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Maryland LCV Organizes Community Art Activation calling for Climate Action Now at the National Aquarium in Baltimore

September 9, 2021

Maryland LCV Organizes Community Art Activation calling for Climate Action Now at the National Aquarium in Baltimore

Baltimore, MD —  Thursday morning, Maryland LCV teamed up with local artist Michael Kirby in front of the National Aquarium to participate in a community art project connecting Maryland’s urgent need to address the threats of the climate crisis in the state with the stories of the people and the communities who are impacted by the climate crisis.

With the latest IPCC climate report citing a “code red for humanity,” communities are mobilizing to demand action at the scale that science and justice demands. Maryland alone experienced 31 extreme weather events in the past 10 years, costing the state up to $10 billion in damages. Today’s art activation is just another way people are coming together across the country to call for bold climate infrastructure investments that deliver clean energy, jobs and justice.

“Just last week, Hurricane Ida made landfall over 1,000 miles away and wreaked havoc in its path- damaging our communities and fragile ecosystems. These storms and extreme weather events are just increasing in size and frequency because of climate change. It’s time for action,” said Laura Bankey, vice president of National Aquarium’s Conservation Programs.

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to ‘Build Back Better,’ to create a clean energy economy that works for everyone and lifts up frontline and disadvantaged communities. Our elected leaders need to hear that we are calling for climate action now,” said Kim Coble, executive director of Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

A representative from Senator Van Hollen’s office, Shannon Sneed stopped by along with Governor Hogan, who was on his way to another event.

Photos of the event can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/mdlcv/posts/10157921356411174

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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 |2021-09-13T14:41:43-04:00September 13th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Climate Change, Press|Tags: , |0 Comments

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley calls on Congress to pass Biden infrastructure and climate plan at virtual roundtable

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley calls on Congress to pass Biden infrastructure and climate plan at virtual roundtable

Mayors highlighted local importance of passing climate investments for local communities

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley joined mayors from four other states at a virtual town hall to call on Congress to pass President Biden’s infrastructure and climate plan, highlighting the family-sustaining union jobs that would be created with a transformational investment in clean energy.

Buckley hailed the Senate’s recent passage of a bipartisan infrastructure deal to invest in crumbling bridges and expand public transit. But he said that this first step must be joined to a second, $3.5 trillion jobs and climate package currently under consideration in Congress in order to transform the region’s economy and bring it into the 21st century.

“Annapolis is particularly vulnerable to climate change, having experienced the largest increase of any U.S. city in nuisance flooding days over the last 50 years,” said Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley. “We are committed to strategically tackling climate change, but need a similar commitment from Congress. Simply stated, we need federal investments that match the scale of the problems we face. We need to pass the full Build Back Better agenda.”

Buckley was joined by mayors from three other states to highlight the importance of swift action from Washington: Mayor Ravi Bhalla of Hoboken, New Jersey; Mayor Paige Cognetti of Scranton, Pennsylvania; and Mayor Kathy Sheehan of Albany, New York.

The mayors highlighted the union jobs that would be created if Congress moves forward with the president’s plan to tackle climate change, pointing to investments in renewable energy sources and weatherization that would also help lower energy costs for consumers and businesses alike.

And they pointed to proposals that would replace every lead pipe in the nation, finally eliminating a threat to our nation’s children, as well as investments in remediating contaminated industrial sites as a means of revitalizing blighted communities.

“Hoboken is on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Superstorm Sandy flooded over 80% of our city and left residents without water and power for days, and chronic flood events have become more frequent. We are proud to be part of the solution by investing in green infrastructure, solar energy, and electric vehicles, but there is more work to be done,” said Hoboken Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla, “We’ve pledged to have our City operations be carbon neutral by 2035, and when they’re completed, our resiliency parks will hold over a million gallons of stormwater runoff. But this moment also demands bold action at the Federal level. Congress must pass President Biden’s Full Build Back Better Agenda now to give Hoboken and cities like us the tools we need.”

