Submitted by Lynn Pinder and Kimberly Armstrong, Founding Members
Baltimore Green Justice Workers Cooperative

Dear Editor:

Baltimore’s Mayor Brandon Scott is signing off the City’s underground conduit system to Baltimore Gas Electric (BGE). The conduit system is an intricate network of electrical, cable/WIFI, and phone wires. I and some other activists believe this is a bad idea for various reasons. One reason is that Baltimore voters in our last election in 2022 voted against the City selling/leasing or turning over the conduit system to private entities. Yet, Mayor Scott and his Administration are ignoring the majority vote in a democratic process and are trumping ahead to allow BGE to manage the City’s conduit system. This is a conflict of interest as it gives BGE unfair access over other contractors, and it places BGE in a position to serve the public interest of residents. BGE is a private company whose primary focus is on protecting profit earnings not the public interest of residents.

Another reason turning over control of Baltimore’s conduit system is a bad idea is that Baltimore City is eligible for millions of dollars of funding through the administrations of President Biden and Governor Moore to build the resilience of the City to upgrade its conduit system without creating an unbalanced contract with BGE that puts business interest above the interest of Baltimore residents.

There is no equity or energy democracy in Mayor Scott’s decision to turn over the City’s conduit system to Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE). As usual, disadvantaged and under-served communities who are historically left out of decision-making processes and are least to reap community benefits are not being listened to and their best interest do not seem to be a priority. That’s an environmental injustice.

This decision by Mayor Scott is set to be approved by the Baltimore City Board of Estimates on 2/15/21. I encourage others to send letters and make calls to the Baltimore Board of Estimates to ask them to reject the Mayor’s request to allow BGE take control/manage the City’s conduit system. Also, please request that Mayor Scott creates a Task Force of stakeholders from all sectors to work with the Scott, Biden and Moore Administrations to help Baltimore City tap into federal and state funds that could build the capacity of Scott’s Administration to manage and control its own conduit system. That would be a great example of environmental justice for Baltimore City!

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