Blog Posts

  • Let's talk about Tuesday Night

    The clear winner for Tuesday night was Maryland's environment. And that is all thanks to you. Check out our list of endorsed candidates to see how they performed.

     

    Thanks to pro-conservation voters, volunteers, and donors, 86% of our endorsed candidates won! Maryland saw record-breaking turnout during early voting and on election day with over 2 million votes cast in Maryland.

     

    That is phenomenal, and a large turnout means Marylanders are standing up for their communities and making sure their voices are heard. You not only voted, you turned out to support these candidates through volunteering and spreading the word. Through the Maryland LCV Political Action Committee, we doorknocked and called nearly 20,000 voters in priority districts - that is all thanks to your support.

     

    The candidates who ran on environmental issues have been pounding the pavement door-knocking, calling, participating in debates and forums for many months and all their hard work has paid off. While not all of our candidates won, we saw candidates embracing the environment as a winning issue.

     

    Our endorsed candidates have pledged to protect our air, land, and water and we look forward to working with them to fulfill your environmental values.

     

    So take a rest now, Friend because in January, we are going to need to come together to fight for a stronger Maryland. This next legislative session we are going to have some big asks because we don’t have time to wait.

     

    We need to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act to increase our renewable energy in Maryland, secure stronger water protections, and encourage smarter growth to mitigate climate-related weather disasters. We have our environmental champions in place at the county and state level to secure these gains but we’ll need your help to ensure that campaign promises are turned into action.

  • Just in time- how did your legislator score?

    By Karla Raettig, Executive Director

    As the environmental watchdog in the state of Maryland, I’m proud to present to you our 2018 Environmental Scorecard. The annual report highlights the environmental voting record of all 188 legislators in Maryland.

    The 2018 Session was a complicated year for the environment in the Maryland General Assembly. On the one hand, legislators passed several bills of environmental importance and in multiple cases the environment was a bipartisan concern.

    How did your legislator score in Annapolis? Check out our interactive scorecard here and send your legislator a message>>

    While those bills were important, leaders in the General Assembly failed to vote on many top environmental priorities. This inaction short changes Marylanders from truly understanding where our elected officials stand on these particular top environmental issues and further disenfranchises voters in this key election year.

    In more frustrating news, we saw long-time environmental champions fail to support environmental priorities, or refuse to bring them up for a vote. In particular, we are especially concerned at the shelving of top environmental legislation, such as the Styrofoam ban.

    These bills are supported by you, and strong community-led coalitions with broad legislative support that key leaders in legislative committees refused a vote on. See how your legislator scored here>>

    Once our elected officials return to Annapolis in January, we at Maryland LCV will be there to hold them accountable for their actions, or inactions.

    The full Scorecard is available online and includes records of votes cast on the floor of the House and Senate and in committees, along with past voting records.

    Go to http://scorecard.mdlcv.org to see the 2018 Scorecard, our interactive map, and follow #MDLCVScore on social media.

    Thank you for being a conservation voter.

  • Spotlight on the candidates for Anne Arundel County Council District 4

    The Anne Arundel County Council has seven members. It takes a majority of four votes to pass any bill, including any bill to protect our environment. The Anne Arundel Chapter has endorsed seven candidates for the County Council. We are confident that, if elected, they will give Annapolis a strong conservation majority on the Council. Now we have to get them elected.
     
    This is the latest in a series of emails that focus on each individual candidate. In this edition we will introduce you to Councilman Andrew Pruski, the Democratic candidate for District 4, running for re-election. Councilman Pruski represents District 4, which covers Laurel, Fort Meade, Gambrills, Odenton, North Crofton, Millersville, and Crownsville. Find your County Council District here.
     
    MEET ANDREW PRUSKI
     
    ​Councilman Andrew Pruski is running for his second term on the Anne Arundel County Council. His public service began at early age as an Eagle Scout and work as a Volunteer for the Veteran's Administration. He is running for re-election to continue his goals of supporting our public schools, public safety, protecting our environment, and supporting locally owned businesses.
     
