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Maryland Environmental Health Network (MdEHN) 2014 Milestones & Highlights

Posted By Rebecca Ruggles, Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, December 31, 2014
December 31, 2014
By Rebecca Ruggles, Director, Maryland Environmental Health Network
We've had a busy and successful year in 2014 and are pleased to share MdEHN's 2014 Milestones & Highlights:

Published Energy & Health in Maryland: A Briefing for Health Advocates.

• This report makes that case that just as gun violence and food systems entered the domain of public health, so now must energy policy. Much air pollution is generated by dirty energy sources and the health consequences of air pollution are significant. On the up side, when a dirty power plant closes or vehicle fuel standards improve, some health effects are reduced immediately. The report is being used to support health advocates in speaking out for clean renewable energy

Held September 2014 Symposium on Public Health & the Marcellus Shale in Maryland.

• MdEHN convened 40 public health and environmental health experts to review the Maryland public health study of the Marcellus Shale and make recommendations to Maryland policy-makers. Their consensus: Maryland should not proceed with "fracking” at this time. Three months later, Governor Cuomo reached a similar conclusion and banned fracking in New York State. Working from the same science, Governor O’Malley approved drilling regulations and Governor-elect Hogan stated his intent to issue permits. A moratorium bill will be introduced in the 2015 legislative session. The work of the September Symposium will be a valuable resource in the debates of 2015.

Established accountability for reducing children’s toxic exposures under the new Maryland Green Cleaning in Schools Mandate.

• 2012 law mandates that all Maryland school districts establish green cleaning policies and practices to reduce student exposure to toxic cleaning chemicals. In Spring 2014, MdEHN requested that MSDE establish accountability for implementation of the law, triggering a request for all districts to submit their policies. MdEHN recruited a team of University of MD public health grad students to evaluate 16 of 24 school district policies. We look forward to working with MSDE and Maryland school districts in 2015 to help all districts comply and share their best practices.
Introduced environmental health advocacy issues to hospital green team leaders, public health professionals and leaders in Maryland nonprofit agencies.

• MdEHN enjoyed working with our partners at the Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment, the Maryland Public Health Associations, and Maryland Nonprofits to introduce environmental health issues to health advocates from many professional walks of life. We co-sponsored a series of conversations about health equity in Maryland, and helped shape the annual meetings and forums of our partners to include environmental health and advocacy issues.

Served on state and national Boards and councils.

• MdEHN Director Rebecca Ruggles was named to the Board of the Environmental Integrity Project.
• Rebecca Ruggles served on MDE's Cumulative Impacts Working Group
• Rebecca Rehr, MdEHN Public Health Advocacy Coordinator, was named a Commissioner on the Maryland Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities Commission.
• Allison Rich, MdEHN Children's EH Specialist, joined the education committee of the national group Children's Environmental Health Network

All of us at the Maryland Environmental Health Network wish you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

The Maryland Environmental Health Network convenes diverse stakeholders in the fields of health and environmental advocacy, research, and community activism, to support cross-sector education, dialogue and action that results in better protection of both human health and the environment. MdEHN is a project housed at the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers (ABAG).

Tags:  Maryland Environmental Health Network  mdehn 

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