Brown wins backing of environmental group in Maryland’s race for governor


Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown . (Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post)

Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) picked up an endorsement of his gubernatorial bid Wednesday from the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, one of the two major environmental groups to weigh in on the contest.

The group praised Brown for including a “strong and robust environmental agenda” as part of his campaign and also credited the work he has done with Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) during the past eight years.

Karla Raettig, the league’s executive director, said Brown had “articulated a vision for environmental justice” focusing on problems that disproportionately affect disadvantaged communities, including higher rates of asthma and greater exposure to toxics.

The group also went out of its way to praise the other two major Democrats competing in the June 24 primary, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and state Del. Heather R. Mizeur (Montgomery).

Gansler has fashioned himself as “the environmental attorney general,” conducting a series of river audits and cracking down on polluters during his tenure. Mizeur, a fierce opponent of hydraulic fracturing, picked up the endorsement of the Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club earlier in the campaign.

Marcia Verploegen Lewis, a board member for the League of Conservation Voters, said that the group feels “Anthony Brown is best positioned to make meaningful progress on our core issues.”

During an event held in an urban rain garden in Baltimore, Brown pledged that he would work with the group to “protect our resources for the next generation of Marylanders.”

“Today is more than just an announcement,” Brown said. “It’s a commitment.”

After his remarks, Brown was peppered with questions from reporters about his decision to skip a televised debate Tuesday night in Baltimore that Gansler and Mizeur attended. He said repeatedly that he is looking forward to another debate scheduled for Monday night.

“I’m really looking forward to Monday’s debate ... so we can talk about issues like the environment,” Brown said.

The questions later shifted to problems that plagued the launch of Maryland’s online health insurance exchange, prompting Brown to quip as he left the event: “Don’t forget about the environmental aspects of today’s announcement.”

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.
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