    Councilman Pruski has been a champion for the environment for many years including his service on the Anne Arundel County Board of Appeals and President of the Four Seasons Community Association. He has fought against the two proposed landfills in West County and supported standing for communities trying to challenge unwanted development projects. There are several notable decisions that Councilman Pruskisided with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and other Environmental Groups.
     
    As a school board member and President of the Anne Arundel County Board of Education, Councilman Pruski led efforts to include environmental literacy in the school system curriculum and was an advocate in forming the Watershed Stewards Academy. He believes that environmental education is critical to the future of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. 
     
    Councilman Pruski wants to play an integral role in the next General Development Plan by holding open and transparent public hearings to help make wise land use decisions. Councilman Pruski has been an advocate for involving the community in development decisions and promoting policies to protect our environment. His record speaks for itself, he has voted to keep the stormwater remediation fund, ban coal tar, and ban polystyrene foam in Anne Arundel County.
     
    COUNCILMAN PRUSKI NEEDS OUR HELP
     
    You can find out more about how to contribute and get involved with the Friends of Andrew Pruski campaign by visitingwww.andrewpruski.com. You can also email Scott Howrath at pruskifield@gmail.com to assist with volunteer activities.
  • Spotlight on the candidates for Anne Arundel County Council

    The Anne Arundel County Council has seven members. It takes a majority of four votes to pass any bill, including any bill to protect our environment. The Anne Arundel Chapter has endorsed seven candidates for the County Council. We are confident that, if elected, they will give Annapolis a strong conservation majority on the Council. Now we have to get them elected.
     
    This is the latest in a series of emails that focus on each individual candidate. In this edition we will introduce you to Lisa Brannigan Rodvien, the Democratic candidate for District 6, Chris Trumbauer’s District. Chris is barred by term limits from seeking another term. District 6 covers Annapolis Neck. Find your County Council District here.
     
    MEET LISA RODVIEN
     
    ​I am running for Anne Arundel County Council District 6 to help improve and protect the quality of life for ALL of our county’s residents.  We are privileged in Anne Arundel County to be part of an amazing and diverse community set in a beautiful and unique landscape on the Chesapeake Bay. In recent years, however, the fast pace of development in our county has strained our county’s schools, our infrastructure, and environment.  As we update the county’s General Development Plan in 2019, I will advocate for a transparent and inclusive process that gives all stakeholders a seat at the table and that ensures finite and fragile environmental resources are treated with great care. 
     
    I will also work towards ensuring that our public schools provide excellent education for ALL children so that today’s young people can have prosperous futures right here in Anne Arundel County.  Furthermore, I will work towards improving the availability of mental health resources in our county for people of all ages.  School counselors in AACPS are currently tasked with serving as many as three times the number of students recommended by national organizations.  The number of mental health care providers for adults, even those with insurance coverage, is insufficient to serve the needs of our community.  Expanding access and availability to mental health care in our community will be a critical component in stemming the addiction crisis. 
     
    Finally, I will work to create an county that is welcoming to immigrants and does not create undue fear for those who are simply working to live peaceful and productive lives in our county.
     
     
    LISA NEEDS OUR HELP
     
    You can find out more about how to contribute to and get involved with LISA’s campaign at www.lisarodvien.com.
     
    Please join us in supporting Lisa on Thursday, September 6th at the Quiet Waters Park Blue Heron Center from 6 until 8 pm.
  • Real Solutions to Climate Change

    By: Dannielle Lipinski

    Do you remember moving into your first apartment? I loved that feeling of independence. Along with finally being able to sort the recycling and start a compost pile that my roommates hated, I remember looking at our energy bill wondering how we can start to be a part of the clean energy revolution and fight climate change as consumers.

    I had already convinced the roomies about energy-efficient lightbulbs and turning off the lights. However, when I talked about solar panels and wind turbines, they immediately shut me down. Now that I’m all “grown-up” and some of my “roommates” are my young son, a turtle, and a rambunctious dog, I can make a few more choices about my energy usage, not to mention still drive everyone crazy with compost ideas, rain barrels, and a garden that has grown a bit wild.  

