Chispa Maryland and Maryland LCV Statement on EPA Clean School Bus Program Funding for Baltimore City Public Schools
For Immediate Release
October 26, 2022
Chispa Maryland/Maryland LCV Statement on EPA Clean School Bus Program Funding for Baltimore City Public Schools
Annapolis, MD – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the recipients of the inaugural, $965 million Clean School bus Program rebates. The program, created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, will invest $5 billion over five years in clean school buses. The 2022 rebates will fund approximately 2,400 new school buses for nearly 400 school districts across all 50 states, 30 tribal nations and multiple U.S. territories, with the overwhelming majority of funds going to electric school buses.
In Maryland, Baltimore City Public Schools will receive $9,425,000 to purchase 25 electric school buses. Baltimore City Schools currently uses more that 200 buses, both contracted and owned. In response to the announcement, Ramón Palencia Calvo, Chispa Maryland Director and Maryland LCV Deputy Executive Director, issued the following statement:
“Investing in electric school buses is an investment in clean air and most importantly, our school children. These buses have the potential to be transformational for Baltimore City Public Schools, eliminating toxic chemicals in the air that our children and communities breathe and providing quieter rides, better health, and fewer school absences due to preventable respiratory illnesses.
“Other Maryland school districts also have new opportunities on the horizon: They will be able to apply for another round of EPA grants next year, and Maryland is creating a new Electric School Bus Pilot Program to allow participating school districts to receive funds for electric school buses. Chispa Maryland and the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV) have been working with eligible school districts to ensure they take advantage of these opportunities.
“In Maryland, more than 650,000 kids ride school buses. We and our partners remain committed to getting many more electric school buses on the road with the goal of pollution-free communities for all Marylanders. We are calling on school boards and elected officials across Maryland to put the health of our youth and communities first by transitioning the state’s school bus fleet to clean, zero-emission electric school buses.”
We envision a Maryland where all residents and regions have a strong voice and opportunities to make the state a national leader in implementing effective environmental protections and achieving meaningful environmental justice.
Here’s how we’ll achieve that vision:
- Increase Voter Turnout. Through non-partisan education, volunteer engagement, digital organizing, and coalition building, we will register new voters and get out the vote. We will train, empower, and activate Marylanders in targeted priority regions to use their vote and political voice to elect pro-conservation leaders that advance equitable access to clean air and water and safe and healthy communities.
- Broaden the Conservation Voter Movement. Maryland LCV Education Fund will continue its leading role in educating and activating potential voters from underrepresented communities. Our Chispa Maryland program’s power-building efforts will include launching a new online leadership training program.
- Hold Leaders Accountable. Our accountability work demonstrates to elected officials that their votes on key issues impact how their constituents view them. We will strategically leverage our relationships and programs – and create opportunities to deploy our growing advocate base – to ensure elected officials are aggressively advancing our policies and acting on the issues that our communities care about, including fair transportation systems, equitable voter access, and clean air and water.
Although Maryland successfully passed a landmark climate bill in 2022, the implementation of the legislation will require challenging adjustments to state agencies and budgets. Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (Maryland LCVEF) is positioned to play a key role in ensuring these transitions are effective and strategic, making our work more urgent than ever.
Stay tuned for more opportunities to get involved.
Kim Coble, Executive Director
We’re Not Done Fighting for Climate Action
By Kai Mateo, Federal Campaign Manager
I’m going to level with you. This is a difficult moment.
By now, you’ve probably seen that West Virginia Senator Manchin has announced his opposition to the current version of the Build Back Better Act. With a 50-50 split in the Senate and members of one party refusing to even consider supporting this transformative piece of legislation, Senator Manchin’s reversal is a big deal. To be honest with you, when I heard this news on Sunday, I felt disappointment, frustration, and fear.
But thinking about the work we and our allies have done, I also felt something else: determination. I thought about all the work you have done together to bring us to this point. I started working as Federal Climate Campaign Manager for Maryland in April. Since then, volunteers like you have consistently impressed and inspired me with your tenacity. We’ve told our stories in virtual and in-person events. We’ve written letters to the editors of our local papers. We’ve called, emailed, and delivered petitions to our legislators. We’ve created art, and we’ve knocked on 1000s of doors to bring more people into our movement.
And we’re not even close to being done fighting for the good green jobs that will sustain families, for the transition to clean energy that will address the root causes of climate change, and for the specific policies that will address environmental justice for Black, Brown, and low-income Americans. The Build Back Better Agenda will be the strongest action the United States has ever taken to combat the climate crisis.
This bill will put the U.S. on track to save people $500 a year on their energy bills, cut climate pollution in half by 2030, invest directly in communities of color too often left behind, and create good-paying union jobs. These policies are overwhelmingly popular. The vast majority of people are on our side.
