Grading Elected Officials on Environmental Issues

Did you know that the House Delegates and Senate elected officials are graded on their stance of environmental issues in Maryland?

The Maryland League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is a state-wide, nonpartisan organization that uses political action and education to protect our air, land and water. LCV holds elected officials accountable through a grading system called the LCV Environmental Scorecard.

Let’s take a look at how a few of our elected officials fared on the 2015 scorecard.

State Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam (D) represents Baltimore City.  She received 100% (A) in 2015 and is on target to receive another A for 2016 LCV Scorecard.  Senator Nathan-Pulliam lead the Senate in 2016, when she introduced the Pollinator Protection Act of 2016 (HB 211/SB 198) banning the private sale of neonicotinoid pesticides or “neonics”.  Neonics are directly linked to wide-spread colony collapse of Maryland pollinating bee population as well as other wildlife such as songbirds.  The bill passed with broad bi-partisan support, placing Maryland at the forefront of a national movement to restrict this dangerous and environmentally harmful pesticide from private use.   Cheers to Senator Nathan-Pulliam for job well done

Baltimore next Mayor will be Senator Catherine E. Pugh (D).  She received 83% (B-) in 2015.  Pugh did receive a thumbs up from LCV in 2015 as ‘pro-environment’ for a signed into law bill, Stormwater Remediation (SB 863).  The bill ensures strict accountability of local governments to establish watershed protection and restoration programs to reduce pollution and meet Federal Clean Water Act permits.  This law ensures that our watersheds are cleaned and restored and protected from polluters.

Finally, Maryland’s worst of the worst on the environment. These elected officials received thumbs down from LCV in 2015 as ‘anti-environment’ and failing miserably at 25% (F):

Senator Michael J. Hough (R) District 4, portions of Frederick and Carroll Counties

Delegate Mike W. McKay, (R) District C1, portions of Washington and Allegany Counties

Delegate Warren E. Miller, (R) District 9A, portions of Carroll and Howard Counties

Delegate David E. Vogt III, (R) District 4, portions of Fredrick and Carroll Counties

If you think their stance on the environment does not affect you and your family, think again. Maryland’s largest industry is agriculture. Allegany, Carroll, Washington, Frederick and Howard counties are counties that produce most of all Maryland’s agriculture products, including wine from our vineyards.

“The 2016 Maryland General Assembly session saw several landmark conservation successes.  We expanded Maryland’s commitment to renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gases, protected the bees and secured a universal commitment to protection of open spaces. We saw bi-partisan support for most of these efforts as the majority of Marylanders know protecting the environment goes hand-in-hand with a thriving economy and a good quality of life”, said Karla Raettig, executive director of LCV.

Other Winning Maryland Environmental Legislation for 2016:

Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Act-Reauthorization (HB 610/SB 323) Legislation passed with a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from Maryland 25% by 2020, placing Maryland in the top tier of states addressing climate change.

Program Open Space-Transfer Tax Repayment-Use of Funds (HB 462/SB 383): Legislation passed in 2016 promises full cash funding for Program Open Space by 2019, with all repayment completes by 2029.  This bill received unanimous support; and was one of the first signed by Governor Hogan this year.

The 2016 LCV Environmental Scorecard will be release on July 24, 2016.  Be sure to visit thegreenamabssador.org as I review and share the 2016 environmental grades of Maryland’s elected officials.

Cathy Allen is an award-winning Urban Environmentalist, the co-creator of G.R.A.S.S. (Growing Resources After Sowing Seed) as well as Chair of the “Grow-It Eat It” campaign. G.R.A.S.S. is an environmental entrepreneurial nonprofit program based on the fundamentals of gardening, agriculture and ecology. In conjunction with Baltimore City Public Schools, Allen’s campaign has planted over a half-million trees on the lawns of Baltimore City public schools.