Karla Raettig, executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters

Karla Raettig, executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters

Maryland League of Conservation Voters’ Karla Raettig is the Executive Director of the leading political organization for Maryland’s environment. Maryland LCV is a state-wide, nonpartisan organization that uses political action and education to protect our air, land, public health and water. Maryland LCV protects public health by fighting for the Chesapeake Bay and local waters, preserving green spaces, promoting smarter growth and increasing Maryland’s investment in clean energy. We asked her a few questions about the latest Maryland General Assembly session and the current political environment.

Biggest Victories for the Environment in the 2017 Legislative Session
Raettig says this session was “a banner year for the environment.” Maryland gained national acclaim by banning hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), as well as limiting the over-use of antibiotics in agriculture. One of the first acts of the legislature in January was overriding Governor Hogan’s 2016 veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act, and the session ended with reinforcing the protection of pollinators from dangerous pesticides.

Many of these legislative victories included bipartisan support. “This demonstrates that in a state that values the environment as well as the economy, the environment can bridge the partisan divide,” says Raettig.

Biggest Environmental Challenges for Maryland Coming Up
Despite these victories, Raettig sees a number of threats to Maryland’s environment. “As a coastal state with rich biological diversity and vital wetlands, we are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change and rising temperatures,” she says.

But Raettig asserts that the biggest upcoming environmental challenges for all Marylanders are any federal actions that will affect our natural resources and economy. “Already Maryland LCV has taken a stand against the federal administration’s budget proposal zeroing out all funding for Chesapeake Bay cleanup, and we are concerned with the potential rolling back of protections against off-shore drilling in Atlantic coastal waters.”

Maryland LCV will also be working during the next legislative session in 2018 to increase the amount of renewable energy across our state and establishing a goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030 and ensuring that Maryland continues to be a national leader in environmental protections.

Working outside the Legislative Session — and Ways to Get Involved
“We will be working over the summer to stop the federal attacks to our most treasured natural resource, the Chesapeake Bay,” says Raettig. “We will also be working on the Public Service Commission’s decision about the offshore wind projects off Ocean City’s shores and ensuring a stable renewable energy source for all Marylanders.”

Check out Maryland LCV’s new logo and website at www.mdlcv.org and sign up for their email list to get more involved! Make sure to also check out their full legislative wrap up here.