On September 16, the Baltimore City Council's Judiciary Committee has its hearing on the Baltimore Fair Elections Fund, important legislation to level the playing field for candidates hoping to win local offices in Baltimore. Clean Water Action supports initiatives like this that make our democracy work and help people speak out against developers and polluting industries. Read our testimony below!
September 16, 2019
Dear Baltimore City Council Judiciary Committee,
This week, the Baltimore County Council voted to pass Bill 37-19, which closes two loopholes that impacted open space requirements in the county. Previously, developers could count parking lot islands and private amenities towards their required open space acreage. Common sense dictates that little patches of grass surrounded by parking lot and private amenities, like rooftop pools, are not public recreational space.
Maryland recently completed a two-year study on the Chesapeake Bay Bridgethat included three recommendations for new crossings. The state is looking at potential bridges between Pasadena and Rock Hall, between Mayo and Easton, and alongside the current spans between Arnold and Kent Island. These sites, along with a "no build" option will be presented at community meetings throughout Maryland.
The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision unleashed a flood. It opened the door to unlimited dark money into our politics. We’ve been dealing with the impacts ever since.
But there is hope for change.
800 cities and towns, and 20 states are calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. That represents 141 million Americans, 46% of the U.S. population. Popular support is overwhleming -- the debate over the idea of overturning Citizens United should be over.
Now it’s time to win, period.
Today, the Maryland Department of the Environment announced that they are denying the permits to clear cut over 200 acres of Southern Maryland forest for a solar project.
Clean Water is working with our partners in the Green Justice Coalition (GJC) and a new technical team called Resilient Urban Neighborhoods (RUN) to explore and build out energy alternatives.
Howard County has a lot of upcoming legislation with hearings scheduled in September. This includes CB38-2019, the Protect This Watershed bill.
Councilwoman Liz Walsh's CB38-2019 is a very big bill that is responding to the problem of waivers in the Patapsco Lower North Branch Watershed. Many laws involving the environment include waivers at the discretion of the overseeing agency, mainly to provide needed flexibility in unforeseen circumstances. When waivers become routine practice, they undermine the effectiveness of that legislation.
One of the best things about working for Clean Water Action is the opportunity to meet and work with so many wonderful people on a variety of issues that protect our water and reduce pollution. A highlight this year was working with students and teachers at the Connecticut River Academy to design and build a rain garden that will reduce stormwater runoff into the Connecticut River.