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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. 

 

The post Montgomery County Public Schools to Transition Their Diesel School Bus Fleet to Zero-Emission Clean School Buses for Healthy Kids appeared first on Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

By |2021-02-25T14:41:34-05:00February 25th, 2021|Categories: MDLCV|Comments Off on Montgomery County Public Schools to Transition Their Diesel School Bus Fleet to Zero-Emission Clean School Buses for Healthy Kids

Maryland Voters Support Action on Climate and Transportation

A recent poll — conducted for the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (LCV) by Nexus Polling and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication — finds strong support for policies to improve transportation and address climate change in the state. The representative survey of 553 registered Maryland voters was conducted January 27-February 4, 2021, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5%

Voters want the MTA to ensure Marylanders can get to work safely, reduce traffic congestion, reduce pollution, and increase transportation.
Nearly all (96%) Maryland voters say ensuring Marylanders, including essential workers, can get to work safely and on time is an important objective, including more than seven in 10 (72%) who say it is a very important objective. About six in 10 Maryland voters say reducing traffic congestion (61%), reducing the harmful pollution that lowers air quality and contributes to asthma and lung disease (60%), and ensuring low-income communities and communities of color have increased access to public transportation (59%) are very important objectives for MTA. Roughly half say lowering costs for Marylanders (49%) or adding new bus routes and train lines to reach rural communities (48%) are very important objectives as well.

Maryland voters support transit infrastructure spending now.
Nearly two-thirds (66%) of Maryland voters say Maryland should increase spending on transit infrastructure now to ensure Maryland residents, including essential workers, can get around the state safely, while also providing emergency relief to families, businesses, and public services. Majorities of Maryland voters also support a variety of transportation investments, including:

  • Investing in repairing and maintaining current transportation infrastructure (86%)
  • Adding new bus routes and train lines to reach communities that don’t currently have access to public transportation (83%)
  • Providing tax credits or rebates to individuals/households that purchase an electric vehicle (70%)
  • Adding bike lanes to existing roads and bridges (70%)
  • Investing state tax dollars in installing electric vehicle charging stations in rural, urban, suburban areas (68%)
  • Establishing zero-emission zones in cities (52%)

Maryland voters also support a wide array of climate policies, including:

  • Planting 4.5 million new trees over the next nine years to help remove carbon pollution from the air (86%)
  • Requiring oil and gas companies in the state to pay some of the costs related to adapting to climate change, including investments in transportation infrastructure and sea level rise (76%)
  • Requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a fee on their carbon pollution (74%)
  • Requiring new constructed buildings with at least 20,000 square feet to install rooftop solar panels (74%)
  • Requiring utility companies in Maryland to generate 100% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030 (72%)
  • Replacing state-owned gas- and diesel-powered vehicles with electric or hybrid vehicles (67%)
  • Requiring newly constructed homes and buildings to be emissions-free (66%)

Coronavirus response, infrastructure funding and climate action are seen as top priorities for Maryland this year.
More than eight in 10 Maryland voters say passing economic stimulus legislation (83%) and public health legislation (81%) in response to the coronavirus pandemic are important priorities for the Maryland state government this year, including more than six in 10 (61% and 61%, respectively) who say they should be top priorities. Transportation infrastructure is also seen as a high priority by voters in the state: About eight in 10 also say investing more in transportation infrastructure such as roads and bridges (83%) and passing an infrastructure spending bill to update and modernize Maryland’s infrastructure (78%) should be priorities. Roughly seven in 10 see addressing racism (73%) and passing a comprehensive bill to address climate change (69%) as important priorities for the state this year. And 72% of respondents said they support requiring utility companies in Maryland to generate 100% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Not only do Maryland voters support climate policies, but they want their elected representatives to support them as well.
At least seven in 10 say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate for Maryland political office who backs investing state dollars to upgrade the electric grid and expand the production of renewable energy (73%), requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a tax on their carbon pollution (71%), and reducing greenhouse gas emissions 60% from 2006 levels by 2030 (70%).