“Every elected official, from the federal level to the local level, has a role in combatting climate change. We have a massive opportunity with President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda, and the City of Albany is ready to do our part to rebuild our infrastructure, build a clean energy grid, and create good-paying jobs for our community” Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said. “Albany is an economic and cultural center for New York, and we have a responsibility to protect our city for future generations. Thank you to the New York League of Conservation Voters for hosting this important discussion.”

“While the bipartisan infrastructure deal that passed the Senate complements work we’ve already been doing in Scranton around charging stations for electric cars and looking at needed electricity grid improvements,” Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti said, “we need the second federal package to truly boost job creation by funding the construction of electric school buses and trucks to improve air quality and transform our transportation sector. The fact is that Scranton residents are counting on Congress to pass President Biden’s agenda to create jobs while tackling the existential threat posed by a changing climate. We need Congress to meet this historic moment and act without delay.”

While the mayors hailed the bipartisan compromise that led to the infrastructure deal, they called on Democrats in Congress to press forward with a standalone climate and energy package — pointing to overwhelming public support for investments in clean energy and other aspects of the president’s agenda.

A recent Data for Progress poll found that 65 percent of voters support these investments.

Buckley joined with his colleagues in calling on Congress to work with President Biden to ensure swift passage of legislation that enjoys such significant support.

The event was hosted by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, the New York League of Conservation Voters, and Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania. As part of their ongoing nationwide campaign, League of Conservation Voters state affiliates across the country are hosting regional discussions this week with mayors from New England, the Midwest, and the Mountain West.  In total, 20 U.S. mayors will join the Conservation Voter Movement for Climate Action Now events this week. These discussions are part of LCV and Climate Power’s Climate Action Now: Great American Build August tour with over 30 events across the country building support for federal climate action.

“Annapolis and Mayor Buckley are national leaders in creatively and purposefully addressing the impacts of climate change,” said Kai Mateo, Maryland LCV’s Federal Climate Campaign Manager. “To be successful, America’s mayors, and all those on the frontlines of handling the climate crisis, need, and deserve a plan as ambitious as Build Back Better.”

“If we hope to combat climate change, we need strong leadership at the local level. We’re thrilled to be able to bring together four mayors who are leading on this front to discuss Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda. With bold federal climate action, we can make important local investments and create good-paying union jobs, build resilient infrastructure, and create a just and equitable clean energy grid. We thank Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Mayor Gavin Buckley, Mayor Ravi Bhalla, and Mayor Paige Cognetti for leading on climate and participating in our discussion,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters.

“Cities like Hoboken are on the front lines of climate change,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. “They’re doing the work to expand access to renewable energy, reduce flooding from stormwater, and harden their communities against the impacts of rising sea levels and increasingly severe storms. But elected officials like Mayor Bhalla deserve a partner in Washington who will provide them with the resources they need to chart a sustainable, clean energy future for their communities. It’s time for Congress to step up and pass President Biden’s transformational infrastructure and climate plan to put people to work expanding access to renewable energy and in addressing increasing flooding that threatens our most vulnerable residents.”

“Cities like Scranton are on the front lines addressing our climate crisis,” said Molly Parzen, Interim Executive Director of Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania. “But they need support from the federal government if they are going to curb emissions and protect their residents from the impacts of increasingly severe storms and worsening flooding. Congress must act now to pass President Biden’s transformational climate and infrastructure agenda, which enjoys strong bipartisan support. The people of Scranton, and of Pennsylvania, need to know that their elected representatives in Congress are fighting for them.”

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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.

Voices of the Chesapeake with Kim Coble

With Kim Coble

Interview by Michael Buckley for Voices of the Chesapeake Bay, broadcast on Sundays between 7am – 10am on 103.1 WRNR-FM (streaming live at www.wrnr.com). Kim Coble’s Voices of the Chesapeake Bay interview recorded Wednesday, July 28, 2021 at The Maryland League of Conservation Voters office in Annapolis.

