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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.

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

An Insider’s View on the Elections

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

 

By |2021-03-24T13:48:03-04:00October 6th, 2020|Categories: Blog, DEIJ, Donor, Electoral, Partner, Policy, Successes|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

U.S. Congress Passes Great American Outdoors Act

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2020
Contact: Ben Alexandro, balexandro@mdlcv.org, 845-596-9634

U.S. Congress Passes Great American Outdoors Act

Landmark bill will protect open spaces in Maryland and throughout the United States

Washington, D.C. – By a bipartisan vote of 310-107, the U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), a landmark environmental bill that will restore parks and public lands in Maryland and across the country and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Act (LWCF). The bill, which passed the Senate on June 17, now heads to the White House for President Trump’s signature.

“The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act is a significant victory for Maryland,” said Maryland League of Conservation Voters Executive Director, Kim Coble. “The bill guarantees that Marylanders will have access to clean, safe, and healthy parks for years to come.”

The Great American Outdoors Act will allow the National Park Service to restore resources that are deteriorating due to age and inconsistent funding. In Maryland alone, park sites that welcome nearly 7 million visitors and support more than 2,900 jobs each year require $244 million in repairs. The now-permanent LWCF funding is significant for Maryland: The state has received $231.8 million in LWCF funding over the past five decades, protecting places such as the Assateague Island National Seashore, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Monocacy National Battlefield and the C&O Canal National Historic Park. Maryland also uses LWCF to leverage additional funds, such as state Program Open Space money that funds hundreds of facilities and creates access to local and state parks.

Coble lauded the role of Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in shepherding the Great American Outdoors Act through Congress. “For decades, Marylanders have always known that Steny Hoyer would go to the mat for Maryland’s special places,” said Coble. “His tremendous leadership in moving the Great American Outdoors Act through Congress will provide lasting benefits to Marylanders and all Americans.”

The Maryland League of Conservation and its members weighed in heavily in support of the Great American Outdoors Act. Early in July, Maryland LCV organized 36 Maryland conservation groups to urge Rep. Hoyer’s continued leadership, and Maryland LCV reached hundreds of thousands of Marylanders through drive-time radio ads and extensive on-line advocacy in both English and Spanish. 

Here are quotes from other Maryland organizations that joined with us in advocating for the Great American Outdoors Act:

“Our parks are inundated with people — a great problem to have, but our parks need help so they can remain treasures that connect people to nature while preserving delicate ecosystems. The Great American Outdoors Act is that help,” said Emily Ranson, Clean Water Action, Maryland Director.

“The Alice Ferguson Foundation applauds Majority Leader Hoyer’s continuous leadership of environmental causes both locally and nationally. The Great American Outdoors Act will continue to ensure our national parks thrive for future generations,” said Theresa Cullen, Executive Director, Alice Ferguson Foundation.

“GAOA funding will support our Urban parks and recreational spaces that are used by millions of people close to home,” said  Jim Foster, President, Anacostia Watershed Society.

“This passage of the Great American Outdoors Act ensures that our irreplaceable Maryland parks and public lands will continue to be protected, and that all Marylanders will have access to nature. By continuing to provide funds for our parks we help cool our communities with green spaces as climate change heats up, and create opportunities to expand outdoor education programming,” said Denisse Guitarra, MD Conservation Advocate at Audubon Naturalist Society.

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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 League of Conservation Voters
30 West Street, Suite C
Annapolis, MD 21401
www.mdlcv.org

Talk about changing the body politic!

By Kristen Harbeson, Political Director

Folk singer Pete Seeger, one of my great heroes, once said that “when you bring people together, even if just for a beer, you’re changing the body politic.” He knew what he was talking about. Pete’s music was an important part of the soundtrack for social change in the 20th century, especially for both labor rights and the environment.

Kristen Harbeson speaks at the 2020 MDEnviroSummit

Bringing people together, and changing the body politic, is a pivotal part of the work of your Maryland LCV staff and our partners. On any given week, Maryland LCV staff participate in as many as 15-20 different conference calls or coalition meetings relating to our priorities and how we all can work together to advance our agenda.  These are in addition to the dozens of other conversations, in groups of two and three and four, which propel us forward in the session dance.  Periodically there are public meetings like the one that Dannielle and I went to on off-shore wind in Ocean City (and that Dannielle wrote about).

By far the best demonstration of bringing people together to change the body politic, though, happened this week during the annual Environmental Summit when 30 organizations that make up the Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment (CCE) gather together with hundreds of advocates to unveil and showcase the bills we selected as our priorities. For the last two years, I’ve had the joy of being able to – as the chairman of CCE – welcome everyone to the event and kick off the program.  There is simply nothing like standing in front of a room of five hundred advocates ready to charge forward and make a difference.  It’s a tremendous honor to be able to help coordinate the extraordinary table of environmental leaders that do so much amazing work during the ninety-day session and beyond.

But that’s not what I will remember most as we move through the next 68 days of Session.  What I will remember are the words of the 18-year old keynote speaker, Athena Verghis, who left the packed room with the following words:

“We stand here convinced of a bright future for Maryland, because when we change the root, we can change the crop. Let us replace the root of ignorance with much needed understanding and unwavering commitment to the future.  Let us replace frustration with hope. As global citizens for tomorrow I want to leave with one message: There is not enough time for us to point fingers and promise short-term gain that will only benefit a few citizens. However there is just enough time to recognize the urgency of this climate emergency. For every single individual in this room to fulfill his or her role as legislative leaders or social influencers and to commit and create systemic change that benefits all living things that call Maryland their home. Because this is your backyard as well as our future.”

I, and every person walking out of that room, left with a renewed sense of hope and urgency, committed to doing everything we could to move our state forward. Talk about changing the body politic! Pete Seeger would have been proud.

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