Maryland, USA

Local Civil Society Organizations working on Environmental Justice issues in Maryland.

1. 1000 Friends of Maryland

1FoM focuses on mitigating the harm posed to rural communities by rural development. They seem to be a top-down organization. Their key strategies involve increasing accountability in state and local planning, influencing where development occurs, and protecting rural land. They recently celebrated the finalizing of a new “citizen-supported plan” for Charles County that will “prevent pollution” and protect local economic systems.



2. Blue Water Baltimore

A member of the nationwide coalition of waterkeepers, Blue Water Baltimore focuses on protecting the city’s harbor and the waterways. They work with local coalition partners to study the disproportionate impact that water, soil, and air pollution has on disadvantaged communities and develop policy solutions to decrease their risks. BWB is currently advocating for cumulative impacts legislation which would mandate an assessment of new projects, with regards to the overall health affect posed for “at risk” communities. Their advocacy work targets the Maryland General Assembly. They provide information on the health impacts of hazardous wastes, sewage, stormwater, and poor trash management on their website, and facilitate numerous community service projects.


3. Calvert Citizens for a Healthy Community

CCHC is focused on mitigating the health and safety impacts from operations at the Dominion Cove Point LNG methane gas liquefaction and export facility, on the residents of Calvert County. They publicize public participation opportunities regarding permitting, provide a fairly extensive resource library, and provide immediate action steps for concerned citizens.


4. Clean Water Action

The EJ portfolio of CWA is currently centered around advocating Maryland CEJSC to develop the implementation mechanisms necessary to realize its mandate. As part of this goal, they are advocating for cumulative impacts legislation, in line with the efforts of BWB described above. CWA also works on educating and organizing Baltimore residents on the EJ impacts of local fossil fuel and industry pollution. They recently organized a community rally in South Baltimore in parallel with Baltimore’s Housing Roundtable, to bring attention to the need for “greening” vacant/derelict properties and “permanently affordable housing.” They provide volunteer opportunities and area topic newsletters through their website.



5. Chesapeake Climate Action Network

CCAN works in MD, DC, and VA. They have focused on advocating against fossil fuel policy that allows for the continued pollution of MD communities. Their website provides information on the health risks from attributable water and air pollution, and of locally polluted sites. They are primarily geared toward community organizing for common goals.


6. Chesapeake Legal Alliance

CLA acts as a “clearinghouse” to identify and process legal matters regarding the protection of the Chesapeake estuarine system. Among their accomplishments is the creation of Blue Water Baltimore, along with (at least) four other not for profit Bay-related organizations. They have worked on several cases to deny permits for development projects that would have significantly impacted public health.


7. Chesapeake Sustainable Business Council

Although focused on labor issues, the CSBC is involved in a surprising number of environmental justice campaigns and coalitions. They were part of the ban fracking campaign and are currently prioritizing recycling legislation and corporate discharge accountability. They may not be the typical EJ org, but they have had success in building coalitions and advocating for EJ issues.

8. Don’t Frack Maryland

Umbrella organization for 140 state, local and national organizations working inside Maryland to push for a fracking ban. The ban passed in April 2017 and they have since redirected their energy toward opposing oil and gas pipeline construction. DFM publicizes opportunities for public commenting and participation on statewide policy and local resolutions. Their website serves as a source of information regarding the progress of relevant oil and gas legislation, as well as on the human health impacts of fracking.


9. Environmental Integrity Project

Works with disproportionately affected communities in Baltimore to monitor and dispense air quality information. They challenge permits which violate community EJ standards and assist communities in learning about their rights under the environmental law. In South Baltimore and Dundalk, they the ensure communities have adequate information regarding toxic substances and emissions. Their most recent accomplishment was the successful nullification of a permit for – what would have been – the country’s largest trash incinerator.


10. Maryland Environmental Health Network

MDEHN works to improve public health in the state by minimizing exposure to environmental threats and toxic chemicals, through effective legislation. They have an “Environmental Justice Legislative Team,” which is a coalition of EJ partners, that advocates at a state level. This year, the team is focused on food deserts and lead-tainted drinking water. MDEHN does also have a team working specifically on natural gas impacts. Recent success includes the passage of the “Reducing Environmental Degradation for the Underserved Through Community Engagement” (REDUCE) Act, which placed specific requirements on DOE permitting based on air pollutants. MEHN also produces research reports for legislators and communities on environmental justice topics.


11. Maryland United for Peace and Justice

MUPJ builds coalitions and engages local communities to advocate and educate for common goals. One of these goals includes promoting education and action toward a healthy environment. Their website allows community members to sign up for a tracking service, enabling them to track legislation relevant to them. They recently succeeded in influencing the passage of a GA resolution to keep toxic pesticides out of pollinator habitats.