by Susanna Parker

MD to study risk of hydrofrackingBGnews_logo

Responding to grassroots efforts across the state of Maryland led by advocacy groups such as the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), Gov. Martin O’Malley announced that $1.5 million of his state budget will be set aside to study the risks posed by hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. This is a big victory for those concerned about hydrofracking in Maryland and will ensure that the General Assembly has all the facts when the debate over its use begins in earnest.

CCAN urges the General Assembly to pass a fracking moratorium banning all drilling until the studies into the risks of all facets of the fracking process — water contamination threats, climate impacts, air pollution, and others — can be completed. Delegate Heather Mizeur and Senators Bobby Zirkin and Jamie Raskin will be introducing a moratorium bill this week. 

Mercury Emissions Treaty Adopted

On Saturday, after four years of debate and negotiations, more than 140 nations agreed to and adopted a new treaty to reduce harmful emissions of mercury. Mercury has been known to be a poison for centuries, but is still regularly released from burning coal and degrading electronics, and is used as a component in batteries and paints. Because mercury is an element, it cannot be created or destroyed, but its continued use and release into water and air has led to negative effects on human health and the environment.

Mercury is known to bio-accumulate in fish, so it becomes more concentrated as species higher on the food chain (such as humans) ingest it. Because mercury causes nerve damage, pregnant women and young children face the highest risks. The push for this new treaty began more than a decade ago, as Switzerland and Norway urged the international community to create and enforce regulations on mercury emissions. For more information on the treaty, please read the full Huffington Post article here.

Upcoming Events

  • What’s It All About Series: A Year in the Life of an Electric Car Owner, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2:00 – 4:00 pm, Poolesville Town Hall, 19721 Beall Street, Poolesville, MD

Presented by Poolesville Green, this informative session will discuss the nitty gritty of owning an electric car. Local owners of Nissan Leafs and Chevy VOLTs will be there to answer questions about the good, the bad, and the ugly of owning an electric vehicle. Topics will include the differences between hybrid vs. full electric vehicles, specific information on where and how to charge electric vehicles, the impact on your electric bill, and all tax rebates and credits that are awarded to owners of electric vehicles. RSVP requested, visit PoolesvilleGreen.org or email your response to PoolesvilleGreen@gmail.com

  • 19th Annual CCE Legislative Summit, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 4:30 – 6:00 pm, Miller Conference Room, Miller Senate Building, Annapolis, MD

Presented by the Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment, the Maryland Environmental Legislative Summit will include talks from Maryland’s top legislative leaders and environmental advocates about the priorities of the 2013 General Assembly Session. With pressing issues like hydrofracking on the table, 2013 will be a vital year for clean air and water legislation, so please come out to show your support! Together Marylanders can lobby for strong policy and a healthy and safe environment. Please register at www.marylandconservation.org.

  • Green Drinks Annapolis, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, O’Brien’s Oyster Bar & Restaurant, 113 Main Street, Annapolis, MD

The Maryland Environmental Legislative Summit gets people talking, but there is no need for the conversation to end with the Summit — join environmentalists, scientists, local officials and interested citizens for drinks and conversation at Green Drinks presented by Annapolis Green. Green Drinks provides the environmentally minded the chance to chat, network, and get to know one another in support of an important cause: the health of the Chesapeake Bay. No RSVP required, cash bar. All electric eCruiser vehicles will be on hand to offer free rides from the Miller Building. For more information, visit annapolisgreen.com.

Susanna Parker is a recent college graduate and volunteer with Bethesda Green. Her interest in sustainability leads her to look for green solutions in uncommon places.

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