Better Notification and Public Health Protections at the Public Service Commission (PSC)
There is a need for a 2-tiered solution to some of the PSC processes that would (1) Increase transparency and notification in the PSC process, and (2) Add a layer of protections (e.g. health impact assessment or environmental justice review) for residents living near a proposed facility, particularly if projects cut through sensitive (eg. karst) geology.
Community Healthy Air Act
The Community Healthy Air Act would require the Maryland Department of the Environment to conduct a study that identifies, and monitors air pollutants emitted by large chicken houses. While industrial chicken farms emit harmful air pollutants, we don’t know how much this pollution is affecting the health of neighboring communities or nearby waters, including the Chesapeake Bay.
Lowering Maryland’s blood lead action level for children
There is no safe level of lead exposure and the effects of lead poisoning are irreversible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention set a reference blood lead level of 5 μg/dL, but Maryland law does not require intervention until children have levels of 10 μg/dL. Our action level should be at the CDC reference level. Of the children aged 0-72 months tested for lead in 2016,1,729 had blood lead levels between 5 µg/dL and 9 µg/dL.
Legislative Wrap Up 2017
Read about the outcomes on our priority bills in the 2017 Maryland legislative session.
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 Annapolis this year, we will advocate for environmental justice by working on bills addressing at least two areas of documented disparities: food deserts and lead.
The General Assembly passed this bill, but the Governor vetoed it after the end of the legislative session.This bill will ensure 25% renewable energy by 2020. An override of the veto will assure actions that decrease air pollution that contributes to asthma and other health conditions. Air pollution is a human carcinogen and contributes to cardiovascular disease.
A regulatory framework is inadequate to protect us from the pervasive environmental and health effects of fracking. Since 2015, public health research has documented increased risk of adverse birth outcomes, asthma attacks, and migraines near highly fracked areas. Other disturbing issues that cannot be addressed by regulations include violence against women; drug and alcohol abuse near fracking sites; and community disruption and division. With the moratorium set to expire in 2017, we need the Maryland legislature to ban fracking in Maryland now.
2 million infections and 23,000 deaths occur nationally every year due to antibiotic resistance. In the U.S., 70% of medically important antibiotics are sold for use in daily livestock production. This bill stops the daily sub-therapeutic application of antibiotics in factory farms. The Center for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics join the call for responsible use of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
Maryland counties are already banning polystyrene food containers; this bill calls for Maryland to do the same. More readily released under heat, styrene leaches into food and drink served in foam containers, exposing humans to chemicals that are classified by the National Institutes of Health as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” In the water, tiny pieces of styrene can be ingested by fish or other wildlife, also exposing them to toxic chemicals.