I know this is not the end of the year many of us had hoped for, but the fight isn’t over. We’re getting ready for the next round. We’re not going to give up.
I hope you, your family, and your friends have safe and Happy Holidays!
The post Update from Federal Campaign Manager on Build Back Better appeared first on Maryland League of Conservation Voters.
Remembering Bernie Fowler
Maryland LCV remembers Bernie Fowler, who passed away on December 12 this year.
Bernie Fowler’s story and legacy is a reminder to how meaningful and impactful on person can be. We awarded former State Senator Fowler with a lifetime achievement award in 2008 for his tireless devotion and advocacy for Maryland’s treasured Chesapeake Bay and the Patuxent River. Bernie brought knowledge, passion and tenacity to his work to protect our air, land, water, and communities. He will be missed and we send our thoughts to his family.
Environmental Groups Celebrate Maryland Public Service Commission’s Approval of New Offshore Wind Projects
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 17, 2021
Environmental Groups Celebrate Maryland Public Service Commission’s Approval of New Offshore Wind Projects
This decision brings over 1600 MW of new offshore wind plus economic development while protecting marine life and reducing community pollution.
MARYLAND — Earlier today, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) approved more than 1,650 MW of proposed offshore wind projects filed by US Wind and Skipjack Offshore Energy. This decision locks US Wind and Skipjack into economic development commitments across Maryland for the offshore wind industry.
“It is urgent that Maryland transitions away from fossil fuels toward clean energy,” said Susan Stevens Miller, a senior attorney on Earthjustice’s Right To Zero campaign. “The approval of both the US Wind and Skipjack projects is a critical step in meeting that demand. We must continue to grow Maryland’s wind energy industry to bring more jobs to local Maryland communities, clean our air, and tackle Maryland’s ambitious climate goals.”
In its Order, the PSC awarded Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credits to US Wind for a 808.5 MW project that will consist of approximately 55 turbines, with the closest turbine located no more than 15 miles off the coast from Ocean City; and to Skipjack’s 846 MW project that will consist of approximately 60 turbines, with the closest turbine located no more than 20 miles off the coast from Ocean City. The PSC is calling on the developers to create a minimum of 10,324 direct jobs during the development, construction and operating phases of the projects; commit to certain goals to engage small, local and minority businesses; pass 80% of any construction costs savings to ratepayers; and contribute $6 million each to the Maryland Offshore Wind Business Development Fund.
“Offshore wind offers the promise of abundant clean renewable energy, but it will require strong policy support to jumpstart. The approval of these new projects is a key milestone for Maryland, showing Maryland is in the game not just to participate, but to win the offshore wind race. This decision rockets Maryland into the vanguard of offshore wind development. We are excited that both projects are planning to invest in local manufacturing and supply chains, helping to grow the clean energy economy right here in Maryland,” said Josh Tulkin, Sierra Club Maryalnd Chapter Director.
With the passage of the Clean Energy Jobs Act in 2019, Maryland continued its commitment to being a leader in the burgeoning offshore wind industry by requiring at least an additional 1,200 MW of offshore wind development by no later than 2030.
“This is a great first step for Maryland to reclaim its position as a national leader in clean energy solutions and offshore wind energy must be a prominent part of the equation. These projects have the potential to generate an enormous amount of electricity without contributing to climate change. And as these projects move forward, it is also crucial that Maryland’s overburdened and underserved communities have equal access to the opportunities created by offshore wind energy,” said Kim Coble, Executive Director, Maryland League of Conservation Voters.
Offshore wind is one of Maryland’s most abundant renewable energy resources available and is a keystone tool for the state to meet its climate action laws and move away from polluting fossil fuels. Maryland’s offshore wind energy laws help ensure that the growing offshore wind energy industry is rooted in ensuring local, high quality jobs, and investments in growing more minority- and women-owned businesses.
“This is a truly exciting result for folks on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. We have been fighting for more clean energy and jobs for years and can’t wait to see turbines in the water. We are so grateful for the Marylanders that spoke up and supported growing the clean energy economy,” said Cindy Dillon, Chair of the Sierra Club’s Lower Eastern Shore Group.
December 14, 2021
Over 150 Marylanders join online to advocate for comprehensive climate legislation ahead of 2022 Maryland General Assembly session
Chair Barve and Chair Pinsky were a united front for bold, comprehensive climate action
Annapolis, MD — On Tuesday evening, over 150 Marylanders from across the state joined together for a launch to advocate and push for strong climate action from legislators in the upcoming legislative session. The online event was joined by House Environment and Transportation committee Chair Kumar Barve and Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Chair Paul Pinsky as they co-presented a comprehensive climate package that will be introduced in both chambers.
