Maryland Sierra Club Blog

04/09/2014
By Judy Mauriello

The Annapolis-area community’s fight against the proposed Crystal Spring mega-development on Forest Drive continued on into spring, with a number of developments worth reporting.




04/04/2014
By Claudia Friedetzky

We did great! Sierra Club volunteers played a huge role in the successful defense of the polluted runoff law. Together we beat back 20 bills attempting to weaken the law that is critical for cleaning up our waterways. 




04/04/2014
By Donna McDowell

The Great Bay on-land wind energy project is a win-win for Maryland, and would put Maryland in the forefront of clean energy production. The project will generate jobs on the Eastern Shore, in one of the poorer parts of the state, and wll bring in over $40 million in new tax revenues to Somerset County. Senator Mathias supports this project.

Great Bay has already spent more than $3 million developing this project, and also has successfully navigated the numerous regulatory hurdles. The company has entered into a preliminary agreement with the Navy to curtail their wind turbines during PAX River Naval Air Station testing range operations that require a "clean Doppler environment", thereby protecting the Naval Base's unique testing environment. Great Bay is also working with the Fish and Wildlife Service to mitigate impacts to the Bald Eagle population in the area. 

House Bill 1168, which includes provisions for a 15-month moratorium on wind power within a 56-mile radius of PAX River Naval Air Station, will likely cause Great Bay to cut their losses and leave Maryland altogether. Certainly this bill won't help Maryland's reputation as a state that is open to businesses looking for renewable energy opportunities. If the normal regulatory process can be subverted by legislative action, then businesses may decide to look at other places to develop renewable energy projects. At the very least, this bill will create a chilling effect on the develpoment of future on-land wind energy projects in Maryland.

The Senate Finance Committee approved HB1168 by a 7 to 4 vote with the bill now scheduled to go before the full Senate on Saturday, April 5, 2014. Pressure on State Senators to support the bill has been intense, with Congressman Steny Hoyer coming to Annapolis to personally testify for its passage. If the bill passes, the next stop will be Governor O'Malley's desk. At that point, we will ask Governor O'Malley, whose administration offered compelling testimony against the bill, to veto it. We hope that Governor O'Malley stands strong in favor of renewable energy and against this bill -- we believe he has the courage and foresight to do so. Click here to learn more. 

 




04/03/2014
By Richelle Brown

 

The Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club joined 18 other local, state, regional, and national groups in Baltimore on Wednesday to hand-deliver over 40,000 printed comments urging the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) to reject Dominion Cove Point’s application for a crucial permit. As part of its proposal to convert the existing Cove Point natural gas import terminal, located on the Chesapeake Bay, into an export terminal, Dominion is seeking permission to build a 130-megawatt gas-fired power plant at the site. This plant would provide the power needed to cool the natural gas to 260 degrees below zero, converting it into a liquid that would then be put into tankers to be carried to India and Japan.




04/03/2014

 

Here are some new stewardship outings in Howard and Baltimore Counties. For more information, please click here.




04/02/2014

The Cove Point fracked-gas export terminal is a radical proposal that would put Maryland and the entire mid-Atlantic at risk.

The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) is currently reviewing whether Dominion Resource’s application to build a proposed $3.8 billion liquefied natural gas export facility at Cove Point in southern Maryland is in the “public interest”.  But, by every measure, Cove Point would harm Marylanders to boost the gas industry’s bottom line.

Before the April 2nd public comment deadline, we need to flood the PSC with comments urging them to deny Dominion’s permit.

Please send a comment calling on PSC to deny that Dominion Cove Point is in the public interest!




04/02/2014

Maryland goes a bit more wild!!

“The idea of wilderness needs no defense. It only needs more defenders.” Ed Abby wrote those words long after John Muir started the Sierra Club, but Abby may have taken inspiration from the generations of Sierrans who, ever since 1892, relentlessly took up the challenge of ensuring that nature does not perish from this Earth. 

Maryland has no National Forests and no Congressionally designated Wilderness, so we look to Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) administered “wildlands” when we seek the restorative balm of nature untrammeled by human kind. This year, the Maryland General Assembly approved a 50% (22,000 acre) expansion of Maryland’s Wildlands. For a map showing the location of the new wildlands go to:  http://dnr.maryland.gov/land/stewardship/digitalapwl_areas.asp




03/31/2014
By Seth Bush

Only a week after the well-attended screening of Coal Country in downtown Baltimore, over 20 people turned out for the inaugural meeting of the new Baltimore Beyond Coal Team! After enjoying a delicious potluck lunch, attendees learned more about Sierra Club's campaign to clean up the air-polluting Crane and Wagner coal-fired power plants and brainstormed ideas about how to engage more people in advocating for healthier air in our communities. We discussed tabling at farmers markets and festivals, hosting more Coal Country screenings and other programs around the city, planning a rally for clean air, and much more!

Now it's time to take our ideas and turn them into action so that we can show Governor O'Malley how important clean air and clean energy really is to Baltimoreans!

Will you join us at one of our upcoming events? Please send an email to Seth (Seth.Bush@sierraclub.org) to join our email list and learn more about upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.




03/31/2014
By Seth Bush

The Cove Point fracked-gas export terminal is a radical proposal that would put Maryland and the entire mid-Atlantic at risk.

The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) is currently reviewing whether Dominion Resource’s application to build a proposed $3.8 billion liquefied natural gas export facility at Cove Point in southern Maryland is in the “public interest”.  But, by every measure, Cove Point would harm Marylanders to boost the gas industry’s bottom line.

Before the April 2nd public comment deadline, we need to flood the PSC with comments urging them to deny Dominion’s permit.

Please send a comment calling on PSC to deny that Dominion Cove Point is in the public interest!




