What the elections mean for Maryland’s environment
A Note from Executive Director, Kim Coble
It’s been an incredibly stressful couple of weeks in an even more difficult year, and I’m sure that you, like me, are suffering from a bit of whiplash from constant barrage of election news.
Free and fair elections are the bedrock of our democracy. In any election, every vote must be counted, without interference or intimidation. Because voter suppression persists, we especially need to ensure all voices are recognized, particularly those from poor and marginalized communities. We are encouraged that, in Maryland, the election went smoothly and with record turnout.
The wheels that power our democracy never stopped turning. Workers in polling places across the country kept counting ballots, one by one, until the job was done. In the end, American voters were heard and elected Joe Biden as our next President. We look forward to working with the new administration to advance equitable policies, to fight climate change, and to put Maryland and the country on a path to a more sustainable environmental future.
These past few months, Maryland LCV has reached over 250,000 Marylanders through a comprehensive civic engagement campaign to ensure that voters – and particularly those from underrepresented communities — knew how to use their vote to advocate for smart and equitable environmental policies.
As you know, much of our work happens at the state and local level. We are already strategically focused on the upcoming legislative session and will continue to push for more sustainable and equitable environmental solutions.
The U.S. and Maryland need to take dramatic and immediate action to address the climate crisis and put the country on a more sustainable environmental path.
We at Maryland LCV will need your support as we focus on several key pieces of legislation with strong environment and equity components:
- A Cumulative Impacts bill that will require the government to publish and maintain a list of overburdened communities in the State; applications for permits for new or expanded industrial facilities in those areas will have to undergo a review that examines environmental and public health factors already present in the community and those that will be added by the new permit.
- A Climate Omnibus package that will increase Maryland’s greenhouse gas reduction requirements to 60% below 2006 levels by 2030 and net neutral by 2045 along with specific programs to reach those ambitious but achievable goals, including reinvigorating an existing work group on equity and inclusion.
- A Transit Equity Recovery package that will ensure adequate funding for safe and effective public transit and transitioning the state to electric buses.
The coming weeks and months will no doubt be difficult for all of us, but better days are ahead. It will take hard work, cooperation, and creativity to get there, but together we can put Maryland and the country on a more stable environmental and equity course.
With climate change bearing down, we have the work of a lifetime ahead of us. It won’t be easy. But our movement here in Maryland is stronger than ever, and we must keep faith that brighter days are ahead.
Stay well and stay healthy,
Kim Coble, Maryland LCV
November 4, 2020 Contact: Dannielle Lipinski, firstname.lastname@example.org
Statement from Kim Coble, executive director of Maryland LCV, on the General Election
Free and fair elections are the bedrock of our democracy, and we all need to be patient and have faith in the electoral process. Every vote must be counted, without interference or intimidation. Because voter suppression persists, we especially need to ensure all voices are recognized, particularly those from poor and marginalized communities.
This election season, Maryland LCV reached more than 250,000 Marylanders through a comprehensive civic engagement campaign to ensure that voters – and particularly those from underrepresented communities — knew how to use their vote to advocate for smart and equitable environmental policies. Our staff also has been engaged in election protection and extensive Get Out the Vote activities.
Much of Maryland LCV’s work happens at the state and local level. We are already strategically focused on the upcoming legislative session and will continue to push for more sustainable and equitable environmental solutions regardless of the outcome of the election.
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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.
This graphic is a part of the Your Vote. Our Future! campaign of the Maryland LCV. For more resources, go to https://www.mdlcv.org/elections
Maryland LCV honors those legislators who were sponsors and leaders on our 2020 legislative priorities:
Chlorpyrifos Ban: Del. Dana Stein and Sen. Clarence Lam
Chlorpyrifos, a pesticide known to be toxic and linked to significant, adverse health impacts in children. Although prohibited for commercial or residential use for years, it is still permitted for use on crops and golf courses. This bill would ban all uses of chlorpyrifos.
Environmental Accountability and Transparency: Del. Brooke Lierman and Sen. Sarah Elfreth
Increasing transparency of the inspection and enforcement data by state agencies would dramatically help community groups and non-profit monitoring organizations enforce environmental laws. The bill also would have created an ombudsman position in the Office of the Attorney General to facilitate coordination between agencies and citizens.
Plastic Bag Ban: Del. Brooke Lierman and Sen. Malcolm Augustine
Banning plastic bags from point-of-sale throughout the state would reduce water pollution, diminish Maryland’s reliance on petroleum products and fossil fuels, and clean our air and waterways.
Transit Funding: Del. Brooke Lierman and Sen. Craig Zucker
According to a Capital Needs Assessment released by the Department of Transportation, Maryland’s public transit system has a $2 billion shortfall over the next 10 years. The transportation sector is the single greatest contributor to Maryland’s greenhouse gas emissions and provides critical services to low-income communities. Public transit system improvements are essential to substantively tackling climate change and environmental justice.
State Fleet Bus Electrification: Del. Marc Korman and Sen. Craig Zucker
Diesel emissions cause climate pollution and threaten the respiratory health of passengers, drivers, and especially low-income communities that are frequently located near major roadways.This bill would require a gradual transition of all buses purchased by the state to zero-emission vehicles.
Transportation Carbon Fund Act (TCI): Del. Marc Korman
This bill creates a special fund to finance projects related to the Transportation Climate Initiative, a multi-state effort to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy, and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector throughout the mid-Atlantic region.
School Bus Electrification: Del. David Fraser-Hidalgo
Diesel emissions from school buses disproportionately affect the health of low-income students and students of color. This bill would require a gradual transition of all buses purchased by county boards of elections — or independent contractors hired to serve public schools — to zero-emission vehicles.
