Blog Posts

  • The 2019 Environmental Scorecard is here!

    By Kristen Harbeson, Political Director

    Check out your legislators' scores and our interactive map!
     
    And it’s all thanks to you. Maryland became the first state to pass a statewide ban on Styrofoam food service products, and Maryland is facing the climate crisis head-on with the passage of the Clean Energy Jobs Act.

    Environmental champions also took up the work of Chispa Maryland, the organization’s Latinx outreach program, to pass legislation that creates a permanent grant structure to fund the transition of Maryland’s school bus fleet from diesel to electric-powered.

    These bills are supported by you, and strong community-led coalitions with broad legislative support that our elected officials recognized. See how your legislators scored here>>

    It’s time for us all to work together as the urgency of the climate crisis becomes more apparent with every passing day. All of these bills passed because of the work that Marylanders did in electing Delegates and Senators who prioritize a clean environment.

    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://mdlcv.org/scorecards to see the 2019 Scorecard, our interactive map, and follow #MDLCVScore on social media.

    Thank you for being a part of the Conservation Voter Movement!

  • Great news! Our 2019 John V. Kabler Awardee is Announced!

    Maryland League of Conservation Voters is pleased to announce that Robert P. Gallagher is this year’s John V. Kabler Memorial Award winner. 

    Bob is an outstanding advocate on environmental issues in Maryland and Anne Arundel County, and co-founder of the Anne Arundel Chapter of Maryland LCV.

    Bob developed his life-long passion for clean water at an early age while exploring in boats. He has sailed all over the Chesapeake as well as across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. When he retired from a legal career 15 years ago, he founded West/Rhode Riverkeeper and went on to leadership roles in a long list of other local and statewide environmental groups including Waterkeepers Chesapeake, Scenic Rivers Land Trust, Annapolis Green, Maryland Clean Agriculture Coalition, Delmarva Land and Litter Challenge, and served from 2009 until 2018 on the board of Maryland League of Conservation Voters.  

    In 2009, with the late Kincey Potter, Bob co-founded the Anne Arundel Chapter of Maryland LCV to bring the same accountability to elected county officials that Maryland LCV has brought to Maryland state elected officials. By every measure that effort proved successful.

    "Bob’s devotion to the health of the Chesapeake Bay, its watershed and its residents began in his youth in the waters off St. Mary’s County and continues today on both the Western and Eastern Shores of our beloved estuary,” remarked Charles Porcari, Interim Director of Maryland League of Conservation Voters (LCV).  

    "His countless hours of service to a remarkable array of environmental organizations offer irrefutable testimony to this lawyers’ volunteer efforts.”

    Following the 2018 elections, LCV endorsed candidates who now occupy the office of the County Executive and five of the seven seats on the County Council. The group’s work also sparked Maryland LCV’s work in other strategically selected local elections. In the spirit of John Kabler, Bob has demonstrated that you don’t need to be a lobbyist, CEO, or politician to affect environmental policy. Bob and his wife Cate reside in Annapolis.

    The Kabler Award will be officially presented to Mr. Gallagher during the annual Maryland LCV Environmental Leadership Awards Dinner on Thursday, October 24 at the Westin Annapolis, beginning at 6:00 in the evening.

    We hope you will join us for this celebration of our environmental achievements and a robust discussion of the work ahead. Other 2019 awardees include Climate Champion Senator Brian Feldman and Legislators of the year, Senator Cheryl Kagan and Delegate Brooke Lierman.

  • Introducing our New Executive Director, Kim Coble

    By Ed Hatcher, Maryland LCV Board Chair

    I am thrilled to announce that Kim Coble, one of Maryland’s most respected environmentalists, will be the new executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. She will assume her new duties on October 15th.

    Kim was the unanimous choice of our selection committee which has spent the last few weeks vetting and interviewing an amazing selection of outstanding candidates. In the end, we felt that Kim’s breadth of experience, significant management skills and inspiring vision for the organization made her an ideal candidate. We are thrilled to have her lead the organization as we seek to build on recent legislative triumphs and elevate Maryland to being a top-tier state in the effort to combat the climate crisis.

    Many of you are very familiar with Kim’s important work in the environment space.

    Most recently, Kim served as the Chief Operating Officer at US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment. US SIF is a non-profit whose mission is to rapidly shift investment practices towards sustainability, focusing on long term investment and the generation of positive social and environmental impacts. In her role as COO, she oversaw the organization’s operations and helped develop its three-year strategic plan.

    Prior to her role at US SIF, Kim worked at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, including eight years as the Maryland Executive Director and then six years as Vice President of Environmental Protection and Restoration where she oversaw CBF’s policy, outreach and restoration work throughout the watershed. Kim was selected as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women in 2015, appointed as an Admiral of the Chesapeake Bay, served as the Valedictorian of her Leadership Maryland class and has been a member of the State Ethics Commission since 2015.

