Montgomery County Young Democrats August 2022 Meeting Minutes-Climate Change and the County

The Montgomery County Young Democrats meeting began at 7 PM at White Oak Library. We began by reviewing our finances-we currently had $9,773.84 in our bank account and the last big expenditure was $243.67 at the happy hour after the rally for Wes Moore for Governor.

We also urged everyone to attend our Paint the County Blue fundraiser/mixer from 1-4 PM on Saturday, September 17th. It will be hosted by Councilmember Gabe Albornoz at his house; the address is 9810 Summit Ave, Kensington MD 20895.

MCYD then heard presentations on climate change, its impact on Montgomery County, and what we can do to stop it.

Wandra Ashley-Williams from Climate XChange spoke first. She emphasized that climate change is causing more extreme weather conditions and disasters, including heat. Polluters need to pay their fair share for the harm they have caused. Last session the Maryland Legislature passed the Climate Solutions Now Act, which sets an aggressive carbon reduction program, but more action is needed.

Wandra urged MCYD to support to support the Climate Crisis and Environmental Justice Act, which would charge oil companies a fee for the pollution they cause. The bill would raise $1 billion, with half of that money going to infrastructure and 40% going to help the communities most impacted by climate change. It would have a no passthrough provision, so companies can’t pass costs on to consumers. Climate XChange is encouraging everyone to make this bill a priority and join the Maryland Coalition in support of it, currently consisting of 66 organizations.

Luca Grifo-Han from the Maryland Campaign for Environmental Human Rights spoke next. Their goal is to get an amendment guaranteeing the right of everyone to a clean environment in the Maryland Constitution. This amendment would affect all bills and have a far-reaching impact; moreover there is precedent since other states have environmental amendments. New York recently approved an amendment by 70%.

Amendments to the Maryland Constitution need to be pass both legislative houses by a three fifths majority and then be ratified by the voters. Last session the environmental amendment did not make it out of committee, partly due to opposition from Delegate Kumar Barve, but it will be brought back.

Adriana Hochberg from the Montgomery County Council was the final speaker. She pointed out that climate change has increased Montgomery County temperatures by 2 degrees Fahrenheit, resulted in more heats alerts, storms, and flooding (especially flash floods). The County intends to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035, improve energy performance standards, and develop a countrywide comprehensive flooding plan. People in garden-level apartments are especially vulnerable.

The County has a climate action plan that you can read, and a bunch of summer interns and workers who are putting together projects. The Inflation Reduction Act, which just passed Congress, includes $369 billion for combatting climate change.

MCYD then had a lively discussion and asked numerous questions, and then adjourned until next month.