Coal Transition: Del. Kumar Barve and Sen. Chris West
Coal plants are a leading contributor to smog-forming nitrous oxide pollution. More than 85% of Marylanders — and 90% of African American and Hispanic communities — live in counties with air quality below federal standards. This bill would set a timeline for the retirement of Maryland’s remaining coal-fired power plants, with a transition plan that invests in communities, workers and counties with coal plants.
Maryland LCV also recognizes members who sponsored additional environmental community priority legislation:
Sustainable Buildings Act: Del. Terri Hill and Sens. Guy Guzzone and Clarence Lam
Removing Incineration Subsidies: Del. Nick Mosby and Sen. Michael Hough
Oyster Fisheries Override: Del Kumar Barve and Sen. Sarah Elfreth
Oyster Corrective Bill: Del. Jim Gilchrist and Sen. Sarah Elfreth
We applaud these legislators for sponsoring legislation on climate policy
Climate Solutions Act: Del. Dana Stein and Sen. Paul Pinsky
PSC Climate Bill: Del. Lorig Charkoudian and Sen. Ben Kramer
Carbon Pricing: Del. David Fraser-Hidalgo and Sen. Ben Kramer
Community Choice Energy: Del. Lorig Charkoudian and Sen. Pam Beidle
We applaud these legislators for sponsoring legislation on water policy
Conowingo Dam Emergency Legislation: Del. Jay Jacobs and Sen. Steve Hershey
County Resilience Authority: Del. Courtney Watson and Sen. Sarah Elfreth
BRF for Resilience Funding: Del. Courtney Watson and Sen. Katie Fry Hester
An Insider’s View on the Elections
On October 6th, our Executive Director, Kim Coble was joined by the national League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski for a behind-the-scenes look at the general election and what it could mean for our environment.
Candace Dodson-Reed is our VIP moderator. Candace is the host of the popular Elevate Maryland podcast. She’s also the chief of staff and executive director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion at UMBC and on the board of Maryland LCV.
Check out the recording below
Civic Engagement Toolkit
Your Vote: Our Future is a campaign designed by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund that encourages all Marylanders to register to vote and cast their ballot in a safe and effective manner. Help us reach as many Marylanders as possible by creating a 1 minute video in which you tell your own story about why you vote. Then post your video and inspire others to vote!Civic Engagement Toolkit
These videos are a part of the Your Vote, Our Future campaign. To submit your own video for a chance to be featured here, click here
Voter Registration Couch Party
Together with Baltimore’s Mobtown Ballroom we hosted a Voter Registration Couch Party on September 2nd to answer all your questions about the 2020 Elections.
To protect and enhance our environment, we must have a free, fair, and safe election where voters’—all voters’— voices are heard and champions are elected that reflect our conservation values over the interests of those who would pave our forests and eliminate environmental protections.
This event will featured an exclusive set by Life on Planets (dance beats from the Baltimore streets to the Caribbean islands); a hilarious history lesson by Maryland State Delegate, Pat Young; Democracy Test Kitchen by our own Kristen Harbeson; the usual shenanigans from Mobtown Ballroom crew (Abby Becker, Hannah Lane, Matthew Reid, Michael Seguin, and Sarah Sullivan); and tons of cameos from locals explaining #whyIvote.
Check out the video here:
Kristen’s Democracy Cookies (includes printable recipe!)
By Kristen Harbeson, Political Director
I was asked to share the recipe that I used in the Democracy Kitchen segment of our Voter Registration Couch Party on September 2nd . Here it is! (Check out the downloadable link at the bottom to print)
Democracy Cookies (Adapted from Lil’ Luna’s 3 Ingredient Sugar Cookies)
1 Cup softened salted butter
- It may seem like a lot of butter, but can you ever have too much democracy? At latest count, there are 331,314,584 people in the United States, whose lives are shaped by the government we elect. The butter needs to be softened, so be sure to take out your butter well in advance. Think of it like applying for your absentee ballot – it may take some time, so you want to plan.
2/3 Cup sugar
- Elections are sweet, for sure! But it’s important to keep in mind that a lot of work went into making them possible. The sugar has to be harvested, washed, juiced, purified, crystalized, dried, packaged, and shipped before you can use it. There is a brutal history of slavery, revolution, civil rights, and worker protections that is in each spoonful of your vote. Every time we cast our ballot, we are honoring the struggles that gave us our expectation of a free and fair election.
2 Cups flour
- Not the part of any recipe that gets the most attention, but flour is the constitution of the democracy – it is the skeleton that creates the framework for the other ingredients and flavors in your cookie. Bond measures and ballot questions are an important part of elections, where the electorate consents to changes in the kind of cookie you are baking, and whether or not it’s a cookie at all.
1-1/2 tsp extract (to taste)
- You have as many options on how to vote as you do in what you vote for. You are free to choose whichever flavor of candidate you choose – or even use more than one! It’s a personal choice. I like to add both vanilla and orange, or sometimes lemon. You may want to do research into each of the flavors to see which is best for your cookies, since once you’ve cast your ballot you’ll have to wait for the next election to make a new choice.
INSTRUCTIONS — 5 easy steps!
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and make sure you are registered to vote. Mix the butter and sugar in a medium bowl until combined, and make a plan for how you will vote.
- Cover your mixing bowl and chill for 15 minutes to an hour while you research candidates and other election questions.
- Shape the dough into 1-1.5 inch balls as you fill in your ballot with a black pen. Roll the dough-balls in sugar and be sure to sign your name to the affidavit on the envelope.
- Place the balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and be sure to mail your ballot (or use a drop box) before November 3rd.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes or until golden on the bottom. In addition to being too hot to eat immediately, the cookies will need to set for 10-15 minutes while the ballots are being counted, so don’t give in to temptation and try to eat your cookies before they’re cooled.