Food & Water Action, Friends of the Earth Action Unveil New Maryland Food & Climate Voter’s Guide

For Immediate Release

Today, Food & Water Action and Friends of the Earth Action unveiled the Maryland Food & Climate Voter’s Guide. The guide outlines Maryland gubernatorial candidates’ stances on critical food and climate issues, and is based on responses from the eight gubernatorial candidates who responded to a survey: Rushern Baker (D), Peter Franchot (D), Doug Gansler (D), Ashwani Jain (D), John B. King (D), Tom Perez (D), Jerome Segal (D) and Robin Ficker (R).

Key findings include:

  • Energy: All seven Democratic survey respondents pledge to halt all new development of fossil fuel infrastructure. Five out of eight respondents oppose dirty energy sources that Maryland currently counts as renewable, including burning waste from trash, biomass, and waste from factory farms.
  • Factory Farms: Six out of eight respondents support a moratorium on factory farms. All support holding poultry companies responsible for disposing poultry waste created by contract growers, and all support monitoring and enforcement of the Clean Water Act for factory farms.
  • Healthy & Sustainable Diets: All Democratic respondents support shifting the state’s food purchases away from industrially-produced animal products. All respondents support funding sustainably and conscientiously sourced universal free school meals.
  • Food & Farmworker Protection: All respondents except for Ficker (R) support ending the minimum wage and paid sick leave exemptions for agricultural workers.
  • Pesticides: All respondents but Ficker (R) support requiring that any mosquito pesticide sprayed in Maryland be tested for PFAS.

As Maryland voters head to the ballot box for the July 19 gubernatorial primary, food and climate issues are more relevant than ever. In its most recent climate report, the United Nations warned it is “now or never” to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Maryland, in particular, is critically at risk – without bold policy change in the next governor’s term, the state can expect to see anywhere from two to four feet of sea level rise this century.

Maryland’s fossil fuel and factory farming industries are wreaking havoc on people and the environment. Fossil fuels continue to dominate Maryland’s energy use, fueling catastrophic climate change. Meanwhile, the explosive growth of factory farms on the Eastern Shore has contributed to a water quality crisis of massive proportions and harmed neighboring communities.

“Maryland’s next governor must take unprecedented and bold action to avert climate chaos and transform our broken agricultural sector,” said Food & Water Action Maryland Organizer Lily Hawkins. “Leadership in 2022 must mean taking on the consolidated corporate power of the fossil fuel and factory farming industries and moving our state to real clean energy. Maryland’s next governor must ban new fossil fuel infrastructure and new factory farms.”

“We are heartened to see that Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial candidates broadly support policies that reign in the harms of fossil fuels, pesticides, and factory farms,” said Chloë Waterman, Senior Program Manager for Friends of the Earth Action. “Maryland desperately needs a governor who will stand up to corporate industrial agriculture and fossil fuel interests, fight for climate justice, and support a fair, sustainable food system. We urge Maryland voters to consider candidates’ positions on food and climate issues when they cast their votes and to hold our next governor accountable.”

Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]

Summer Lee Triumphs as an Anti-Fracking Climate Champion

Progressive state legislator and community organizer Summer Lee won the hotly contested Democratic primary in Pennsylvania’s 12th District. The race made national news, as her opponent — backed by local party leaders who are beholden to the fracking industry — was buoyed by millions of dollars in outside spending. 

Lee was a leader in the fight against a fracking well in her community, and has remained a steadfast opponent of dirty fossil fuel drilling that has harmed communities across the state.  Her victory has historical significance; if Lee wins the general election, she would become one of the few anti-fracking federal lawmakers who represent districts with active fracking wells.

In response, Food & Water Action Political Director Sam Bernhardt issued the following statement: 

“Summer Lee’s victory is a testament to the movement she has helped to build in her community, and to the voters and organizers who were willing to buck the party establishment. We are told over and over again that Democrats in Pennsylvania must embrace fracking and fossil fuels if they want to win. This is nonsense. Confronting the greedy, destructive corporate interests that have polluted and sickened communities is a matter of economic and environmental justice.

“We were proud to stand with Summer when she first ran for state representative in 2018, and again in 2020. In those campaigns, and in her time as a state legislator, Summer stood with us and her community to fight a fracking well at the Edgar Thomson Mill. We were told that this was an unwinnable fight against an industry that gets what it wants in Pennsylvania. But we showed them that when a community fights to protect itself, it can beat the most powerful opponents. 

“We have seen out of touch establishment Democrats try to unseat Summer Lee and other advocates for strong climate action. The fact that they keep losing should send a clear message: Voters want elected leaders who will provide working people a Green New Deal.”

Food & Water Action Endorses Marc Elrich for Montgomery County Executive

For Immediate Release

Today, Food & Water Action endorsed Marc Elrich for Montgomery County Executive. The group is the political arm of the national environmental advocacy group Food & Water Watch.

