Chicago posts EPA’s Deleted Climate Change Pages to City Website

Mayor Rahm Emanuel posted the Environmental Protection Agency’s deleted climate change pages to the City of Chicago’s website. Climate change is real and the Trump administration cannot hide from reality by deleting scientific evidence. Kudos to Chicago for keeping this information accessible to the public. You can view the site here.

Climate change is the single biggest threat to humanity and earth’s ecological system. If we’re going to mitigate this crisis we need to do a lot more from a policy perspective. Maryland banned fracking during the 2017 legislative session and consequently states such as Oregon are looking at stopping fracking as well, but that’s not enough. We need to get to 100% renewable energy as quickly as possible, and Maryland can be a leader in this effort. During the 2018 legislative session I plan to introduce legislation that would help Maryland arrive at 100% renewable energy by 2035. Each day wind and solar energy become cheaper and more accessible. 100% renewable energy by 2035 is an attainable goal and mitigating climate change demands it.

Urge Gov. Hogan to Sign the Keep Antibiotics Effective Act

We are very close to making Maryland the second state in the country to declare that routine use of human antibiotics in livestock who are not sick is a public health threat that must be addressed. Against great odds, the legislation I sponsored in the House of Delegates and that Paul Pinsky sponsored in the Senate passed with overwhelming, bipartisan votes in both chambers.

We are almost at the finish line, but now it’s up to Gov. Hogan. Will you please contact Gov. Hogan and urge him to sign this bill into law?

Most of us probably know the stories of people who have suffered antibiotic-resistant infections. As the father of two, I want to do everything I can to keep my family safe — and that means protecting this critically-important tool of modern medicine from extinction.

So many of you helped us during the Maryland General Assembly session by writing your legislator or making a phone call (some of you even came to Annapolis to testify — thank you!). Democracy works best when we actively participate. Here’s your next chance to take action.

Please take a moment to let our Governor know that protecting antibiotics is a position everyone can get behind. Click here to send him a message today.

Cownose Rays in Trouble

Every year, schools of cownose rays enter the Chesapeake Bay around the month of May, and pay a visit to our waterways for the purpose of mCownose Rayating and giving birth to pups. This is an especially vulnerable time for this species as they are characterized by late maturity (an average of 7 years), 11 month gestation periods, and only single pup births. Alarmingly, in recent years the cow nose ray has been scapegoated for low oyster populations and several fishing and bow hunting competitions have begun in the Chesapeake in order to decrease their numbers. Even though oysters are sometimes consumed by cow nose rays, they are not a significant food source.

Male and female cownose rays are indistinguishable at the water’s surface so there is no way for bowfishers to tell which they are targeting. Many pregnant females are killed, each essentially resulting in the loss of two members of this slow-to-reproduce species.. The rays are impaled, beaten, and thrown into a pile to suffocate. Later their bodies are dumped back into the water.

I encourage you to join the effort to stop these bowfishing contests. Click HERE for a link to a petition asking Governor Hogan and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to protect the rays. Please join the urgent effort to stop this cruel and ecologically reckless animal abuse.

Sincerely,

Shane

1. http://www.chesapeakebay.noaa.gov/fisheries-hot-topics/cownose-rays-what-effect-are-they-having
2. http://www.chesapeakebay.net/channel_files/23141/cnr_workshop_report_final_1-29-16.pdf
3. http://fishfeel.org/wp-content/uploads/DNRCalledOn_StopImminentBrutalAttacksonCownoseRays2.pdf
4. http://fishfeel.org/wp-content/uploads/FishFeel-Shark_lettertoDNR.pdf

Johns Hopkins University Ends Live Animal Use In Surgical Training

     “Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine announced Wednesday that it has abandoned the use of live pigs to train students, joining all but one other U.S. medical school in forgoing a practice that’s long been criticized by animal rights activists who consider it unnecessary in the age of computer simulation.” -Baltimore Sun, Wednesday May 18, 2016 (click Here for a link to the article)

Recently, the Baltimore Sun reported that Johns Hopkins Medical School would discontinue its use of live animals in surgical training. This news not only struck a chord with me as an advocate for animal rights, but also as a legislator, who has taken on this very issue in the General Assembly. Although, as a medical school, there are few in our country that measure up to the excellent training provided by Johns Hopkins, in this one area, they have lagged behind.

