In the first weeks of the legislative session, 60 organizations signed on to this testimony in support of a suite of bills to end artificial incentives the state of Maryland gives to trash incineration, and support the development of zero waste alternatives.
To the Maryland General Assembly and Governor Larry Hogan,
Yesterday morning, we gathered with Baltimore City residents, advocates, Council members, state delegates, and Mayor Young for the final signing of legislation we've been working for over the past six months: the Comprehensive Bag Reduction Act! This city legislation bans plastic checkout bags in Baltimore, and puts a 5-cent fee on paper and other bags to make up the extra cost of purchasing these bags on stores, and encourage the use of reusable bags.
Last month, we gathered at Baltimore City Hall with City Council members, community association presidents, faith leaders, insurance and health experts, and people from all across the city who have been impacted by the problem of sewage backing up into their home.
In Abingdon in Harford County, a developer has proposed to build a new "Abingdon Business Park:" three e-commerce/warehouse facilities, four restaurants, two flex retail spaces, one hotel, one convenience store and additional flex spaces, requiring the clear-cutting of 226 acres of a 330-acre forest. While sometimes development on forested lands is necessary, the developer has not proven that the negative externalities to the public are outweighed by the benefits, or that they considered putting their project on sites that would have less of an impact on water quality.
We're happy to have three students working in our Baltimore office this fall! Coming from different schools, backgrounds, and perspectives, all three will be helping us advance our organizing and research on zero waste, sewage and septic systems, and more. You'll be hearing more from them on this blog soon; but in the meantime, here's a little bit about them!
Adam Gaynor, Master of Public Health, University of Maryland
For almost a year, our team has been knocking on doors, visiting community association, and speaking at community festivals in Baltimore City about a subject nobody really wants to talk about: sewage backing up into people's basements. According to 311 call records, this happens to more than 4,500 times in Baltimore City every year, and the results can be severe: thousands of dollars in financial damages, panic and disruption to daily life, exposure to dangerous pathogens, and long-term health risks from mold and mildew in damp, bacteria-infested walls.
Donald Trump promised to "drain the swamp" - but instead, he's brought the swamp back to DC, appointing federal employees who greenlight oil and gas development, endangering America's public lands, waters, and wildlife. David Bernhardt, the Secretary of the Interior, is the quintessential swamp creature. He is a former oil and gas lobbyist with so many conflicts of interest that he carries a literal card listing them, because he can't remember them all. But he has to: for his past two years in government, he's been banned from conducting business with his former clients.