    Through my work at Maryland LCV, I’ve worked on landmark legislation that helps all Marylanders combat climate change. In 2015, the General Assembly passed a fantastic law called the Community Solar Act (HB 1087). This is the pilot program that really changes the way we think about solar energy and who can benefit from its increased usage.

    Homeowners who have looked at solar and determined that their living situation cannot support solar panels, they can still benefit from solar power. In addition, the law expands the benefits of solar to renters, churches, and others who have not been able to participate before.  The great thing about community solar is that anyone and everyone can join in. In states like Minnesota and New York, community solar has really taken off.

    And now it’s Maryland’s turn. With community solar, you can “share” the power generated at a nearby solar farm. You have the option of paying no upfront fees. There are no rate hikes and no surprises. Simply put, community solar is the wave of the future. Your solar will come from a local site within Maryland and you’ll be helping Maryland grow in solar energy.

    Look into community solar today, and you can convince your roommates to take the plunge and join the clean energy revolution! Please check out the links below for more information on opportunities to sign up:

    Neighborhood SUN:

    https://neighborhoodsun.ourpower.solar/join/index.cfm?sub=location&aid=CarolynRicketts

    Solar United Neighbors: https://www.solarunitedneighbors.org/maryland/learn-the-issues-in-maryland/community-solar-in-maryland/

    Here is more information about the Community Solar from the Public Service Commission: https://www.psc.state.md.us/electricity/community-solar-pilot-program/

  • Three Leaders to Inspire You

    You’ve heard about the blue wave, you’re experiencing the heat wave, and you know there is change in the air. I am excited about what we are seeing all across Maryland- a Green Wave. Last month’s primary election was an affirmation of what we’ve known here at Maryland LCV all along- people want leaders who will stand up and protect the environment.

    Over the past year, we endorsed 117 candidates around the state. On June 26th, 106 of them won their primary bid- a 91% success rate! We could not have done it without you, Dannielle. When these candidates win in November, we are excited to work with them from their first day on our environmental agenda that represents Marylanders in the General Assembly.

    But we are going against well-funded, anti-environmental interests this year so please make a generous gift today to help us>>

    I want to introduce you to a few of our endorsed candidates who won their primary bids:

    1. Sarah Elfreth for Anne Arundel County’s District 30 Senate Nominee: Sarah has spent her career engaged in some of Maryland’s most important battles: advocating for the Bay, strengthening our schools, and creating jobs. But throughout her efforts, she has never failed to put the voices of local residents at the forefront of her work and she will be an excellent Senator. (pictured on the bottom right)
    2. David Fraser-Hidalgo for Montgomery County’s District 15 Delegate Nominee: Appointed in 2013, David has been a clear voice for the environment. The awardee of our 2015 Legislator of the Year at our Environmental Leadership Awards Dinner, David pushed the envelope and was a lead sponsor and champion for the landmark legislation for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing that eventually led to the incredible 2017 victory in banning it entirely in the state of Maryland. (pictured on the bottom left)
    3. Robbyn Lewis for Baltimore City’s District 46 Delegate Nominee: Robbyn is a public health professional, sustainability advocate, and community leader. She was appointed to the Maryland General Assembly in 2016. Community service is her priority and it shows in the legislation she sponsors and supports for Baltimore City and all of Maryland. (pictured at the top)

    Together, we can continue to advocate for strong environmental policy in Maryland and exceed our goals for smart climate policy, clean water, public health protection, and open spaces for every Marylander. With the right leaders in office, we can move the needle in favor of common sense legislation and regulations. That’s why we go through a strenuous endorsement process and publicize to the public who the environmental candidates are.

    Our work has never been more important. We’ve got big plans this year. Join us to be a part of the Green Wave spreading across Maryland and give today>>

  • We Stand with the Capital Gazette

    Written by Kristen Harbeson, Political Director on June 29, 2018
     
    I heard that the Capital journalists wrote today’s paper from the back of a pick-up truck. Wherever they wrote the copy, the paper was delivered on time this morning, with the kind of steely-eyed professionalism everyone should aspire to.
     