    Please join us on October 24th to celebrate Maryland LCV’s 40th Anniversary and to welcome Kim aboard.
     

     

  • Maryland’s Bay Clean Up Plan Lags Behind

    By Ben Alexandro, Water Program Director and Katlyn Schmitt of WaterKeepers Chesapeake

    Published on Maryland Matters on September 10, 2019

    The Chesapeake Bay states recently released their final Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs), which are federally required to demonstrate how each state will meet its clean water commitments for restoring the Bay by 2025.

    The multi-state clean-up effort, officially known as the Chesapeake Bay TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load), was a response to the Bay’s steady decline in health almost a decade ago — with widespread dead zones and a steep decline in fish and shellfish populations. The Bay’s poor health at the time was a result of about three decades’ worth of voluntary agreements that were not adequately enforced or implemented by Bay states.

    Now, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan  is calling on Pennsylvania to step up its cleanup efforts. And while we commend Governor Hogan for holding other states accountable, Maryland’s own plan is far from perfect.

    In fact, Maryland lags far behind Virginia and the District of Columbia in progress toward reducing nitrogen pollution. Maryland’s plan claims it will exceed its 2025 target but it gives few details on what the state will change in order to get there, especially given the all-time low level of staffing at state agencies.

    In the past decade, we’ve seen encouraging signs that the Bay is recovering, including an increase in blue crabs and aquatic grasses. But the states must ramp up this work through 2025 and beyond so we don’t lose the progress we’ve made under the Chesapeake Bay TMDL so far.

    For a reminder of how fragile the recovery is, look at the massive dead zones plaguing the Bay this year,  the result both of flagging progress by key states and the more frequent, intense rainfalls climate scientists have been warning would afflict our region.

    While Maryland has more ambitious goals than Pennsylvania overall, it offers few details on how it expects to increase the rate of the state’s cleanup by six times the current efforts. Maryland’s plan primarily outlines programs and plans already in place and offers little new in programs or funding.

    In fact, the plan claims the state has enough funding already — despite the fact that, for the past two years, Maryland counties and dozens of nonprofit organizations have been telling the Maryland Department of the Environment they need more funding, capacity, and technical assistance to be successful. The plan also admits population growth, forest loss, and climate change are challenges that it does not have additional capacity to address.

    By 2025, climate change impacts in Maryland are expected to dump more than 2.2 million pounds of nitrogen and 114,000 pounds of phosphorus in the Bay. Maryland committed to drafting another plan in 2022 to address this additional pollution, but that only gives Maryland three years to reduce the expected pollution. Virginia specifically adjusted its pollution reduction targets to account for additional pollution from climate change; Maryland should have done the same.

    Maryland’s plan also lags behind Virginia when it comes to incentivizing permanent practices on agricultural land, such as stream reforestation, wetland restoration, and grazing conservation. Forest buffers are one of the most effective ways to prevent nitrogen pollution from entering local waterways, but Maryland only expects to have about one-fifth of the forest buffers for which Virginia has planned.

    Maryland has ambitious targets for agriculture pollution reduction, but it focuses too much on funding temporary, annual practices, like cover crops. Only permanent practices would ensure that agricultural pollution remain low after 2025.

    To achieve the 2025 goals, the Chesapeake Bay not only needs results from each state, there must also be a clear plan with the necessary resources, regulations, and assistance. But while Maryland included statewide pollution reduction targets for each sector, it did not include any local numeric county-level planning targets that would create clear lines of accountability and transparency. Pollution projections for counties are useful but do not provide clear targets with clear plans to produce clear results.

    We’re glad Maryland has committed to its 2025 goals, but it needs to show how it will provide the necessary funding and capacity currently lacking. It’s time Maryland got serious about its clean-up plans and stop pushing the hard work down the road. With increasing extreme weather events and rising sea levels, we don’t have time to waste.

  • Remembering Kim Lamphier

    Written By Kristen Harbeson

    There is an ecology to Annapolis; to the people who move through the halls of the office buildings, who are on Lawyers Mall, who move through the hearing rooms, legislative offices, and reception rooms.  Every departure changes the ecosystem, and never more cruelly than through illness and death. Maryland has lost a tremendous advocate, and her absence will be felt by everyone in the environmental community. 

    Kim Lamphier died on Friday, August 30th after a year-long struggle with cancer, which took a sudden and fierce turn for the worse in the last weeks. 