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By |2021-02-22T09:36:09-05:00February 22nd, 2021|Categories: Education Fund, Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Maryland Voters Support Action on Climate and Transportation

Maryland Voters Support Action on Climate and Transportation

A recent poll — conducted for the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (LCV) by Nexus Polling and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication — finds strong support for policies to improve transportation and address climate change in the state. The representative survey of 553 registered Maryland voters was conducted January 27-February 4, 2021, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5%

Voters want the MTA to ensure Marylanders can get to work safely, reduce traffic congestion, reduce pollution, and increase transportation.
Nearly all (96%) Maryland voters say ensuring Marylanders, including essential workers, can get to work safely and on time is an important objective, including more than seven in 10 (72%) who say it is a very important objective. About six in 10 Maryland voters say reducing traffic congestion (61%), reducing the harmful pollution that lowers air quality and contributes to asthma and lung disease (60%), and ensuring low-income communities and communities of color have increased access to public transportation (59%) are very important objectives for MTA. Roughly half say lowering costs for Marylanders (49%) or adding new bus routes and train lines to reach rural communities (48%) are very important objectives as well.

Maryland voters support transit infrastructure spending now.
Nearly two-thirds (66%) of Maryland voters say Maryland should increase spending on transit infrastructure now to ensure Maryland residents, including essential workers, can get around the state safely, while also providing emergency relief to families, businesses, and public services. Majorities of Maryland voters also support a variety of transportation investments, including:

  • Investing in repairing and maintaining current transportation infrastructure (86%)
  • Adding new bus routes and train lines to reach communities that don’t currently have access to public transportation (83%)
  • Providing tax credits or rebates to individuals/households that purchase an electric vehicle (70%)
  • Adding bike lanes to existing roads and bridges (70%)
  • Investing state tax dollars in installing electric vehicle charging stations in rural, urban, suburban areas (68%)
  • Establishing zero-emission zones in cities (52%)

Maryland voters also support a wide array of climate policies, including:

  • Planting 4.5 million new trees over the next nine years to help remove carbon pollution from the air (86%)
  • Requiring oil and gas companies in the state to pay some of the costs related to adapting to climate change, including investments in transportation infrastructure and sea level rise (76%)
  • Requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a fee on their carbon pollution (74%)
  • Requiring new constructed buildings with at least 20,000 square feet to install rooftop solar panels (74%)
  • Requiring utility companies in Maryland to generate 100% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030 (72%)
  • Replacing state-owned gas- and diesel-powered vehicles with electric or hybrid vehicles (67%)
  • Requiring newly constructed homes and buildings to be emissions-free (66%)

Coronavirus response, infrastructure funding and climate action are seen as top priorities for Maryland this year.
More than eight in 10 Maryland voters say passing economic stimulus legislation (83%) and public health legislation (81%) in response to the coronavirus pandemic are important priorities for the Maryland state government this year, including more than six in 10 (61% and 61%, respectively) who say they should be top priorities. Transportation infrastructure is also seen as a high priority by voters in the state: About eight in 10 also say investing more in transportation infrastructure such as roads and bridges (83%) and passing an infrastructure spending bill to update and modernize Maryland’s infrastructure (78%) should be priorities. Roughly seven in 10 see addressing racism (73%) and passing a comprehensive bill to address climate change (69%) as important priorities for the state this year. And 72% of respondents said they support requiring utility companies in Maryland to generate 100% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Not only do Maryland voters support climate policies, but they want their elected representatives to support them as well.
At least seven in 10 say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate for Maryland political office who backs investing state dollars to upgrade the electric grid and expand the production of renewable energy (73%), requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a tax on their carbon pollution (71%), and reducing greenhouse gas emissions 60% from 2006 levels by 2030 (70%).