By |2021-08-09T15:02:35-04:00August 9th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Press|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Sen. Cory McCray, Dr. Sacoby Wilson to be Recognized by Maryland LCV for Outstanding Environmental Contributions

August 3, 2021

Sen. Cory McCray, Dr. Sacoby Wilson to be Recognized by Maryland LCV for Outstanding Environmental Contributions

Annapolis, MD – State Senator Cory McCray (District 45, Baltimore City) and environmental health scientist Dr. Sacoby Wilson are being honored by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (LCV) for their environmental leadership at their annual event, Changemakers: Celebrating Environmental Leaders. 

Sen. McCray, a member of the Budget and Tax Committee, has represented Maryland’s 45th legislative district since 2018 and also serves as vice chair of the Maryland Democratic Party. He will receive Maryland LCV’s Legislator of the Year award in recognition of his leadership as lead Senate sponsor of the Transit Safety and Investment Act (SB199/HB 114).

“The Transportation Safety and Investment Act was inarguably the most significant environmental win of the 2021 legislative session,” said Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble. “Senator McCray’s skillful and passionate floor leadership brought the bill across the finish line with strong, bipartisan majority support.”

“It is an honor to receive the Legislator of the Year Award from the Maryland League of Conservation Voters,” said Senator Cory McCray. “The pleasure has been all mine to work with Maryland LCV during my time in the General Assembly.”

“Right here in Maryland we are making strides to sustain our environment, one that we take pride in leaving for our children,” Senator McCray continued. “I am very proud that a major bill I sponsored, the Transit Safety and Investment Act, was passed out of the General Assembly with bi-partisan support. Step-by-step we continue to make progress on climate change, and I look forward to continuing to work with Maryland LCV to shape policy that protects our state’s natural resources — and Marylanders.”

Senator McCray has a 97 percent lifetime environmental score from Maryland LCV through his seven years in office, including four as a member of the House Environment and Transportation Committee. During a session where advocates were limited by remote access, Senator McCray became the chief advocate in the Budget and Taxation Committee and, working with leadership, assured a unanimous vote out of the committee for the key environmental bill. 

Maryland LCV’s Legislator of the Year awardees are selected based on leadership and commitment to promote and pass equitable laws and policies for clean water, healthy air, and a resilient climate. Previous awardees include Senator Paul Pinsky, Delegate Marc Korman, and Delegate Brooke Lierman- among others. [full list of Legislator of the Year awardees here]

Dr. Sacoby Wilson is an associate professor with the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Health. He directs the Center for Community Engagement, Environmental Justice, and Health (CEEJH). Dr. Wilson has over 20 years of experience as an environmental health scientist, and has partnered with community-based organizations across the country on environmental justice issues including environmental racism.

“I am very humbled to be recognized by Maryland LCV for my work. As an environmental health scientist and environmental justice advocate, I think it is important to support communities on the frontline and fenceline who are disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards and climate injustice.  I will continue to work with Maryland LCV, other advocacy groups, and grassroots organizations to fight against corporate polluters and fight for policies that protect the environment, improve public health, and benefit the most vulnerable and the most impacted groups,” said Dr. Sacoby Wilson.

Dr. Wilson will receive the John V. Kabler Memorial Award, which is presented by Maryland LCV to recognize an outstanding environmental leader or organization. Previous winners include such Maryland environmental luminaries as Congressman Wayne Gilchrest (2008) and DNR Secretary John Griffin (2012). [full list of Kabler awardees here]

Senator McCray and Dr. Wilson will be formally recognized on September 23 at Maryland LCV’s Changemakers annual event on the waterfront in Baltimore. The event’s keynote speaker is Kelly Speakes-Backman, the Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) at the U.S. Department of Energy. 

The title sponsor for the Changemakers event is Ørsted, the global leader in offshore wind development. Ørsted is currently developing Skipjack Wind 1, a 120 megawatt project off the Maryland-Delaware coast that is scheduled to be operational by mid-2026. This project was awarded Maryland’s first offshore wind solicitation and is expected to create approximately 1,400 Maryland jobs, spur at least $200 million in Maryland economic investment, and generate enough clean energy to power 40,000 homes in the region. 

