Clean Water Action's Baltimore office is fortunate to have three interns working with us this summer! All rising seniors studying environmental science or policy at Baltimore-area colleges, Morgan, Megan, and Sofia are already conducting research and outreach on our campaigns on sewage system infrastructure, septic system improvements, zero waste initiatives, climate resiliency, and more. I'll let them introduce themselves!
Morgan Hoffman, Environmental Science, Towson University
On Friday, people from all across Maryland came together in Annapolis for a day of action about HB961/SB548: bipartisan legislation to remove trash incineration from Maryland's Renewable Portfolio Standard and stop subsidizing it with millions of dollars each year, meant to support wind and solar development.
Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee held a public hearing on SB548: legislation to take trash incineration out of Maryland's Renewable Portfolio Standard and stop giving it subsidies intended to support the development of wind, solar, and other renewable forms of energy. With a team of Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County residents, we spoke out about the air quality, health, and climate impacts of trash incineration, and the reality of zero waste alternatives like composting, recycling, and source reduction.
For the past two years, Frederick and Carroll Counties have been debating the Monocacy Plan: an advisory document meant to guide both counties on improving the health of their shared Monocacy River. But between 2017 and 2018, drastic changes were made to the Plan that gutted its value for protecting and improving the Monocacy's water quality and environmental health. We're urging the Frederick County Council to reject the 2018 Monocacy Plan - a position the Frederick County Planning Commission just unanimously agreed upon, as well.
The Sun was right to call for greater public transparency about rail traffic through the Howard Street Tunnel, as the public is poised to provide even larger subsidies to renovate it (“CSX back on track,” December 17, 2018). Our region’s railroads are critical to the health, safety, and economic development of Baltimore: a huge volume of commodities travel quickly and efficiently by rail, but bottlenecks like the Howard Street Tunnel restrict that flow.
This morning, the Baltimore City Council's Taxation, Finance, and Economic Development Committee held a hearing on Bill 18-0221 – Recordation and Transfer Taxes – Surtax – Dedicating Proceeds to Affordable Housing Trust Fund - more popularly known as the Fund the Trust Act.
On September 21, the Maryland Department of the Environment held a public hearing to conclude a nearly two-year process to update air pollution regulations for municipal waste incinerators in Maryland: the BRESCO facility in Baltimore, and the Dickerson facility in Curtis Bay.
It's a basic ideal of democracy: everyone should have a vote and a voice to share their thoughts with their elected officials. But the need for candidates to court major donors to win elections can skew these relationships and give those with bigger pockets a bigger voice. Even candidates who want to spend their time with their average constituent know that they cannot be competitive in the race without courting those big dollar donors.
Maryland needs to not only say no to crude oil infrastructure and other fossil fuels, but say yes to renewable energy that will bring clean power and good green jobs to our state. That's why we're working to make Maryland the first state in the country to buy in big on offshore wind. The two offshore wind farms proposed for Maryland would bring thousands of jobs to Baltimore and the Eastern Shore and provide enough clean power for over 500,000 homes - but this fall, we'll need to fight for the permits they need before Maryland sees these benefits.