Marc Elrich is a progressive candidate running for his second term as Montgomery County Executive. A long-standing figure in County politics, Elrich has a strong track-record of climate leadership to move county residents and businesses off fossil fuels, including his support for:

  • Community Choice Energy;
  • Montgomery County’s ambitious Climate Action Plan;
  • 100% clean renewable energy sourcing County-wide by 2035;
  • Widespread building electrification;
  • Shutting down Montgomery County’s dirty trash incinerator.

Food & Water Action Maryland Organizer Lily Hawkins issued the following statement:

“Marc Elrich is a staunch climate advocate. His support for legislation that passed last year to establish a Community Choice Energy pilot program in Montgomery County marks the most significant move toward energy democracy in the state. With this program, Montgomery County residents and businesses will have local control and local choice in the County’s energy selection process, ensuring affordable and equitable access to clean and renewable energy. A second term will bring this to fruition, saving residents and businesses money on their energy bills, and putting control over the renewable energy transition squarely in the hands of the people.

“We look forward to working with Marc to finish the work he started in his first term as County Executive. With Marc’s leadership, community choice energy will bring Montgomery County residents and businesses affordable, clean renewable energy.”

Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]

Food & Water Action Endorses Environmental Champs in Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, PA – Less than two weeks out from the primary election, Food & Water Action announced its endorsement of six candidates for state legislature who would put people and the planet over corporate profits. 

The group – the political arm of the advocacy group Food & Water Watch – has played a key role in electing progressives like Reps. Danielle Friel Otten, Summer Lee, and Elizabeth Fiedler, and will work to get this slate of candidates elected to expand the progressive caucus: 

Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler for House District 184

Paul Prescod for Senate District 8

Tara Zrinski for Senate District 14

Izzy Smith-Wade-El for House District 49

Andre Carroll for House District 201

Carol Kazeem for House District 159

Mandy Steele for House District 33

“Pennsylvania needs a strong bloc of progressive legislators to ensure that we’re not only standing up to Republicans, but to the corporate interests trying to control the Democratic Party,” said Food & Water Action Pennsylvania Director Megan McDonough. “Electing these great leaders would expand the power of the climate movement inside and outside Harrisburg.”

Biden’s Pro-Ethanol Gas Move is Bad for the Planet and Pointless for Consumers

Washington, DC – Today during a visit to Iowa, President Biden is expected to announce a suspension of seasonal regulations on E15 gasoline, an ethanol-heavy blend of fuel promoted by the corporate factory corn farming industry. Biden is touting this move as providing relief for consumers from high gas prices – yet only about 1.5 percent of gas stations nationwide currently have access to the less expensive E15 blend. 

Meanwhile,  the ethanol industry in Iowa is embroiled in a political melee over three proposed carbon capture pipelines which the industry claims would help mitigate the rampant pollution and environmental degradation caused by ethanol production and related mass-scale factory corn farming. Recent Food & Water Action polling found that a plurality of Iowa voters oppose the carbon pipelines proposed for the state, and 80% oppose using eminent domain to build them.

In response, Food & Water Action’s Managing Policy Director Mitch Jones issued the following statement:

“President Biden’s assertion that the polluting, resource-wasting ethanol industry will somehow magically fix our nation’s gas price crisis is as silly as it is dangerous. Only a tiny fraction of American gas stations currently have access to ethanol-heavy gas in the first place. But more importantly: Biden’s move to double-down on production from the pollution-plagued ethanol industry is driving us deeper into the hole of dirty fossil fuel mixtures. The only valid solution to escaping the grip of expensive, polluting energy is to transition immediately to clean, renewably-sourced electricity for our cars, homes and businesses.”

Contact: Seth Gladstone – [email protected]

Biden Set to Double Down on Polluting Ethanol as Iowans Fight Off Ethanol Industry Carbon Pipelines

For Immediate Release

Today, while touring an ethanol plant in central Iowa, President Biden is expected to announce a suspension of a summer ban on E15. Iowa’s ethanol industry is embroiled in a political melee over three proposed carbon capture pipelines which plan to extend a lifeline to polluting ethanol facilities through the construction of hundreds of miles of hazardous pipeline across the state.

Recent Food & Water Action polling found that a plurality of Iowa voters, across all party lines, oppose the carbon pipelines proposed for the state, and 80% oppose using eminent domain to build them. It is unclear whether President Biden’s announcement today will mention these dangerous projects or the billions of federal taxpayer dollars that support them.

Food & Water Action Senior Iowa Organizer Emma Schmit issued the following statement:

“If Biden wants to curry favor with rural Democrats, he need look no further than the smokestacks of the ethanol refinery he’ll tour today. His visit comes as Iowans of all political leanings rally together to fight the ethanol carbon pipelines proposed for the Midwest. The anti-pipeline movement’s opposition is reaching a fever pitch; Biden’s silence on this issue would be deafening.

“Proposals to clean up the ethanol industry with a network of hazardous carbon pipelines across our state and private land are like putting lipstick on a pig. Biden should use his executive authority to transition off polluting energy sources and give the public real clean energy alternatives to dirty fossil fuels, not displace them with polluting biofuels on the public’s dime. And in Iowa, our elected officials must listen to the people demanding a stop to these carbon pipeline projects, and end the threat of eminent domain to build them.”

Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]