“We are delighted to partner with Maryland LCV through the Changemakers event,” said David Hardy, CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America. “We share their goals of helping Maryland become a national leader in clean energy solutions, as well as Maryland LCV’s commitment to environmental justice initiatives that ensure the state’s underserved communities have equal access to the opportunities created by offshore wind. Ørsted looks forward to working with Maryland LCV and supporting the State of Maryland in reaching its offshore wind goals.”

Maryland LCV is honored to celebrate these environmental leaders at our upcoming 20th anniversary event. Sponsorships for Changemakers are still available and tickets are now on sale. To learn more and attend the event, visit https://www.mdlcv.org/changemakers

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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.

Statement from Maryland LCV on Sec. Buttigieg’s Visit to Baltmore Port

Statement from Maryland LCV on Sec. Buttigieg’s Visit to Baltimore Port

Tomorrow (Thursday July 29), Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will visit the Port of Baltimore to discuss the importance of federal infrastructure investments. Maryland LCV released the following statement in support of the visit. 

“Secretary Buttigieg’s visit to the Port of Baltimore illustrates the crucial role the bipartisan infrastructure plan will play in creating jobs for our communities, with a forward-looking focus on clean energy solutions and environmental justice,” said Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble. “The plan will also ensure modernizing the Port, as well as our highways and transportation systems.”

“Maryland is fortunate to have strong elected representatives, including Senators Cardin and Van Hollen and Representatives Hoyer and Raskin, that support the Biden Administration’s plan to create equitable economic opportunities while also fighting climate change.”

“We are especially grateful to have the Secretary of Transportation in Baltimore drawing attention to the transportation infrastructure problems in Baltimore and elevating the need for a legislative override of Governor Hogan’s veto of the Transit Safety and Investment Act.”

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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.

Maryland LCV Hosts statewide Town Hall with Rep. Steny Hoyer about how the Build Back Better Plan will benefit all Marylanders

For Immediate Release  

July 13, 2021                              

Maryland LCV Hosts statewide Town Hall with Rep. Steny Hoyer about how the Build Back Better Plan will benefit all Marylanders

Annapolis, MD– Almost a hundred Marylanders tuned in Tuesday afternoon for a virtual Town Hall with Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer to discuss how the Biden Administration’s Build Back Better plan will directly benefit Marylanders. Community leaders asked the Congressman questions about how he will champion this ambitious clean energy, environmental justice, and jobs plan.  

“I am glad to participate in this evening’s town hall with the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and people across our state who care deeply about how we can build Maryland back better,” said Congressman Hoyer. “Marylanders deserve strong investments in infrastructure that will help lay the foundation for our families, communities, and economy to thrive.

This means creating more union jobs with strong wages, addressing environmental and economic inequities in communities of color, addressing the climate crisis, and boosting our economy at the same time. That is why I am working hard to enact President Biden’s American Jobs Plan into law. I thank the Maryland League of Conservation Voters for hosting this discussion today and all the Marylanders who tuned in because they continue to believe strongly in the importance of a sustainable environment and a robust economy.”

“Marylanders have made clear that they support meaningful investments in climate, clean energy jobs, and justice,” said Kim Coble, Maryland LCV executive director. “The Biden Administration’s Build Back Better plan would deliver these investments, and we greatly appreciate Congressman Hoyer’s leadership role in promoting this much-needed plan.”

“We’re running out of time to tackle the climate crisis and address longstanding environmental injustice in this country,” said Matthew Davis, LCV Senior Director of Government Affairs. “It’s imperative for Congress to pass the entire  Build Back Better agenda, and put us on the path to 100% clean energy in order to  get people back to work in high-quality jobs while investing in ambitious climate solutions and environmental justice.”

“It is critical that working people are front and center as our economy transitions and that we create good, union jobs, while tackling the climate crisis,” said Dan Taylor, Regional Field Organizer with the BlueGreen Alliance. “The Biden administration’s American Jobs Plan is a great first step that puts people first as it ambitiously tackles today’s challenges.”

