Maryland LCV Statement on President Biden’s “Build Back Better” Plan
Kim Coble, executive director of Maryland League of Conservation Voters, released the following statement today in response to the “Build Back Better” economic recovery plan announced by President Joe Biden.
“The Build Back Better plan is exactly what Maryland needs to aggressively address challenges to our infrastructure, our climate, and our communities. Our recent polling shows that Marylanders strongly support policies to improve transportation infrastructure and address climate change in the state.
It is important that we recognize that Maryland is already paying a high price for its aging infrastructure, associated pollution, and climate change. Our communities of color are disproportionately burdened by pollution and a lack of investment. If we fail to act, the price to address these challenges will only get higher. President Biden’s plan, coupled with key legislation now making its way through the Maryland General Assembly, will help our communities be healthy and thrive and make needed investments in transportation and clean energy infrastructure in Maryland.”
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Compounding crises: How climate change and COVID-19 disproportionately impact women
What do the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic have in common? They both disproportionately impact women, especially women of color.
Throughout the course of the pandemic women have left the workforce in alarming numbers and have lost an average of 5.4 million jobs in the United States — 1 million more than their male counterparts. And, women of color are being hit the hardest by the pandemic and by the effects of climate change.
In December of 2020, women of color accounted for ALL of the recorded job losses, and 154,000 Black women left the labor force entirely. Women are expected to balance careers and provide financial support while also being the dominant caretakers of children and family at home. In many communities, especially rural communities and communities of color, this caretaking means tending to the home, looking after children, assisting aging family members, acquiring resources for the family, and providing emotional support.
Similarly, many social, economic, and cultural inequities make women more likely to absorb the very real impacts of climate change. For example, women are more likely than men to face economic insecurity, and people living in poverty are exposed to climate disasters at a greater rate. Women have less access to civic rights and land acquisition opportunities, are less often in decision-making positions, and face systematic violence in every institution. And, the ever-worsening effects of climate change — drought, fires, natural disasters, food shortages — make women’s role as caretakers increasingly more difficult
This is why solutions to both the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic need to not only center and uplift women, but must be made with them! Existing policy and infrastructure must shift to support and elevate women and mothers, and change the culture of caretaking in our country. Creating a world that works for women is imperative to an equitable, sustainable future.
Women are resilient changemakers who shape the face of policy and progress across the globe. Even during a global pandemic, 2020 became a record year of firsts for the United States, with Kamala Harris becoming the first Black and South Asian woman to be elected as vice president, Deb Haaland becoming the first Indigenous cabinet secretary, Katherine Tai becoming the first woman of color and first Asian American serving as US trade representative, Dr. Rachel Levine becoming the first openly transgender person confirmed in a federal post, and many more amazing women taking their place in our government — including, of course, the women legislators of Maryland.
The current Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, Delegate Adrienne Jones, is the first woman and the first person of color to hold that spot, and she is supported by Speaker Pro-Tem, Sheree Sample-Hughes. President Pro-Tem, Melony Griffith, in the Senate is also a woman of color. Women lead half of the House of Delegates Committees and one quarter of the Senate Committees. In fact, the current Maryland Women’s Legislative Caucus is the largest in our state’s history, representing 30% of the Senate and 43% of the House of Delegates. While this is not equal representation, it is substantial progress from the government our mothers and grandmothers would recognize.
It’s on all of us to build a more equitable and safer planet — and that means centering women, especially women of color. We must also choose to confront sexism, dismantle the patriarchy, and challenge white supremacy, every day.
Here’s to the progress that we’ve made and to the fight ahead!
The Women of Maryland LCV
Join Maryland LCV for another episode of “Kristen’s Democracy Kitchen” and this time we are making Crossover Cake! Crossover Day is a major milestone in the 90-day legislative session, but what exactly is it?
Our Political Director, Kristen Harbeson, will take you into her newly renovated Baltimore kitchen to decipher the Maryland legislative process while making a delicious and Crossover-appropriate cake! Tune in for our watch party in the premiere of the episode and then chime in with all your questions about Maryland’s environmental bills.
As the political voice for Maryland’s environment, we work at the intersection of climate, equity, and state politics to address the most urgent environmental issues of our time: climate change and environmental injustice. We look forward to working with you to raise our political voice to support clean water, healthy air, and a resilient climate for everyone in Maryland.
Check out the printable recipe below or download recipe here.Kristen’s Crossover Cake Recipe
The post Kristen’s Democracy Kitchen- Episode 2 Crossover Cake appeared first on Maryland League of Conservation Voters.
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.
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%).