100% Renewable Energy
In 2017, after more than five years of grassroots organizing, Food & Water Watch and our many partners in the Don’t Frack Maryland coalition succeeded in banning fracking in Maryland. After this monumental victory, we’ve set our sights on the next major fight to protect our food, water, and climate: powering Maryland with 100% energy by 2035. Read more on why this goal is so critical.
Maryland is currently on track to get 25% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2022. We need to accelerate our transition to clean energy by setting a more aggressive timeline and ensuring our energy comes from truly clean sources; currently, trash incineration, biogas, and poultry waste are all classified as renewable sources of energy, right alongside wind and solar.
It’s going to take a massive grassroots campaign to move off fossil fuels and build the clean energy future we need. Learn more about our campaign in Maryland here, and click below to get involved.
Food & Water Watch has also been fighting to keep dangerous natural gas infrastructure out of Maryland. TransCanada, the same corporation behind the Keystone Pipeline, has proposed the Eastern Panhandle Expansion project, a pipeline which would run through Western Maryland. It would connect a TransCanada pipeline in Pennsylvania to a Mountaineer Gas line in West Virginia, and would travel through Maryland just west of Hancock.
The pipeline would threaten the Potomac River and the C&O Canal, and so we’ve been working to make sure Governor Hogan’s Department of the Environment says no to its construction. The movement to ban fracking built a powerful movement calling for a beautiful, frack-free and natural gas infrastructure free Maryland. We will use the momentum from this movement to make sure the Eastern Panhandle Expansion project is stopped in its tracks.
In Baltimore, water rates have been skyrocketing. Rates have tripled since the year 2000, and with the vote last fall to raise them another 30% by 2018, there’s no sign of this slowing down. While rates have been rising to ensure that infrastructure can be repaired, the burden is falling on Baltimore’s lowest income families. The United Nations defines affordable water as no more than 3% of household income, yet more than a third of Baltimoreans are paying above that threshold, some spending up to 8% of household income on their water bills.
When families cannot afford to pay their bills, they face cruel repercussions as the City tries to squeeze the money from them. From April to October, the Department of Public Works will shut of water for households who owe, leaving families without running water. If a family owes as little as $750 in outstanding bills, they can have their balance sold to an investor as a lien on their property. If they cannot pay the bill, plus interest, they home can be sold in the annual tax sale.
Threatening to take a family’s home, or shutting off their water will not make them able to pay their bill. It’s time to focus on real solutions for water affordability. That’s why Food & Water Watch is advocating for an income-based water billing program. If people can afford their bills, they will pay them. With this program, low income families could afford their water bills and avoid the cruel shutoffs and tax sale. If you live in Baltimore, sign the petition to support this campaign here.
In Maryland, a booming poultry industry is the foundation of the local rural economy on the Eastern shore. More and more industrial sized farms pop up and bring with them large chicken house infrastructure, construction, rancid smells and harmful levels of ammonia and manure. Food & Water Watch has been working with Shore communities and residents to make sure these mega farms are regulated adequately. With major concerns about surrounding drinking water, air and public health, hundreds of people are coming together to discuss the impacts of factory farms. Massive corporations like Perdue continue to rake in large profits by forcing farmers, residents and the Chesapeake Bay to bear the burden of pollution from the millions of pounds of excess chicken waste produced each year.
In 2015, the Hogan Administration enacted regulations forbidding farmers from over-applying poultry manure on fields. The Poultry Litter Management Act, introduced in 2016, would place the cost of properly disposing excess manure in the hands of the big companies, not small farmers or the public.
Meanwhile in 2017, the Community Healthy Air Act was introduced and would require the state Department of the Environment to start monitoring how much air pollution is generated from industrial poultry facilities. Research shows these factory farms release huge amounts of air pollution, yet Maryland fails to release what is actually in the air we all breathe every day. Eastern Shore communities are suffering from increased rates of asthma so are increasing our efforts to protect Maryland communities from the pollution of factory farms and expose the chemicals they release. Join us here.
Connect with a Maryland Organizer
Rianna Eckel, Maryland Organizer
Rianna Eckel is the Maryland Organizer for Food & Water Watch. She works with Marylanders to ban fracking, reform factory farming, and ensure that everyone has access to safe and affordable drinking water.
Mitch Jones, Climate & Energy Program Director
Mitch Jones is Climate & Energy Program Director at Food & Water Watch. He oversees the organization’s work on federal and state legislation on energy policy and climate change.
Michele Merkel, Co-Director, Food & Water Justice Project
Michele Merkel is co-director of Food & Water Justice, the legal arm of Food & Water Watch.