“Justice 40 holds tremendous promise for fence line communities in the fight against climate change. To make the promise a reality, the NAACP Maryland State Conference implores our legislators to build in specific language to the funding, oversight, interventions, and authority, to ensure organizations, which have historically been instruments for imposing discriminatory, race-based policies and practices, use the funding as intended.” said Staci Hartwell, Co-Chair, NAACP Maryland State Conference, Environmental and Climate Justice Committee.

“It’s important to ensure that water is a central component of any infrastructure package. We want to see both investment in hard infrastructure and flood-resilient nature-based infrastructure.  Wetlands, trees, and aquatic ecosystems are critical to water health as well as drinking water pipes and wastewater treatment facilities,” said Rosa Hance, Maryland Sierra Club Chapter Chair.

“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.”

“The immediate health effects of climate change, such as heat related deaths in the Pacific Northwest, are increasing dramatically.  The Biden administration climate plan is ambitious and needs to be passed this year to provide impetus for action to prevent even more catastrophic events in the future.  Personally, as a physician, this is a moral imperative. We applaud Congressman Hoyer’s work on this issue.” said Christine D. Berg, M.D. of  Greenbelt Climate Action Network. 

“The Build Back Better plan will begin to address systemic crises in our frontline communities, including the interconnected challenges of climate change, COVID-19, the economic crisis, and racial injustice,” said Wandra Ashley-Williams, Maryland Regional Director of Climate XChange.

“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—all at no cost to homeowners.”

“Congress needs to invest in clean water for all and environmental justice for the communities that have borne the brunt of decades of pollution and economic decline,” said Willis Kliefoth, Director of Digital Communications for Potomac Conservancy. “The American Jobs Plan provisions for green jobs, environmental justice, and nature-based infrastructure are key aspects of a bold, holistic vision for economic recovery that will make our communities healthier and more resilient, restore wildlife habitat, and ensure an equitable transition to a green jobs-based economy.”

Partners for this event included Strong Future Maryland, CCAN, GCAN, Sierra Club- SoMD, National Wildlife Federation, Preservation MD, NAACP-MSC, Climate X Change, NRDC, Potomac Conservancy, and Blue Green Alliance. 

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.

Mdlcv.org

Maryland LCV Lauds Senators Cardin and Van Hollen for Chesapeake Bay Funding Efforts

Maryland LCV Lauds Senators Cardin and Van Hollen for Chesapeake Bay Funding Efforts

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) are leading Democratic senators from throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed in urging the leadership of the Senate Committee on Appropriations to support strong funding levels for several agencies and programs vital to the recovery and stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay. The Senators’ funding request is here.

“The Chesapeake Bay is a natural treasure that is crucial to Maryland’s voters, watermen, businesses, and tourism,” said Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble. “Senators Cardin and Van Hollen have long fought to restore the Chesapeake and for sound water policies that ensure everyone in Maryland has clean water to drink, explore, and enjoy. We once again thank Maryland’s Senators for their efforts to ensure the Chesapeake Bay’s continued restoration is fully funded and prioritized.”

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.

LCV and MD, NJ, NY, PA, OR affiliates laud House Committee passage of INVEST in America Act

LCV and MD, NJ, NY, PA, OR affiliates laud House Committee passage of INVEST in America Act

Washington, D.C. — The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and its statewide affiliates from five key states lauded the passage of landmark legislation designed to create jobs by investing in efforts to curb climate change through an important committee.

a once-in-a-generation comprehensive proposal to put the United States on the path to addressing our global climate crisis by investing $2.2 trillion to create millions of good-paying, high-quality jobs rebuilding the United States’ crumbling infrastructure.

“We applaud Chairman DeFazio for his leadership on this comprehensive surface transportation bill which will help to move our country toward a pollution-free future while creating good jobs in the process, “said Sara Chieffo, LCV Vice President of Government Affairs. “The INVEST in America Act includes transformative investments that will help maintain and improve public transit, accelerate fleet transition to zero-emission vehicles, and strengthen passenger rail. This is just the beginning – it’s time for Congress to pass the full American Jobs Plan — the plan that centers climate, clean energy, jobs, and justice and has the backing of labor unions, environmental justice leaders, businesses, and local leaders from across the country. We must seize this opportunity to make once-in-a-generation progress.”

Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, the New York League of Conservation Voters, Maryland League of Conservation Voters, and Oregon League of Conservation Voters hailed votes to approve the INVEST in America Act from members of Congress from their states.

“People don’t tend to think of committees as thrilling catalysts of great change, but the legislation passed out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will change the world,” said Josh McNeil, executive director of Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania. “Pennsylvanians and our fellow Americans will gain good jobs, breathe cleaner air, and enjoy modern trains, bridges, and water pipes because of this moment.”

“Investments in public transit and modernizing our electric grid will create well-paying union jobs while helping to curb harmful emissions that cause climate change and exacerbate public health problems, including asthma and heart disease, that disproportionately affect communities of color,” said Ed Potosnak, executive director, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. “We want to thank our environmental champions for moving this critical legislation through Congress.”

In New Jersey, Reps. Donald Payne, who chairs the Subcommittee on Railroads, and Tom Malinowski voted in favor of advancing the legislation.

Today’s move represents an important step in Congress advancing the president’s infrastructure agenda. Following this key committee vote, and we expect the INVEST in America Act will soon be up for a vote on the House floor.

“We constantly receive new data confirming the urgency of reducing emissions that cause climate change and health problems, especially in frontline and fenceline communities,” said Maryland LCV executive director, Kim Coble. “We thank Maryland’s congressional delegation for recognizing the critical role reforming transportation policy must play in putting people to work while protecting our environment and our most vulnerable communities.”

“As Washington prepares to finalize the American Jobs Plan, New York congressmembers are helping to make it a reality,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “Transportation is the leading contributor to climate change in New York and nationwide. The INVEST in America Act, which is in line with the goals of the American Jobs Plan, would fund mass transit and rail while prioritizing frontline communities. It will cut emissions, promote clean transportation, and create good-paying green jobs. It will also make commuting easier for New Yorkers by investing in Amtrak’s bridges and tunnels like the proposed Gateway Tunnel. This progress reiterates that our climate recovery goes hand in hand with our economic recovery.”

“For over 30 years, the people of Oregon have called Chairman DeFazio an environmental champion, and his leadership to pass new comprehensive transportation reform shows you why,” said Doug Moore, Executive Director of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. “If we are going to tackle climate change, we need to fundamentally change how we move around our state and country. The INVEST in American Act accelerates our transition to clean transportation options, electric vehicles, and will improve air quality for millions of people across Oregon and the country. This is the meaningful progress we need to see from Congress and we are thankful to have Chairman DeFazio fighting every day for our future and the future for our kids.”

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By |2021-06-10T13:49:55-04:00June 10th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Press|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

STATEMENT of the SAVE MARYLAND TRANSIT COALITION on Gov. Hogan’s Last-Minute Veto of the Maryland Transit Safety & Investment Act

For Immediate Release
May 28, 2021

STATEMENT of the SAVE MARYLAND TRANSIT COALITION on Gov. Hogan’s Last-Minute Veto of the Maryland Transit Safety & Investment Act

Late Friday afternoon, Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed bi-partisan legislation designed to improve Maryland’s public transit system and eliminate a $2 billion maintenance backlog that leaves the system prone to constant breakdowns and unsafe for operators and riders.