    We rely on the free press in the work we do at the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. We count on them to educate Marylanders about the work of our government, as well as the activities of advocates like us - both for and against. They are our partners in educating you on the work of the General Assembly and they hold both us and the General Assembly accountable. You can trust us more when an impartial, fact-checking, professional free press supports what we say. The free press is an environmental concern.
     
    This is all to say that the heinous attack at the Capital yesterday was personal for us at Maryland LCV. Our hearts are broken for our friends and colleagues, and we are immeasurably grateful for their work.
     
  • Why Steuart Pittman? Eye on Annapolis

    Guest post by Bob Gallagher, Co-Chair of the Anne Arundel County Chapter of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters in the Eye on Annapolis

    The two biggest issues in the 2018 election for County Executive are likely to be education and the pace of development. The non-partisan Anne Arundel Chapter of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters endorses candidates based on which candidate will be better for the environment. Carefully managed development can result in gains for the environment. Poorly managed development can be devastating to the environment and to our quality of life. Poorly managed development can also impact schools, exacerbating over-crowded classrooms and straining inadequate school budgets.

    Both candidates for county executive, Steve Schuh and Steuart Pittman, have a broad grasp of environmental issues and have made commitments to better manage the pace of development. While Mr. Pittman’s promises are somewhat more specific and comprehensive, the determinative factor in deciding between them is credibility: which one is more likely to fulfill those commitments. We find Mr. Pittman more credible when it comes to managing development. We endorse Steuart Pittman.

    Mr. Schuh and Mr. Pittman both have deep roots in the county. They are comparable in age. They come from upper middle-class backgrounds with solid academic credentials. Mr. Schuh pursued law, finance and business before pursuing public office. Mr. Pittman worked for years as a community organizer before returning to manage his family’s 550 acre farm in Davidsonville where he founded a non-profit organization that enjoys  national stature. This is his first run for office.

    During his time as a community organizer, Mr. Pittman worked extensively on environmental issues. As president of the Maryland Horse Council, he created its first stewardship committee.  In leadership positions with the Soil Conservation District and Anne Arundel Farm Bureau he worked to build bridges between agriculture and the environmental community. Last year he worked with other community and environmental leaders to limit the excesses of an Agro-tourism bill championed by Mr. Schuh. Working with other community groups he has also been a leader in the effort to expand public participation in the next general development plan. He is committed to enforcing the GDP and other environmental laws, preserving forests and strengthening the stormwater program. He is a strong supporter of increasing open space and water access. He has committed to manage development in a sustainable manner better matching development with infrastructure improvements.

    These commitments are attainable and entirely consistent with Mr. Pittman’s actions over the past several years. We find them highly credible.

    As a delegate, Steve Schuh had a mixed record on the  environment. He scored 100 percent one year but had a  mediocre lifetime score. He voted for the bill that authorized counties to adopt stormwater fees and promised that he would support the stormwater bill pending before the AA County Council. When his opponent used it against him in the Republican primary, he did a 180-degree turn promising to repeal the bill. His efforts at repeal were unsuccessful.

    Following his election, Mr. Schuh appointed a land-use transition team dominated by development interests. During his first two years in office he spoke of the need to “kick start” growth. He supported a bill that gave developers millions of dollars in reduced sewer and water connection fees. He supported a bill that allowed developers to hire their own engineers to review and approve substantial parts of their development plans. During his watch, the county lost more trees than any other county in the state. Developers received record numbers of zoning variances and modifications. The Schuh administration sided with developers to transfer development rights from non-waterfront to waterfront property until the Critical Area Commission ruled it illegal. During each stage of the litigation challenging those  actions, the administration fought to deny environmental groups the right to participate.

    It is against this background that we have evaluated the several bills recently proposed by Mr. Schuh to manage development. In our view, those bills are helpful but will not have a significant long-term, limiting impact on development.

    In light of his record to date on development, we find Mr. Schuh’s recently professed commitment to rein in growth lacking credibility.

    Check out the article on Eye on Annapolis here.