As of this year, they were one of only two schools in the entire country which were continuing to use live animals (specifically pigs) in this way. Every other institution opting, instead, to switch to more sophisticated simulators in their training. In the past two legislative sessions, I proposed bills to help end this practice at Hopkins. Although, these bills did not pass, they proved successful in bringing this issue to public attention, and applying the necessary pressure to affect the change.

While advocating for these bills this past session, I was strongly encouraged by many constituents who wrote to my office in support of this legislation. I would like to thank them now, as well as Senator Currie who cross filed this bill in the Senate, and organizations such as the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the Humane Society, the ASPCA, and Maryland Votes for Animals. It was our combined efforts that helped end this practice. I am also grateful to Johns Hopkins for taking this opportunity to update an antiquated method of training in favor of a more modern, and humane technique. Johns Hopkins remains the best medical school in the world, and now it will be even better.

Sincerely,
Shane

District 39 Delegation Files for Re-Election

Team39_filingAnnapolis, MD – On Thursday, May 2nd, Senator Nancy J. King and Delegates Charles, Barkley, Kirill Reznik and Shane Robinson filed for re-election and announced their intention to run together as the District 39 Team Slate. In a joint statement the candidates said, “We have worked hard together for our district, our county and our state. Our diverse committee assignments are a benefit to our constituents and we look forward to continuing our service to the Upcounty.”

Senator King serves on the powerful Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and is considered a leader in education policy and business issues. Delegate Barkley is a subcommittee chair on the House Economic Matters Committee and has been an outspoken advocate for issues affecting Montgomery County. Delegate Reznik serves on the House Health and Government Operations Committee and has been a champion for the autism and developmental disabilities communities. Delegate Robinson is regarded as a leading advocate for the environment and as a member of the Environmental Matters Committee he is working to protect Maryland’s natural resources.

Upon hearing of the District 39 delegation’s plan to run for re-election, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett said, “The District 39 team does an excellent job balancing the needs of Montgomery County and those of the State in Annapolis. Montgomery County is very well served by Senator King and Delegates Barkley, Reznik, and Robinson. They have my full support.”

***

The District 39 Team Slate is composed of Senator Nancy J. King, Delegate Charles Barkley, Delegate Kirill Reznik and Delegate Shane Robinson. Focused on jobs, education and the environment, the team works to make sure that all upcounty communities in the District benefit from their leadership. In the 2014 election, District 39 will include Montgomery Village, Germantown, Washington Grove, as well as portions of Clarksville.

The Time is Now. Vote for Equality. Vote FOR Question 6.

Friends,

It’s that time again. Tomorrow, we head to the polls and exercise the right at the core of our democracy: the right to vote. On the ballot, you will be asked to vote “for” or “against” several questions; I write to request you to vote for Question 6–the Civil Marriage Protection Act, which provides civil marriage licenses to committed gay and lesbian couples.

Last session, I was proud to be part of the legislature that passed this bill because I felt extending equal marriage rights to all Americans was, simply put, the right thing to do. Our nation was founded on the principles codified in this legislation. Should Question 6 pass, all of Maryland’s children, no matter their parents’ sexual orientation, would be treated equally under the law; gay and lesbian spouses would be assured of hospital visitation rights when their loved ones fell ill; and families across the state would be solidified by the unparalleled bond of marriage. We owe it to those who conceived of a nation characterized by liberty and justice, and to our gay neighbors, friends, doctors, teachers, first responders, and veterans, to create a more just Maryland. Please join me in voting for Question 6 tomorrow.

(If you need to find your polling location click here.)