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The post Maryland Voters Support Action on Climate and Transportation appeared first on Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

By |2021-02-22T12:00:26-05:00February 22nd, 2021|Categories: MDLCV|Comments Off on Maryland Voters Support Action on Climate and Transportation

Maryland LCV Announces Congressional Delegation Scores from LCV’s 2020 National Environmental Scorecard

February 18, 2021
Contact: Dannielle Lipinski, dlipinski@mdlcv.org

Maryland LCV Announces Congressional Delegation Scores from LCV’s 2020 National Environmental Scorecard

Annapolis, MD — Maryland LCV today released the Maryland congressional delegation’s scores from the League of Conservation Voters’ 2020 National Environmental Scorecard. The Scorecard is the primary yardstick for evaluating the environmental records of every member of Congress, and is available for download here, in Spanish here, and online in both languages at scorecard.lcv.org.

“President Biden has wasted no time putting climate at the top of his agenda to protect our future.,” said Maryland LCV’s executive director, Kim Coble. “Thankfully we have representatives who have stood up for Maryland’s values and put our future first. But Representative Andy Harris continues to side with corporate polluters over Maryland’s health and environment. There has never been a more important time for our delegation to work together and to protect every Maryland resident.”

The 2020 Scorecard measures votes cast during the second session of the 116th Congress. In Maryland, seven House members and Senators Cardin and Van Hollen earned a score of 90 percent or greater.  

The average House score for Maryland was 87 percent and the average Senate score was 92 percent. The full delegation’s scores for 2020 are:

Senator Cardin – 92 percent

Senator Van Hollen – 92 percent

Representative Harris – 0 percent

Representative Ruppersberger – 100 percent

Representative Sarbanes – 100 percent

Representative Brown – 95 percent

Representative Hoyer – 100 percent

Representative Trone – 100 percent

Representative Mfume – 100 percent

Representative Raskin – 100 percent

“During an incredibly difficult and unprecedented year and with the most anti-environmental president ever, pro-environment members of the 116th Congress paved the way for transformational action on climate and environmental justice,” said LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld. “Now the pro-environment trifecta — led by President Biden and Vice President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader Schumer — is poised to enact transformational progress that results in healthy, equitable, safe communities powered by clean energy.”

The 2020 Scorecard includes 21 House votes that advanced pro-environmental and pro-democracy bills, provisions, and government funding. In the Senate, for the fourth year in a row, the majority of the 13 scored votes were extreme and partisan nominations both to the federal bench and the Trump administration. 

For the first time, the 2020 National Environmental Scorecard includes votes on removing public monuments to racism and policing and criminal justice reform. The same damaging system—racism—is at the root of climate injustice, environmental injustice, and police brutality. The 2020 Scorecard therefore includes votes that reflect LCV’s belief that these struggles are intertwined and must be addressed together.

LCV has published a National Environmental Scorecard every Congress since 1970. The Scorecard represents the consensus of experts from more than 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations who selected the key votes on which members of Congress should be scored.

LCV scores votes on the most important issues of the year, including energy, climate change, environmental justice, public health, public lands and wildlife conservation, democracy, and spending for environmental programs. The votes included in the Scorecard presented members of Congress with a real choice and helped distinguish which legislators are working for environmental protection. More information on individual votes and the Scorecard archive can be found at scorecard.lcv.org.

Earlier this month, LCV released a new report examining the environmental records of members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), collectively referred to as the Tri-Caucus. Using data from LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard, the report details how members of the Tri-Caucus were champions of strong environmental policies that address environmental injustice, helped chair a record number of hearings about climate change, and led on many of the critical pro-environmental bills during the 116th Congress.

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The post Maryland LCV Announces Congressional Delegation Scores from LCV’s 2020 National Environmental Scorecard appeared first on Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

By |2021-02-18T12:05:27-05:00February 18th, 2021|Categories: MDLCV|Comments Off on Maryland LCV Announces Congressional Delegation Scores from LCV’s 2020 National Environmental Scorecard

Why Now Climate Campaign

We can’t afford to wait any longer for climate action

Everyone has the right to breathable air, clean water, and healthy communities. All of this is linked to combating the climate crisis here in Maryland.