  • Spotlight on the candidate for Anne Arundel County Executive

    Through his budget powers, veto authority and horse trading, the county executive has a significant influence over the work of the county council. While the current county executive has done some good things for the environment like preserving open space and enhancing public access to waterways, he has also encouraged an accelerated pace of development that has harmed the environment and out quality of life. That is why we have endorsed Steuart Pittman for county executive.
     
    This is the last in our series of emails introducing you to our endorsed candidates for county council and county executive for the 2018 elections.
     
    MEET STEUART PITTMAN
     
    Steuart Pittman was raised in a family that took preservation and responsible land stewardship very seriously. They have preserved for perpetuity a 500-acre tract in south county, the majority of which is forest.
     
    As a community organizer in Chicago, Steuart protested hazardous waste storage that was leaching cyanide into groundwater adjacent to public housing. As Maryland Horse Council president, he created a vibrant and progressive farm stewardship committee. As a board member of the Anne Arundel County Soil Conservation District he brought farmers and environmental advocates together to promote responsible management practices. 
     
    “This is not about politics,” he says. “It’s about passing on land and water to the next generation in better condition than we found it. That is our obligation as human beings.”
     
    Steuart has pledged as county executive to bring communities together around a General Development Plan for the next eight years that manages growth in a way that is fiscally and environmentally sustainable. He has pledged to work toward a no-net-loss forest conservation plan, and to aggressively enforce stormwater management, critical area, and septic laws. He will conduct an audit of recent development in the county to measure the long-term costs and benefits to taxpayers and the environment. That data will guide future planning.
     

    STEUART NEEDS OUR HELP

    You can find out how to get more involved in this campaign how to contribute here: https://www.pittmanforpeople.com or on Facebook at: pittmanforpeople. Join Steuart and his sister Polly for a wine fundraiser on June 9th at Polly’s spectacular Vineyards at Dodon.

  • Spotlight on the candidates for Anne Arundel County Council District 6

    The Anne Arundel County Council has seven members. It takes a majority of four votes to pass any bill, including any bill to protect our environment.

    The Anne Arundel Chapter has endorsed seven candidates for the County Council. We are confident that, if elected, they will give Annapolis a strong conservation majority on the Council. Now we have to get them elected.

    This is the latest in a series of weekly emails that focus on one candidates each week. This week we will introduce you to Scott MacMullan, a Democrat running for County Council District 6 to replace Chris Trumbauer who is term limited. District 6 includes The Annapolis peninsula Sherwood Forest and Crownsville. Find your County Council District here.
     
    MEET SCOTT MACMULLAN
     

    The Chesapeake Bay is under tremendous stress due to excessive amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution. This stress is exacerbated by climate change. In District 6 we need to start acting as if tomorrow matters—and take a sustainable approach—by fighting for stormwater restoration projects, fighting to conserve our forests and fighting against unfettered development on the Annapolis Neck Peninsula.  

    As a native Annapolitan, growing up sailing the little bathtub boats, Optimist Prams, on the Severn River, I saw first-hand how pollution affects our health, welfare and our economy. Every day during the summer as a child, I would pull my boat out of the water and there would be a yellow scum ring around the waterline of the boat that I would wash off. In law school, I wrote an article about the Chesapeake Bay and climate change, and I quoted this young riverkeeper named Chris Trumbauer in that article. Inspired by Councilman Trumbauer, I have followed his career since and want to build on his environmental legacy.

    I am running for District 6 on the Anne Arundel County Council because I am committed to public service and want to improve people’s lives in my hometown. Indeed, I am fed up with how the County’s plan for development (the General Development Plan) is routinely not followed to the detriment of the people and their communities. Serving in a variety of capacities to our community, including working for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and being a member of the Scenic Rivers Land Trust Board, I have the depth and breadth of experience to be an environmental advocate for the people. As an environmental leader, I stand ready to guide the entire community into a prosperous future, work through any differences and to bring our community together. 

    SCOTT NEEDS OUR HELP

    You can find out how to get more involved in this campaign at www.electscottmac.com or Scott MacMullan for County Council on Facebook.