Maryland Chapter Blog

Date: Jul 02, 2015
By: Seth Bush
 
As six year-old Tal Kosten stood before the audience, his mother Maranda described the difficulty of explaining air pollution to her children after a trip to the pool was cancelled during a code orange air quality alert three weeks ago. How, Maranda posed, does a parent protect their child when the very air they breathe is harmful? Parents can protect against the sun with sunscreen, but there is no way to filter the air other than forcing children to stay inside. At this point, Tal chose to speak, saying that  “it's no fair that kids around Baltimore cannot go outside in code orange,” and asking for the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to help him and other children like him in the state.  
 
Tal and his mother were two of many in a diverse array of doctors, environmental advocates, public  interest groups, and concerned citizens advocating for stricter NOx regulations at an MDE hearing on June 29. David Smedick, speaking on behalf of the Sierra Club, explained how the proposed NOx regulations are drastically less protective of public health than  regulations agreed upon and adopted by the MDE in January of this year, but unceremoniously yanked by Governor Larry Hogan mere hours after his inauguration. The newly proposed regulations require coal plants to run existing pollution controls, but omit the critical health-protective requirements for modern pollution-cutting technology included in the original regulations. The state has said that more time and discussions are needed on the issue. However, David pointed out that the 15-month stakeholder process to develop the previously adopted regulations exhaustively considered all options, and that to repeat the processes would be duplicative and wasteful. “Rather than duplicate the robust, resource-intensive process that already resulted in MDE’s adoption of the original NOx regulation,” David noted, the Department should implement the existing regulation to comply with the Department’s statements on prioritizing human health. 
Date: Jun 30, 2015
By: Seth Bush
 
Baltimore, MD – At a hearing in front of the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) today, citizen activists and concerned groups urged the Department to implement strong smog protections originally adopted in January 2015. Rather than implementing those protections, the Hogan Administration has proposed an inadequate, short term, and dramatically weakened half-measure to Maryland’s air pollution crisis. In fact, not a single person testified in support of these rules at the hearing.
Date: Jun 24, 2015
By: K. Laurel Imlay

Published for Ruth Alice White

 

With a statewide moratorium on fracking, the MD Natural Gas team is working with the Don't Frack Maryland coalition to update our strategy and want your help. Our top focus is to promote local fracking bans and restrictions in counties and cities across Maryland.  We are also focusing on public education, and we'll be showing movies and doing education sessions around the state. 

Contact Ruth White, ruth.white@mdsierra.org to join the gas/fracking team calls and find out how you can plug into this imporant issue.

Read more


Date: Jun 22, 2015
By: K. Laurel Imlay

Posted for Joanna Diamond, Food & Farming Committee Chair Maryland Chapter Sierra Club

Sheep by Dan Furmansky
 
It’s time to reimagine our food system in Maryland. Agriculture is the single largest source of pollution to the waters of the Chesapeake Bay! But it’s not just about ensuring that agricultural practices don’t impede our waters from being swimmable, fishable and drinkable. Rethinking our food system also means addressing fairness, public health, government transparency, climate impact, subsidies, animal welfare, and the most personal of all choices—how we vote with our forks.
 

Sierra Club is working towards a vision of the healthy future that we all want for our communities, and in order to achieve this vision, we simply must address Maryland’s food and farming system.

Get Involved!

 

 

Read more


Date: Jun 22, 2015
By: K. Laurel Imlay

Southern Marylanders and allies celebrated community on May 30th as they voiced concerns over impacts Dominion’s industrial project would have on their well-being 

Posted for Kelly Canavan, Southern Maryland

LUSBY, MD — Approximately 200 people participated in what is believed to be the largest march Southern Maryland has ever seen, spanning six miles from Solomons Island to Lusby. They walked to show Dominion and government officials how much they value the health and safety of people in Southern Calvert County, who would be most impacted by Dominion’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal and refinery should the project be completed.

