Acting from our faith convictions, we join our voices with others in the region who call for responsible public policies that promote healthy watersheds.
To bring about major change, public policies are needed to undo the harm that has been done to our environment, specifically the watersheds of the Chesapeake region. We citizens have a moral obligation to engage in the political process in ways that align with our values.
What Can You Do?
- Sign up to receive legislative action alerts and to be an Advocacy Leader. Gear up for the 2019 Maryland Legislative Session by making sure you're signed up for our Advocacy Leader newsletters and get ready to mobilize your community.
- Get trained on how to speak out to your representatives. Training will be offered in January.
- Join us on December 13th at The Pearlstone Center as we hear from panelists about the upcoming session and "Charting a Course for Environmental Change" in 2018.
- Make sure you know who your state representatives are before the 2019 legislative session begins. Click here to enter your home address and see who represents you.
- Prepare an op-ed, like this recent one from a member of St. Matthews Catholic Church in Baltimore, to express your views on issues.
- Join us on Facebook or Twitter and be vocal about state legislation, or respond when we post important news.
- Help us track legislation in other Chesapeake states or in the District of Columbia. Email email@example.com if you can volunteer in this way.
2018 Maryland Legislative Update
This was a disappointing session for many environmental bills. Here’s a summary of how things went in the 2018 Maryland Legislative Session.
Bills that Passed
None of the bills IPC was tracking passed this legislative session. A full review of all environmental legislation this session is provided by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters here.
Bills that Didn’t Pass
SB610/HB766 - Forest Conservation Act Amendments – This bill received huge grassroots support and caught the attention of many legislators, but did not pass. After first being amended to be a "Task Force Bill", which would require legislators to study the issue of forest losses in Maryland, House leaders watered down the Task Force Bill so significantly that the Senate did not like it. The last version of the Task Force Bill passed the House, but the Senate chose not to pass it.
Here's how the faith community engaged:
The Rev. Diana Caroll of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church of Eastport testified at the House hearing on February 21st in support of the Forest Conservation Act amendments. The Rev. Sue Lowcock-Harris of First Presbyterian Church of Howard County had this letter-to-the-editor "Thou Shall Not Steal Trees" published in the Bay Weekly about the moral duty to protect forests. The Rev. Franklin Lance of Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church and director of the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council secured a letter signed by the leaders of 6 major denominations (United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Maryland-Delaware Synod, Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, Archdiocese of Baltimore, and Presbytery of Baltimore-PCUSA). Montgomery County faithful citizens spoke with their state delegate and Chair of the House Environmental Committee Del. Kumar Barve about the importance of forest protection. Finally, 262 faithful signed this petition supporting amendments to strengthen the Forest Conservation Act – the signatures were submitted as written testimony to state officials. Many forwarded it to friends and family and posted on social media about it.
SB651/HB538 - Ban on Expanded Polystyrene – This was never brought up for a formal vote in the House Environment Committee, despite intense grassroots support including from youth in Baltimore City. An unfavorable vote in the Senate Finance Committee killed the bill before crossover date.
Here's how the faith community engaged: 36 congregations signed a letter reporting to their state delegates that they had already stopped using foam food products and thus a statewide ban was not a crazy idea! Behind each one of these congregations was a green leader at that congregation who took the time to confirm with their congregation that in fact they have stopped using Styrofoam, and added their names to the list.