Best,
Shane

Pushing for a ban on hydraulic fracturing

Friends,

As many of you now know, I have been pushing hard for a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” in Maryland; and, to that end, will be introducing legislation that would accomplish this goal this coming session.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak at an Environment Maryland event on the issue and made the following points:

  • A ban is not only the appropriate course of action for the environment, it is the solution favored by the constituents I’ve been speaking with–scientists, business owners, teachers, parents, et al.
  • I don’t want our land to be a testing ground for a flawed process: We shouldn’t be risking public and environmental health so that massive energy companies can profit financially by extracting more fossil fuels. Instead, we should be focusing on improving renewable energy sources in Maryland, such as offshore wind energy.
  • The argument that it will bring jobs to our state is a fallacy: Studies have shown an average of two jobs created per well, the majority of which go to out-of-state workers with experience in the field. Also, the extracted gas may end up being shipped overseas.

The good news is that we don’t need to frack Maryland. We can preserve our environment and protect our public health while working to become a national leader in renewable energy. At the state level, we can implement policies that prioritize renewable energy, instead of doing the bidding of the oil and gas industry by expanding fossil fuel extraction. But, to be successful, we need to come together. Please join me, along with organizations like Food and Water Watch and Environment Maryland, as we fight for a clean energy future.

If you support my efforts you can contribute financially here and sign a petition to ban fracking in Maryland here.

I look forward to hearing from you on fracking and other issues as the legislative session draws near.

Best,
Shane

On the Gambling Special Session

Dear Fellow Marylander,

I’m a member of the Maryland House of Delegates; your House of Delegates. I’m part of a citizen legislature that holds annual 90-day sessions to pass the state budget and strives to improve state policy. For the remaining nine months I work my regular job, help raise my family, and fulfill my duties as a Delegate on a part-time basis.

This year things are different. This year I’ve left my job and my family to work on an issue that failed during the 2012 regular session.  It is not an emergency; just another piece of policy that should be dealt with during the regular session.

The gaming industry–the reason we are back in session–is not about creating wealth; it is about transferring it from those who can least afford it to those that already have it. It is about promising wealth while delivering increased rates of divorce and substance abuse. And now that we have raised taxes for many Marylanders, we are in a special session to expand gaming and lower taxes on casinos. Unacceptable.

There are real emergencies in our state; issues that could be ameliorated through hard work in Annapolis:  People in my district and throughout Maryland, without power for over a week following the June storm, would likely agree that a special session to deal with endemic outages would be a more worthy use of our time and state funds. That was an emergency. This is most certainly not.

We need real economic development and infrastructure we can rely on.  These are serious issues worthy of our time and energy; issues one could see calling a special session for.  That we neglected to do so in favor of dealing with gambling is a disservice to those who sent us to Annapolis.

Sincerely,
Shane Robinson

USGS Report Points to Gas Reserves Across Maryland

Friend,

Fracking just became a much bigger danger to Maryland: A new United States Geological Survey Report indicates that there are gas reserves across Maryland; possibly even in Montgomery County. Not all of these reserves have been assessed by the USGS, but the reserve in southern Maryland that has been likely contains more than two-thirds the amount of gas that is located in the Marcellus region of western Maryland — a significant amount. Furthermore, gas can be extracted from these new reserves using the same hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, process that the gas industry is attempting to employ in western Maryland. What some would view as a western Maryland issue, has undeniably become a statewide issue.

As you may know, I have spent a great deal of time and energy working on the issue of whether fracking should be allowed in Maryland. My position has been clear: the burden is on the gas companies to prove it can be done safely, and since they have failed to do so it should be banned. No amount of natural gas is worth endangering the air that we breath and the water that we drink.

People have said: “Why is a Montgomery County Delegate working on this issue when the shale is in western Maryland?” My response has been that air and water quality is not just a local issue — it impacts all of Maryland. This remains the case, but the recent USGS report shows that fracking could be coming to our backyard in the near future if we don’t act. And so we must ask ourselves: Do we want to risk our children drinking contaminated water and breathing toxic air?

Please stay tuned for further developments.

