emissions and produce twice as many jobs as similar investments in roads.” 

“We need to move with the urgency that conditions require,” said Sen. Paul Pinsky, lead Senate sponsor of the climate bill. “Maryland has a great opportunity to set a more aggressive pathway to address climate change. Now is the time to act.”

“Climate change is the challenge of our time — threatening public health, public safety and the environment,” said Del. Dana Stein, the House sponsor of the climate bill. “The Climate Solutions Now Act responds to this challenge by requiring Maryland to get to net zero emissions by 2045 and implementing several measures to help us get to net zero.” 

One key finding in the poll was that voters strongly support (86%) planting millions of trees to help improve water quality and remove carbon pollution from the air – a strategy called for in the Climate Solutions Now bill. 

“Trees naturally filter water and air as well as sequester carbon,” said Doug Myers, Senior Maryland Scientist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “These qualities fight climate change, but trees have so many other benefits, including providing habitat to animals, increasing property values by beautifying communities, and preventing heat islands in urban areas where temperatures rise significantly higher in areas without trees than those with them. The tree planting goal in this bill will bring these benefits to neighborhoods throughout Maryland as well as help the state meet its Chesapeake Bay cleanup goals.”

A key piece of legislation, the Transit Safety and Investment Act, would mandate $123 million annually from the Transportation Trust Fund for the next six years to address the transit repair needs identified by the MTA. This guaranteed funding is essential to ensure that the investment has long-term benefits of economic stability and job growth. The General Assembly is also considering the Zero-Emission Bus Transition Act, which would require that all buses purchased by the Maryland Department of Transportation beginning in 2023 be zero emission, ultimately leading to a complete fleet transition. 

“Given that transportation is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, transportation policies and climate policies are tightly connected,” Coble said. “This poll confirms what we consistently hear: Marylanders want the state to be a national leader in addressing the climate crisis and ensuring the transportation infrastructure serves us well and equitably.” 

Along with their own support for climate action, Maryland voters also want their elected representatives to support such policies. 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%).

“Pollution from fossil fuels makes people more likely to die from COVID-19,” Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s Federal and Policy Director Jamie DeMarco. “That’s one reason two thirds of our state wants comprehensive solutions like the Climate Solutions Now Act to be a priority in 2021.”

The poll was conducted 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 from January 27 to February 4, 2021, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5%.

The Climate Solutions Now Coalition is a statewide umbrella group bringing together dozens of organizations and individuals working to strengthen Maryland’s response to climate change.  

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By |2021-02-22T14:39:53-05:00February 22nd, 2021|Categories: Climate Change, 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

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 |2021-02-02T07:40:29-05:00February 2nd, 2021|Categories: Equity, Press|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 |2021-01-14T12:52:10-05:00January 14th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Equity, Press|Tags: , |0 Comments

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

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Maryland LCV Education Fund, a non-profit, non partisan organization, works to strengthen the Maryland environmental community by growing a base of conservation-minded voters across the state. A leading environmental organization in Annapolis, we have advocated for smart environmental policies working to make Maryland a healthy and prosperous place for families and communities. Maryland LCV Ed Fund protects public health by fighting for restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and local waters, preserving green spaces, promoting smarter growth and increasing Maryland’s investment in clean energy.
 
Chispa, meaning “spark” in Spanish, is a program of Maryland League of Conservation Voters Ed Fund launched in 2014. Chispa Maryland has been working to ensure that Maryland Latino families and community leaders are a powerful voice for protecting the environment, our health, and our future. Chispa works with Latino families, community groups, faith-based organizations, and legislators to identify and address unique environmental issues facing Latino communities in Maryland.
By |2020-12-22T08:07:08-05:00December 22nd, 2020|Categories: Equity, Press|Tags: , , |0 Comments