Environmental Justice Legislative Team

Mission: The Maryland Environmental Justice Legislative Team works together to magnify community voices through the legislative process to address environmental inequities in Maryland.

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-1-27-44-pmThe Environmental Justice Legislative Team welcomes participation from anyone interested in creating a more inclusive and equitable environmental policy landscape. We are comprised of activists and volunteers not affiliated with any organization, and the following policy, environmental, faith, and health organizations, including:

The environmental justice movement seeks clean and healthy environments for communities that are overburdened by pollution and health hazards, and promotes meaningful community engagement in policy-making.

In the 2017 Legislative Session we supported:

  • Housing and Community Development – Food Deserts – Small Loans (HB 1492) – to provide financial assistance for corner stores looking to upgrade in order to provide fresh, healthy food for neighbors. This bill passed, and is set to improve access to healthy foods in communities soon.
  • The Maryland Farms & Families Act (HB 586/SB 278) – to double the purchasing power of food-insecure Maryland residents with limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This bill passed, and now needs your support to get state funding.  Consider signing this letter to Governor Hogan asking for funding in the 2018 budget.
  • Environment – Testing for Lead in Drinking Water – Public and Nonpublic Schools (HB 270) – to provide lead testing in school drinking water. This bill passed and the Maryland Department of the Environment is currently convening a workgroup to advise on implementation.
  • Environment – Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing – Blood Lead Level (HB 1625/SB 1195) – to reduce the definition of an elevated blood lead level, so there is earlier intervention from property owners and health departments for lead poisoned children. This bill did not pass, and we hope it will be reintroduced in 2018.

Fact sheets

The Legislative Black Caucus Luncheon

During the 2017 legislative session, the Environmental Justice Legislative Team hosted our first event to break bread with faith leaders, elected officials, and community, health, and environmental advocates and discuss a pressing environmental justice or equity issue facing Marylanders.

In 2017, we worked with the Legislative Black Caucus to highlight food deserts, with educational speakers from the Caucus, the University of Maryland School of Public Health, Filbert Street Garden, and the Maryland Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities (CEJSC). Hungry Harvest provided rescued produce from grocery stores to highlight the injustice of food deserts: edible food is thrown out everyday due to a minor blemish.

 “The burden is falling most heavily on communities of color or low-income communities and on rural communities. We want to make sure that their voice and their presence is prominent here in Annapolis where the legislative work of our state is being done,” said Vernice Miller-Travis, outgoing chair of the CEJSC.

Legislative History

2016 The REDUCE Act (SB 398 / HB 820 )
Reducing Environmental Degradation for the Underserved Through Community Engagement; 
Senator Ramirez & Delegate Lam

2015 —  Cumulative Air Impact Analysis (SB 693 / HB 987) – Environment – Ambient Air Quality Control; Senator Ramirez & Delegate Lam

Legislative History in Maryland also includes:
 › 2003HB 970   ›2009SB 4   ›2010SB 60   ›2011HB 847   ›2014SB 706

Executive Branch History – Environmental Justice in Maryland

  • 2001 – Governor Glendening signs Executive Order establishing the CEJSC
  • 2010 – Sheriff Road pilot project occurred as a facilitated community outreach effort undertaken by the Maryland Department of the Environment
  • 2014 – Cumulative Impacts Workgroup

To find out more about environmental justice in Maryland, view the resources below:

Resources – Environmental Justice in Maryland


  • The Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee and the Climate, Energy, and Environment Policy Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) – Released an Environmental Justice Toolkit (EJ Toolkit).The EJ Toolkit was developed to help address issues of equity, access to decision makers, and meaningful engagement of the public, when making decisions that affect the local and regional environment. These decisions include, but are not limited to, permitting, facility siting, transportation, and other measures that impact the quality of the air and affect the health conditions for thousands of people who have made their home in the region.
  • View resources from the Community Engagement, Environmental Justice, and Health (CEEJH) Laboratory at University of Maryland