Stacy Bare

By Stacy Bare, Sierra Club Outdoors Director

On Veterans Day -- and for several days leading up to and after Veterans Day -- we celebrate those women and men who have served their country in uniform. We're lucky at the Sierra Club to have a high percentage among our members and activists. Based on available demographic data, we estimate that 10 percent of the Club's overall 2.4 million members and supporters are veterans. By contrast, only 5 percent of all Americans have served in the Armed Forces. For me as a veteran, it's pretty special to be in a place where more than double the percentage of the general population chooses to continue serving their country.


Annapolis City Dock during a King Tide. Life-size tatues at the dock are up to their knees in water.

Annapolis City Dock at King Tide - see below for photo source. (i)

 

As the environmental community prepares for this weekend’s release of the final piece of the 5th Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), many people will be focusing on the big international agreements needed to address our climate crisis. And while I could spend hours and hours digging into the importance of international agreements on climate change, I often find myself asking the questions of “What is happening in my own backyard? What can I do right here, right now to show my community is ready and willing to tackle this challenge?”


bigcoalsick

UPDATE: On Oct. 6, the Maryland Air Quality Control Advisory Council approved new strong smog standards for coal plants. “By requiring that all of Maryland’s poorly-controlled coal-fired power plants retrofit to include the best pollution control technology, repower or retire, these proposed new safeguards are poised to finally help all Marylanders breathe a little easier,” said Josh Tulkin, director of the Maryland Sierra Club. “There are still steps to go to finalize these critical safeguards, and we believe they should be implemented much sooner than 2020, but this is a great leap forward.”

mhittbwMore than 85 percent of Maryland’s residents live in areas where the air is unsafe to breathe. That’s a huge number! Maryland lags far behind other Eastern states in its use of state-of-the-art pollution controls for smog-forming pollutants from power plants, trailing even coal-heavy states like Alabama, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Believe it or not, the state is home to some of the worst air quality on the East Coast. The good news is that the state has proposed new protections for this deadly pollution, but we need help from people across the state to get these safeguards over the finish line.


September 21st marked a true milestone in the history of the climate movement. Over 400,000 people gathered in New York City under different banners but with the same singular ask of our local, national, and global leaders: Act On Climate.


 
The Maryland Beyond Coal Team is coming up on a critical moment in our campaign to retire Maryland's dirtiest coal-fired power plants, and we need help more than ever to protect the health of Marylanders.
 
After months of stalling, the Maryland Department of the Environment is finally ready to propose emissions limits that could force every coal plant in the state to install state-of-the-art pollution-cutting equipment -- an expense that is likely to push the plants toward retirement. Of course, it looks like the limits might be much weaker than is necessary to make any substantial difference. That's why we need to keep pushing back and calling for the health protections Marylanders need.