Mission: The Maryland Environmental Justice Legislative Team works together to magnify community voices through the legislative process to address environmental inequities in Maryland.The 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:
In the 2017 Legislative Session we supported:
During the past two legislative sessions, the Environmental Justice Legislative Team along with Delegate Cheryl Glenn has hosted an annual event to break bread with faith leaders and elected officials, as well as community, health, and environmental advocates to discuss pressing environmental justice or equity issues facing Marylanders.
In 2018, the luncheon provided a forum to discuss air quality issues across Maryland by highlighting the experiences of several communities including the Eastern Shore, Baltimore City, Frederick County and more. Speakers included community health activist, Mrs. Monica Brooks, Ms. Miranda Jones of the Hopkins School of Public Health, Ms. Brooke Harper of the State chapter of the NAACP and MdEHN’s executive director Mrs. Tamara Toles O’Laughlin.
Each speaker touched on the impacts of timely legislation on questions of equity, access, and justice by discussing the burdens borne by their community; framed by questions of who benefits from the status quo and who is missing from the table where decisions are made. The presentations closed on the importance of “capital J” justice by inviting legislators in attendance act in their capacity with community members to address air quality issue and related health disparities.
In 2017, the Environmental Justice luncheon highlighted food deserts. The lunchtime discussion featured speakers from the Legislative Black 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: that edible food is thrown out everyday due to minor blemishes.
“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.
Proposed reduction of environmental degradation for underserved Marylanders through community engagement.
Required the Department of Environment to conduct a Cumulative Air Impact Analysis under specified circumstances in accordance with specified requirement.
The EJ Toolkit was developed to help address issues of equity, access to decision makers, and meaningful engagement of the public, when actions impact human health and the 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.