Baltimore’s Candidates for Mayor Tackle Environmental Questions

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[Photo courtesy of League of Conservation Voters]

Last night, we witnessed an impressive moment as more than three hundred people gathered at Mount Lebanon Baptist Church in West Baltimore to ask Baltimore’s mayoral candidates to share their vision for making Baltimore a more livable, healthy and clean city.

As executive director of Blue Water Baltimore I am pleased to be one of the organizers for this mayoral forum, the first to focus exclusively on creating “livable” Baltimore.

A broad and diverse group of organizations, each with a focus on the environment, came together to work on a common agenda: having the next Mayor of Baltimore be committed to leadership and allocating resources to the health of our environment and of the city’s residents.

We developed consensus on twelve areas of focus for the candidates. These questions included planting trees, creating green space, transportation issues, energy use, and the very dangerous reality of potentially explosive crude oil being shipped by rail through Baltimore’s neighborhoods.

I asked each of the mayoral candidates what they would do to meet obligations set out under the not-yet-public Consent Decree revisions, which will govern when and how Baltimore’s leaky wastewater collection system will finally be fixed.

We expect our next mayor to fight the continued dumping of millions of gallons of raw sewage into our streams, across our streets, and into people’s homes.

Many candidates were very clear in their commitment to enhancing project management, contract oversight, and transparency.

I received a resounding “yes” from seven of the candidates, who assured the audience that they would work with Blue Water Baltimore to address the very real and complex challenges we are facing on sewage and water pollution, both in the short and long term.

I took good notes and won’t forget!

With more than twenty-one groups sponsoring the forum, and nearly four hundred residents from all walks of life in attendance, we sent a strong message that a livable Baltimore must be a priority for this city’s leaders.

A healthy environment fits hand in glove with other important issues like public safety, vacant housing, public health, and job growth in making Baltimore a city that is the best version of itself.