Read more


Date: Jun 22, 2015
By: David Smedick

The Pope Ecumenical DSmedick 6-2015

Posted for Taliah Dommerholt

Last week Pope Francis delivered his encyclical letter On Care For Our Common Home, which, opens with the strong message that we have mistakenly come to view ourselves as Mother Earths “…lords and masters, entitled to plunder at will. The powerful messages of compassion, equity, and justice in reference to the planet and its people will be read and reflected upon throughout the world. The blog post below details my own personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of the Sierra Club. 

Read more


Date: Jun 22, 2015
By: David Smedick

Physicians, Sierra Club Take Gov. Hogan to Court for Unlawfully Blocking Clean Air Safeguards
Critical protection for Marylanders suffering from asthma blocked even though most of the state receives a failing grade for High Ozone Days

 

BALTIMORE, MD – Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility and Sierra Club, represented by Earthjustice, filed suit today asserting that Governor Larry Hogan and the Maryland Division of State Documents unlawfully blocked a new clean air safeguard that would protectMarylanders suffering from asthma and other harmful effects of ozone pollution,  commonly known as “smog.”  

Read more


Date: Jun 18, 2015
By: Joanne Heckman
Walk with a purpose! Track down the wavyleaf basketgrass that has invaded Patapsco Valley State Park!
 
 
Dr. Beauchamp (right) shows how to identify wavyleaf basketgrass

Join us to learn to identify wavyleaf basketgrass and help us survey the Patapsco Valley State Park. Observations of this alien invasive species can be recorded using a smartphone app or a handheld GPS. Every sighting that is submitted to the database helps us target the enemy in order to eradicate it!

McKeldin Area of Patapsco Valley State Park

Saturdays:  June 20July 11July 25August 8 and August 29, 2015

10 am - 12 pm   (Please arrive by 9:45 pm to sign in and attend a brief training session)   

The Wavyleaf Mapping Project is sponsored by Towson University's Department of Biological Sciences School of Emerging Technologies in partnership with Patapsco Valley State Park, Maryland DNR, Maryland Sierra Club and Patapsco Heritage Greenway.   

For more information on this project and/or to download the application they are using on your iPhone or Android smartphone (currently only Android), or record points on your handheld GPS, go to:   http://heron.towson.edu/wavyleaf/home

Registration   

Note:  Pre-registration is needed so you can get into the park for free in appreciation of helping with this project!   
 
To register, go to   http://www.patapscoheritagegreenway.org/eventcal.html     Click on "Event Registration." 

Parking 

Follow "Environmental Event" signs to the parking/registration area posted in the park. Look for the posted signs and PHG staff wearing the bright orange safety vests to direct you to registration!    
 
Directions

From I-695/I-70 West take I-70 to Marriottsville Rd. ( Exit 83). Go North on Marriottsville Rd. for 4 miles to the park entrance on the right.

From I-70 East take Rt. 40 to Marriottsville Rd. Turn left. Park entrance is 5 miles on the right.

Follow the posted signs near the entrance and inside the park to direct you to registration/parking.  

Closest address to use on your GPS:  11676 Marriottsville Road; Marriottsville MD 21104   

Age Restrictions

You are welcome to bring your family and friends. Children under 16 are welcome if they are supervised and accompanied by an adult volunteer.

What to Wear    

We recommend that our volunteers wear a hat, long pants and sleeves, so any prickly underbrush or insects won't bother you.  Good sturdy walking/hiking shoes are needed and something to drink to keep you hydrated on your hike! 

What to Bring:

Your iPhone or Android smartphone or handheld GPS. IMPORTANT:  Download the application before you come to training.  Go to the link found at http://heron.towson.edu/wavyleaf/home . For more information or details about this project, email ProfessorVanessa B. Beauchamp at wavyleaf@towson.edu or call 410-704-2286 .
 

Thanks for helping restore our native ecology!

Read more


Date: Jun 09, 2015
By: Kristin Cook

Testimony of the Montgomery County Sierra Club Regarding Montgomery County Bill 18-15

June 9, 2015

President Leventhal and Council Members. My name is Michal Freedman and I am here as a member of the Montgomery County Sierra Club Executive Committee representing the more than 5,000 Sierra Club members in Montgomery County.  I am here to express the Club’s support for Bill 18-15 establishing the Montgomery County Green Bank, and to recommend a few amendments to the bill.

Read more