Best,
Shane

2012 Legislative Session: Environmental Issues Update

Dear Friend,

Now that we have had time to digest the results of the 2012 legislative session and the May special session I wish to update you on the state of several vital environmental issues in Maryland:

First, if you agree that the issues below are important, please help me in fighting against those who are resisting change with a donation through my fundraising website here.

Arsenic in Chicken Feed— This bill was one of the biggest reality checks for me upon joining the legislature. Personally, I feel this is a prime example of common sense legislation. I don’t want our children eating arsenic in their chicken. And I also don’t want arsenic from chicken entering agricultural fields and running into the Chesapeake Bay; it is as simple as that. Unfortunately, some felt arsenic in our chicken feed wasn’t a big deal and it took us until this year to pass the bill. But make no mistake: this was a success story and we will continue to look at ways to make the bill we passed even stronger. The bill’s sponsor–Delegate Tom Hucker–did a tremendous job shepherding this through the legislature.

Fracking— While some continue to feel that the best way forward for Maryland on this matter is to enact regulations and taxes so that, if this natural gas extraction process is implemented in our state, we will have a regulatory framework in place to deal with it. I disagree, because I feel strongly that the natural gas industry has failed to prove that this practice can be executed safely. Indeed, we have seen it contaminate water and cause earthquakes in other states. My view is that implementing regulations moves us closer to fracking in Maryland. I look forward to participating in the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission meetings on this issue and voicing my concerns.

Offshore Wind Energy— While this bill passed the House it failed to make it to the Senate floor. As our economy continues to recover, creating jobs that are built to last is key. Renewable energy is the future, and the sooner Maryland realizes this the better our state will be for our children. It is vital that we position Maryland to lead on this issue rather than forcing ourselves to play catch up with other states. This is as much an economic issue as it is an environmental imperative. As long as I am a delegate I will continue to vote for legislation that promotes alternative energy sources.

Chesapeake Bay Pollution–Several bills addressing this matter passed this last session, some stronger than others. Going forward, this will continue to be an issue I will focus on. I continue to hear from critics of Maryland’s actions on this issue that the actions of our neighbors–Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia–have been insufficient in this regard, and, as such, we shouldn’t be fighting this fight anymore. I feel this is backwards logic. We have a duty to protect one of our most vital resources, and we can only control our own actions. We can’t sit and wait for others to act; we must lead.

As a member of the Environmental Matters Committee, and a staunch environmentalist, I care deeply about how these issues progress in the next few years, and will do everything in my power to see that Maryland positions itself to lead on investing in renewable energy, protecting the Chesapeake Bay, holding businesses accountable for pollution, and other matters of concern to the environmental community.

If you agree with me that a major element of ensuring that the Maryland we leave for our children is positioned to succeed is by protecting our resources, please help by donating to my campaign here. Also, you can visit my website here.

Thank you,
Shane

P.S. — Here is some information from the 2012 Annapolis Report detailing legislation affecting Chesapeake Bay pollution:

Sustainable Growth & Agricultural Preservation – Instead of an outright ban on septic systems, the legislature created four planning tiers for counties to adopt for use in approving major residential subdivisions served by onsite sewage systems and community or shared systems. Development projects in the pipeline are grandfathered in and there are protections for family farmers to ensure they can continue to farm their land.

Bay Restoration Fee/Flush Tax – In line with the federal requirements for the states in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, legislation increased the statewide residential wastewater and sewerage fees (flush tax) from $2.50 to $5 per month to complete installation of enhanced nitrogen removal technology at Maryland’s 67 major publically owned wastewater treatment plants, fund cover crop programs, and replace failing septic systems across the State. The fees will revert to current levels in 2030. Exceptions were made for wastewater facilities, onsite sewage disposal systems, and sewage holding tanks that do not discharge into or are not located within the Watershed.

Stormwater Management – To comply with the federal mandate to reduce the impact of stormwater runoff on the waters of the State at the local level, new law requires the State’s largest counties to charge a stormwater fee. Local governments may also install low impact stormwater systems. Governmental properties and organized volunteer fire departments are exempt from the fee.