“By vetoing the Transit Safety & Investment Act, Governor Hogan has signaled he does not support our healthcare workers, port employees, or the hundreds of thousands of Marylanders who depend on transit everyday to get to work,” said bill sponsor Del. Brooke Lierman. “The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) over which he presides has $2 billion of unmet safety and state-of-good repair needs because of six years of disinvestment by his Administration. He has passed the buck to future administrations. He has done a huge disservice to Maryland businesses, our economy, and the livelihood of our state by vetoing this bipartisan bill. I look forward to overriding this veto and creating a sustainable and equitable transportation system in this state. “

“This is a setback for Maryland’s infrastructure, Maryland’s economy, and, most importantly, for the Marylanders who rely on the MTA to get to school, to work, to the pharmacy, and other places they need to go,” said bill sponsor Sen. Cory McCray. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to override the Governor’s veto, providing critical investments to our public transit system, making it safer and more reliable.“

The Transit Safety & Investment Act  (SB199/HB 114), which passed the 2021 Maryland General Assembly with strong bi-partisan support, would require the state to make investments to maintain and operate Maryland’s public transit system. The new funding is needed to improve service and reliability and to ensure the system’s trains, buses, and facilities are safe. The legislation also contains funding for a feasibility study of expanding MARC commuter trains to Western Maryland — a huge boon for that area’s economy. It also includes $1 million to help small businesses impacted by the prolonged construction of the Purple Line in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.

The Hogan Administration opposed the bill despite broad support. In fact, the Senate Budget & Taxation Committee  received over 70 letters supporting the bill from a wide range of Marylanders, including the Maryland Asphalt Association, not generally known for its support of public transit.

Advocates denounced the Governor’s move.

“The Hogan Administration says it wants flexibility, but unfortunately it has used its flexibility to let the MTA’s backlog of maintenance needs pile up for years. This bill says ‘fix it first’; take care of maintenance and safety before you flex funds to other projects you want to pursue. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need a bill like this, but experience has shown us we do,” said Brian O’Malley, President & CEO, Central Maryland Transportation Alliance.

“This is another poor decision from  ‘Beltway Hogan,’”  said Jed Weeks, Policy Director, Bikemore. “Just two years ago the governor was only too happy to release $97 million in funding to WMATA, the Washington, D.C., transit system, but somehow he draws the line on funding his own state’s system.  Every dollar invested in transit creates not only more jobs than those invested in highway expansion but does so in a way that is sustainable, equitable, and community-driven.”

“The NAACP condemns this short-sighted action. It’s clear that Larry Hogan doesn’t want Maryland to reap the benefits of a world-class transit system. Unfortunately, it’s underserved neighborhoods, and too often Black and brown neighborhoods, that bear the disproportionate brunt of Larry Hogan’s system-—a system that leads the nation in breakdowns. This is first and foremost a social justice issue,” said Staci Hartwell, Co-chair for Environmental and Climate Justice, NAACP Maryland State Conference.

“Gov. Hogan is out of step with what Marylanders in the 21st century need,” said Josh Tulkin, Director, Maryland Sierra Club. “This legislation  would help Marylanders have better access to safe and reliable transit and reduce climate pollution.  We call on the General Assembly to override his veto as soon as they are in session.”

“The Transit Safety & Investment Act truly benefits all of Maryland and especially our most neglected communities,” said Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble. “We are extremely disappointed that the Governor chose to not support  a bi-partisan, win-win initiative that creates jobs, fights climate change and supports communities.”

The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) has been underinvested for years and riders suffer the consequences every day. Governor Hogan’s decision to withhold investment in the system leaves students, seniors and essential workers out in the cold, forced to rely on multiple connections to go short distances,  making it almost impossible to get where they’re going on time. Since Governor Hogan took office, MTA’s share of the state’s capital transportation program has fallen from 31 percent to just 19 percent. The result is that MTA’s rail systems –  Metro Subway, and Light Rail – break down more frequently than any comparable rail systems in the entire country, MARC Commuter Rail breaks down fourth most, and buses most among peer systems. Paratransit services also malfunction–leaving riders stranded. And MTA has identified over $2 billion in unfunded essential system maintenance and critical enhancements over the next decade.

The Transit Safety & Investment Act also would make funds available for locally operated transit systems across the state. The measure is designed to promote racial equity and strengthen Maryland’s economy by improving service in underserved communities and to help the state address climate change by expanding mass transit ridership.

For more information, visit https://savemdtransit.org/

By |2021-05-28T17:28:23-04:00May 28th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Press|Tags: , , |0 Comments
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