03/28/2014

In nature, time stands still. No phone, no paperwork, no bills or worries about my leaky tub, just quiet bliss. The echoes of blue birds and spring peepers are my symphony. To say I like being in nature is an understatement. As an Environmental Science and Policy major at University of Maryland I have managed to turn my love of nature into a prospective career.

At the Sierra Club, however, I have been able to do something of much more importance. Here, I have been able to protect the nature I cherish so dearly. Working along side a remarkable mentor and plant genius, Marc Imlay, I have been able to rescue native flora from invasive invader suffocation. Every weekend I Iead a group of 5 to 10 volunteers on stewardship outings focused on removing invasive plants such as Wineberry, English Ivy, and Japanese Honeysuckle from local areas. Not only do I get to meet interesting and kind individuals from all walks of life, I have the privilege of safeguarding College Park's natural heritage.

I leave each outing with dirt under my nails, a smile on my face, and a relaxed mind from my semi-vacation from the real world. We all need a break from our hectic lives. We all need to stop and appreciate the beauty that is all around us. If this sounds appealing to you, please feel free to volunteer with me on a stewardship outing, and be prepared to get dirty and have a lot of fun!

To see Invasive Plant Removal Outings locations, click here!




03/25/2014
By Donna McDowell

House Bill 1168, a bad bill coming to the Senate Finance Committee next week, will put on-land wind power on the chopping block in Maryland.

How the Senate Finance Committee acts on this bill will determine whether Maryland will continue to stand in the forefront of clean energy production, or whether Maryland will retreat out of fear and mistruths. House Bill 1168 calls for a 15-month moratorium on wind power on the Eastern Shore, and if passed by the Senate, will effectively kill the Great Bay wind project slated to begin development in Somerset County. Ask Governor O'Malley and your State Senator to oppose HB 1168!




03/24/2014
By Joanne Heckman

The Patapsco Heritage Greenway, Inc. has released its plan "to increase the economic activity associated with tourism, creating opportunities for small business development, job growth, and a stronger tax base" in Patapsco Valley State Park from Daniels to Elkridge.
Read the Plan on our website and share your comments and questions. The Howard County Group of the Sierra Club will hold a discussion about this proposal and other environmental issues on Monday, April 14, 2014 from 6:30 - 8:30 pm at the Miller Library. RSVP here.



03/18/2014
By Judy Mauriello

For the 12th straight year, a group of Anne Arundel Sierra Club members gathered at the Anne Arundel County Regional Science and Engineering Fair to review Environmental Projects for our student awards.

The selection for the Mike Rixham Memorial Award (a plaque and $100 check) was the project Don’t Be Selfish, Save the Shellfish by Sally Albright and Ally Raines, 10th graders from South River High School. Two projects received Honorable Mention. These projects were: Blind Sided by Sodium Lauryl Sulfate by three 10th graders from South River High School –- Loren Suite, Jake Mondoro, and Julia Daniel -- and Do ‘Feel Good’ Drugs Alter Instincts of Aquatic Life? by James Sappington, a 7th grader from Central Middle School. Each of these students received a Certificate of Merit and a $25 check.




03/14/2014
By Joanne Heckman


Check out our table at GreenFest, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at Howard Community College in Columbia, Saturday, April 5.

We will be planting trees on the campus, giving away golden ragwort plants (Packera aurea, an especially versatile native plant) and of course telling people about the Sierra Club.

The GreenFest includes many other vendors and organizations, and offers a native plant sale, recycling stations for everything from eyeglasses to bicycles, and much more. Click here for more information.




03/12/2014
By Judy Mauriello

20th Annual Sierra Club "Earth Day 5K" Set for Annapolis, April 19

Runners, walkers and friends of the environment from throughout the area are gearing up for one of the year's most fun racing events: the Anne Arundel Sierra Club's Earth Day 5K Race and Walk at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis. Aside from being fun, the event is the Club’s only annual fundraising event.




03/12/2014

It is likely that a vote on HB747 to remove Black Liquor form the RPS will occur tomorrow March 13 in the House Economic Matters Committee.  If you haven't taken action to support this bill yet, please do so today!  Please follow this link to send a message to your legislators!



03/01/2014

Sierra Club Southern Maryland Group is hosting a public forum on the environmental and health issues surrounding the proposed expansion of the Dominion Power terminal on the Chesapeake Bay for the export of liquefied methane gas and the resultant pressure to use hydraulic fracturing to drill for gas all up and down the East Coast…even in southern Maryland.




02/28/2014
By Donna McDowell

Maryland Sierra Club Environmental Lobby Night

When: Monday, March 10, 2014, 5:00 - 8:00 pm

Where: Lowe House Office Building, Room 406, 6 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD 21401

Questions? Contact: doreen.paster[@]mdsierra.org

Join fellow Sierrans on Monday, March 10th to lobby key General Assembly members to ensure strong environmental legislative victories in 2014! Sign up today!

We need interested volunteers to come to Annapolis on the evening of March 10 to make personal visits to legislators and ask them to vote green on specific bills that will make a difference in Maryland’s environment. Don’t feel you have expertise? No worries! We will supply you with training and fact sheets. But remember –- the most important thing you can contribute is your personal interest in just showing up. Legislators might not care if you are an issue expert, but they do care that you are an interested voter concerned enough to visit them! Learn more.




02/27/2014
By Rich Reis

The Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club invites you to a showing of the documentary, “Coal Country”.

Where: Our College Park office (see “Logistics” below)

When: Sunday, March 9 at 7:00 pm

Cost: Free/optional donation

Please let Adam Rahll know if you plan to attend: adam.rahll@mdsierra.org/443-665-5341

Note: There will be another showing at the Baltimore Pratt Library on 3/13 at 7:00 pm -- contact seth.bush@mdsierra.org for more information.




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