Every year that we wait to take action against climate change, it’s less time we have to reverse its terrible effects and more missed opportunities for Maryland to be the national leader on climate action.  We are experiencing a climate crisis — and greenhouse gas emissions are causing this crisis. Maryland is especially vulnerable to climate change. Floods and extreme weather events, such as heat waves and heavy storms are happening at an ever-increasing pace.

That’s why we’ve launched the #WhyNow campaign. 

Why Now- Share your story on why we need climate action now

Why Now- Share your story on why we need climate action now

Share with us your #WhyNow story and tell your story why we need climate action NOW.

  • Write a short paragraph about what motivates you to vote in this election
  • Send us a picture or video of your inspiration and/ story to info@mdlcv.org

Think about the following questions as you write your story:

  • Why is taking action to combat the climate crisis important to you, your family, and your community?
  • How would you like your elected officials to lead the way in combating this crisis? What challenges do you think are in the way in solving it?
  • Who is your audience? Your family? Classmates? Friends?
  • What is the best way to tell your voting story visually?
  • Whatever your message is, clarity and specificity will help you in telling your story.

Also, share with us your social media handles and we will tag you if we use your story in our campaign. #WhyNow #ClimateSolutionsNow

Thank you for participating, we look forward to hearing your story!

The post Why Now Climate Campaign appeared first on Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

By |2021-02-03T16:40:28-05:00February 3rd, 2021|Categories: MDLCV|Comments Off on Why Now Climate Campaign

The Brave New Virtual World of the 2021 Legislative Session

The Brave New Virtual World of the 2021 Legislative Session

There is an old saw around Annapolis that “every session is a special session.”  Every session is unique in its own special way.  Some sessions, however, are more unique than others, and this one certainly takes the cake.  Even veterans around the State Circle – legislative and lobbyist alike – are stumbling around like novices as we learn our way through the brave new world of Virtual Session.

To start with, most of us – including your Maryland LCV staff – are working our bills from the comfort (?) of our home offices, negotiating around spouses, children, and pets.  Gone, for the moment, are the hallway meetings, and the tips and (often critical) gossip gleaned from casual conversations around the charging stations and coffee shops.  

On the other hand: gone, too are the opportunities that give high-dollar lobbyists advantages over the non-profit lobby corps and grassroots advocates. Without the Committee Dinners and other opportunities that deep pocket expense accounts allow, we’re all on more even footing. With committee hearings taking place over Zoom, any individual with a computer and an internet connection has exactly the same ability to testify without needing to drive to Annapolis or spend hours on inefficient, unreliable public transit.

This last point is especially salient for this legislative session as we continue the fight to secure adequate funding for the Maryland Transit Administration’s public transit infrastructure, which is the first bill that your Maryland LCV staff will be testifying on this year. Watch out for the recording of the virtual rally that happened on January 19th, and for the play-by-play live-tweeting of the hearing of Senate Bill 199, the Transit Safety and Investment Act on January 28th.

Public transit systems all over the country have seen a dramatic decline in ridership, but this is much less true in Maryland than it is anywhere else.  A large percentage of our essential workers, especially those in health care, have continued to count on our buses, subways, light rail, and trains to get to work. Unfortunately, Maryland’s buses, subways, light rail, and trains break down significantly more often than those in comparable systems around the country. 

We are relying on essential workers, who are relying on unreliable public transit.  We all need and deserve safe and reliable transit.  Maryland LCV is leading the charge, with our partners, to improve our public transportation system for the sake of our environment, our health, and our economy. (Did you know that dollars spent on public transit yield roughly twice the jobs of the same amount spent on roads?)

We hope you’ll join us to bring this bill over the finish line by contacting your Delegates and Senators and ask them to pass the Transit Safety and Investment Act (HB 114/SB 199).  While the bill provides much needed funds to improve the transit system, these funds come from a reallocation of existing transportation funds. And stay tuned for next week when we report back on what happened in the hearing.

The post The Brave New Virtual World of the 2021 Legislative Session appeared first on Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

By |2021-02-02T08:29:31-05:00February 2nd, 2021|Categories: MDLCV|Comments Off on The Brave New Virtual World of the 2021 Legislative Session