Lazy summer days, serious clean water updates
Even during the slow summer months, our work continues to push Maryland forward for water quality and to fight against rollbacks on the federal level. With all of the changes happening on the federal level, it is a breath of fresh air to work in Maryland where most of our policymakers get the importance of protecting our streams and rivers. Here we may vehemently disagree on how far a policy should go, but we do not have fundamental disagreements about science or the human need for clean water. Here's what Clean Water Action has been up to in Maryland in the past month:
Baltimore City Climate Resolution: After Trump announced his intentions to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, cities and states have been finding a plethora of ways to affirm their commitment to act on climate change. In Baltimore, we worked with a coalition of ten environmental organizations to write a resolution not just committing the city to climate action, but detailing the ways that climate change and environmental injustice already harm Baltimoreans and outlining a number of steps that Baltimore is uniquely positioned to take - from stopping crude oil train exports to starting manufacturing offshore wind turbines. The resolution passed unanimously, and several Council members rallied with us demanding more climate acton. Read the resolution here, and let us know your ideas for fighting back against Trump’s climate change agenda using the tools we have in Maryland.
Stopping Crude Oil Trains: Last month marked the one-year anniversary of a train derailment in the Howard Street Tunnel in downtown Baltimore. Fortunately, none of the derailed cars spilled, but if crude oil had been involved, MICA, the University of Baltimore, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and blocks upon blocks of homes and small businesses would have been in the blast zone. On June 13, the date of the derailment, we held a press conference with MICA faculty, union leaders, and elected officials calling for action on crude oil trains. Read more about what happened on our blog and in the Sun, watch the action on CBS, and sign our petition to the Mayor and City Council demanding that they protect us from crude oil trains!
Common-sense water protections: In June, we hosted the fourth Frederick County Watershed Workshop in the Linganore Creek watershed - source of nearly half of Frederick City’s drinking water, and home to cyanobacteria, algae blooms, and other environmental threats. We talked about ways that watershed residents can take action on their own property to clean up the creek, but action is needed throughout the whole Monocacy River watershed to clean up the river, polluted by nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment. That’s why we’re supporting the Monocacy River Management Plan during its second public comment period right now - click here to send a comment in support of clean water!
Transit Equity: A robust, just transportation system is important for the long term sustainability of an area. Whether economic sustainability or environmental, transportation is key to moving people between home, job centers, shopping, and entertainment. The more we can rely on mass transit, the less we have to worry about paving land for parking lots, greenhouse gas emissions, and other pollutants that degrade our water. In June, we worked with the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition, a grassroots group dedicated to reviving the Red Line and working for a just transportation system, to host a community conversation on the first anniversary of Hogan's cancellation of the Red Line; stay tuned for more ways to fight for public transit in the months ahead.
Fair Elections: To leave you on a high note, thanks to the voice of members like you who get engaged on the local level, and our canvass out in the field every day, the Howard County Council passed the Citizens' Election Fund over the county executive's veto on Monday, July 5th. The petitions, calls, and emails that our members sent in were instrumental to building and keeping a veto proof majority. We're excited about this program, which offers candidates an alternative to chasing after a few big money donors. In 2022, candidates will be able to mount competitive campaigns by relying not on corporate donors or PACs, but on matched donations from Howard County residents.