    Over the years, Kim worked on issues relating to small businesses, bicycle safety, wildlife protection, criminal justice reform and ​promoting youth participation in government. She worked on the campaigns of some of Maryland’s luminary political figures at all levels of government. In her last year, in her roles with Trash Free Maryland and Bike Maryland, she was the principal advocate for two major legislative victories – the first statewide Styrofoam ban in the country and a bill that guarantees funding for Maryland’s Bikeways Network program. She worked to secure these victories, even as she was recovering from three months of intensive chemotherapy treatment and post-surgery physical therapy. She was an indomitable force.  

    Kim took pride in her work as an effective advocate, but also found joy in the work.  She celebrated the victories of her friends and colleagues as much as her own, and her friends and colleagues were legion.  Kim knew everyone, and everyone she met became her friend. The ecology of Annapolis can seem like a jungle, but Kim always made us remember that even as we fight for survival, the jungle can be fun.

    When the Statewide Styrofoam ban goes into effect next year, remember and celebrate Kim Lamphier.

    When you are enjoying the pedestrian and bike infrastructure in Maryland, remember and celebrate Kim Lamphier.

    She was a dedicated friend to Maryland LCV and its staff.  We will miss her, even as we continue her work.

  • May the Forest Be With Us!

    By Ben Alexandro, Water Policy Advocate

    This legislative session, we saw huge wins in Maryland for the environment. We banned Styrofoam take out containers, paved a path for Maryland to produce 100 percent renewable energy by 2040, and protected oyster sanctuaries. But while these grabbed headlines, the two bills I am the most proud of are two small forest bills that you might not have even heard of. One provides for a study of forest loss in Maryland and the other fixes a loophole in Maryland’s Forest Conservation Act. Why are these so important to me? They hit close to home.

  • 2019 Legislative Wrap Report

       

      The 2019 Maryland General Assembly enjoyed another successful session.

      Be sure to check out the low-down on which bills passed and which didn't,

      and just what to expect looking forward. 

      Read the WRAP-UP here

     

  • Mourning Mike

    Michael Erin Busch, Maryland’s longest serving Speaker of the House, always exemplified what it meant to be a leader, particularly when it came to the environment. As a lifelong coach, mentor, and collaborator, he knew the value of teamwork and built coalitions with skill and ease to accomplish a number of environmental victories during his more than three decades in office.

     

    In 2010, Speaker Busch was awarded our prestigious John V. Kabler award for environmental organizing. At the time, our then Board Chair Fred Hoover had this to say, “Speaker Busch’s many accomplishments include protection of our waterways, oyster restoration, protection of critical areas and allowing citizens the ability to have their voices heard through changes in Environmental Standing Laws. He is willing to tackle complex budget issues that benefit all of us and under his efforts have made Maryland a national leader in the fight against climate change and air pollution.”

     

    Speaker Busch’s district was one of the most forward thinking and environmentally sensitive in the state. He was influential in the creation and funding of the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund that encourages restoration of our waters, supported legislation updating the state’s Critical Areas law, and broadened environmental standing rights to give citizens a voice in furthering environmental protection in the state. One of his final acts as a state legislator was pushing through landmark oyster protection laws just days ago, book ending his legacy as a champion of the Chesapeake Bay.

     

    We mourn the loss of this leader, environmental hero, and friend.

    Mike Busch receiving Maryland LCV's/s Kabler Award in 2010
  • INTERN TURNED LOBBYIST: Taking on Capitol Hill with Choose Clean Water Coalition

     

     

    March 18, 2019 

    by Annie Amrhein

    As I passed through security heading into Longworth, one of the three House office buildings located on the Hill, I was immediately engulfed by the buzz of activity. From Capitol police officers escorting protesters down the hallway, to congressional staffers hustling about to various interest groups gathered together in the cafeteria, it was clear the day was already in full swing at 8:30am. Peter Marx of the Choose Clean Water Coalition, and my supervisor at Maryland LCV Ben Alexandro, discussed our strategy and overall game plan for the day, and before I knew it, we were heading to the Rayburn building via the underground tunnel to meet with Maryland Congressman Andy Harris. And so it began, we were off to the races!    

  • Training the Next Generation of Pro-Environment Women Leaders

    By Craig Auster, PAC & Advocacy Partnerships Director

     

    The 2018 midterm elections were historic: women, people of color and LGBTQ+ candidates ran for office – and won up and down the ballot – in record numbers. From the very beginning, it was clear that this new group of diverse candidates emerged, in part, because they were concerned by President Trump’s attacks on our democracy, health, equal rights and the environment, and running for o

    ffice was an effective way to make change and fight for their communities.  

     

    We at LCV were determined to help translate this energy to success on the 2018 ballot.  So, early in the cycle, we joined EMILY’s List, Rachel’s Network, and many of our partners in the climate and environmental justice movement to support and help prepare pro-environment women candidates to run for office. And given its success, we’re at it again, training women candidates to run for office in 2020.