“The climate crisis is already here in Maryland. We see it in increased flooding that hurts our communities around the state and in more code red air days that hurt our kids in cities like Baltimore. Maryland was once on a strong path to becoming a national climate leader, with greenhouse gas reduction goals that were among the nation’s strictest. Our state can become a leader again if our elected officials commit to a comprehensive, strategic plan to address today’s climate challenges,” said Maryland LCV executive director, Kim Coble.
“Climate scientists have been clear that we need to cut emissions drastically and immediately. Our state emissions reduction goals need to be updated to match the science and we need a plan to reach them. Our platform takes on this challenge by tackling the top emitting sectors and building the groundwork for ongoing climate action that centers equity and empowers Marylanders.” said Chesapeake Climate Action Network Maryland Director, Victoria Venable
“Everyday Marylanders see the undeniable nightmarish consequences of burning fossil fuels all around us, and time is growing short to act. Maryland must pass major climate change legislation this year that addresses structural inequities and creates high quality green jobs. Now is the time to go big and rapidly electrify and power our homes, schools, and vehicles with clean renewable energy while investing in public transit and modernizing our grid,” said Josh Tulkin, Director, Maryland Sierra Club
“As a state that is particularly vulnerable to the ravages of climate change, it is past time to enact comprehensive climate legislation in Maryland. The cost of inaction rises every year as we lose coastline and farming lands, and we see more climate-related health problems and extreme weather damage. Maryland can become a green economy powerhouse and lead in innovation. We need to make bold changes now that will make our future brighter,” said Cecilia Plante of the Maryland Legislative Coalition – Climate Justice Wing.
“We are seeing the devastating impacts of not addressing climate more aggressively, especially here in Maryland. Worst of all, statistics are confirming the impact of climate on over-burdened, frontline communities with higher percentages of people of color. For example, Baltimore has the highest rates of death related to air quality and Prince George’s County was rated an “F”, for air quality, by the American Lung Association. To protect these communities from further harm we must begin to repair these communities and make direct investments in them. We have a tremendous opportunity this legislative session to be a leader, not only on climate, but also on making Maryland a leader on environmental justice,” said Environmental Justice Chair of the Maryland State Conference of NAACP, Staci Hartwell.
“To give our children and grandchildren a safer, healthier future we need to move off fossil fuels and shift to clean renewable sources of energy to power our buildings and transportation. It’s critical that our legislative leaders in Annapolis take action this year to set ambitious goals on emissions reductions and concrete plans to reach them,” said Johanna Neumann, Senior Director for Environment Maryland’s Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy.
“People of faith all across Maryland are acting on climate as a way to care for our neighbors. Congregations are choosing clean energy, going solar, installing electric vehicle chargers, and making houses of worship all-electric as an expression of our values. Now we need our legislators to do the same. For our health, for our communities, for our Common Home, we can and must pass comprehensive climate legislation in Maryland in 2022,” said Jonathan Lacock-Nisly, Director of Faithful Advocacy for Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA).
Event was sponsored by Maryland LCV, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Sierra Club- Maryland Chapter, Maryland Legislative Coalition, Climate Justice Wing, Environment Maryland, Interfaith Power and Light (DC, MD, NoVA) and Maryland State Conference NAACP.
Transcript for the event can be downloaded here.
Maryland LCV Statement on Build Back Better Electric Vehicle Strategy
Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble today participated in an event with Vice President Kamala Harris, Sec. of Energy Jennifer Granholm, and others focused on the Biden Administration’s electric vehicle charging strategy. In response, Maryland LCV issued the following statement:
“The Biden Administration’s Build Back Better plan will include more than $60 million for Maryland for electric vehicle charging stations,” said Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble. “The future is electric, but we need to make these technologies accessible to everyone. Build Back Better will do that.
“At Maryland LCV, we are particularly committed to advancing the transition to electric school buses to protect the health of our children and to reduce greenhouse gas emission. Electric school buses mean cleaner air and healthier children and communities. We can all get behind that.”
The post Maryland LCV Statement on Build Back Better Electric Vehicle Strategy appeared first on Maryland League of Conservation Voters.
Thank you to Chair Maggie McIntosh
From our Executive Director, Kim Coble:
Maryland LCV would like to acknowledge and thank Chair McIntosh for her 30 years of public service. We have had the honor or working closely with Chair McIntosh and appreciate her leadership on many issues, especially those related to the environment. There is no doubt our air is healthier, our Bay is cleaner and our communities more resilient because of Chair McIntosh’s commitment to improving Maryland’s natural resources. We wish her the best and on behalf of our staff, board, members and all of Maryland’s critters – Thank you, Maggie!
From our Political Director, Kristen Harbeson: