Vision

Our Environmental Values


Regardless of which community we call home, as Marylanders, we all want the same things for our families – including a safe neighborhood and a clean environment.

Over the last seven years, we have made significant progress toward our shared objectives of environmental protection and conservation. Despite the worst recession since the Great Depression, we have maintained our commitment to environmental priorities. Continuing our progress won’t be easy. We need leaders who will focus on accountability and expand the environmental coalition. We need leaders who understand that environmental preservation and job creation are not mutually exclusive. And we need leaders who believe that investments in a healthy and sustainable environment will make Maryland an even greater place to raise a family and do business.

In order to meet our goals, the Brown-Ulman Administration will:

• Pursue environmental justice for all Marylanders;
• Improve air quality and address the threat of climate change;
• Ensure the Chesapeake Bay and our water resources are clean; and
• Promote smart growth and conservation.

Together, we will cultivate the land, protect our environment, take care of our families and create jobs for the future.

Sincerly,

signature

Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown

To download a PDF version of this plan, click here.

Environmental Justice

Making Maryland better for more Marylanders means providing every family the security of a healthy neighborhood with clean air and clean water. Some of our most pressing environmental issues have a disproportionate effect on our most vulnerable citizens and communities.

Examples of environmental injustice include:

• The broken storm drains that consistently flood urban neighborhoods during heavy rain, making travel perilous or impossible for residents and creating standing pools of unsafe, stagnant water.
• The fishermen feeding their families fish from the Anacostia River with unhealthy amounts of PCBs and Mercury, caused by pollution and runoff. [1]
• The child living with asthma exacerbated by air pollution from a smoke stack in her neighborhood. In Maryland alone, asthma affects an estimated 126,200 children and 402,200 adults.[2] Eleven Maryland counties suffer from unhealthy smog levels, caused largely by vehicles and industrial smoke stacks, including our most densely populated and urban jurisdictions.[3]
• The families throughout Maryland that look out to a street tarnished by litter, surrounded by vacant buildings, and devoid of parks, trees or gardens.

We will address disparities wherever they are found – including our environment, because no family should have to choose between an affordable home and a healthy neighborhood.

Clean Air and Climate Change

Climate change is a global challenge with localized effects. “The Chesapeake Bay region is one of the most vulnerable areas in the nation to sea level rise induced by climate change.”[4] The effects of sea level rise and storm surges disproportionally affect communities in closest proximity to our waterways.

Additionally, the effects climate change will have on our environment will exacerbate existing public health issues. Poorer air quality and prolonged ozone exposure will increase respiratory illnesses, heat stroke, food-poisoning, and various infectious diseases.[5] We will continue to lead in this global effort because so much is at stake for our State.

To address our clean air challenges and climate change, since 2007, we:

• Passed the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013, which will help us to produce new clean energy here in Maryland.[6]
• Set high goals for EmPOWER Maryland for energy demand reduction.[7] As of 2012, we have reduced Maryland’s peak energy demand by 10.8% and energy consumption by 9.4%.[8]
• Participated in the Regional Green House Gas Initiative (RGGI), a ten-state-effort to reduce CO2 emissions from electricity generation plants 10% by 2019.[9]
• Committed to source 2% of Maryland’s energy from solar facilities within our state.[10] As of 2013, this effort has resulted in the creation of 2,000 jobs, and by 2018, we expect it to generate another 8,000.[11]

Our efforts to reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming have made Maryland a national leader. We must remain steadfast in this commitment.

To ensure clean air for all Marylanders and mitigate the impacts of climate change, the Brown-Ulman Administration will:

• Work together with all stakeholders to reduce Maryland’s greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020. This is the equivalent of 55 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.[12]
• Work with the General Assembly and stakeholders to move away from so-called “black liquor” in our Renewable Portfolio Standard, which is not synonymous with clean energy like solar, wind, and hydro-electricity. In partnership with all interested parties, we will meet this objective while protecting Maryland jobs.
• Expand our renewable mix with investments in Maryland-based solar and wind, which can both create new jobs and reduce air pollution that affects the health of everyday Marylanders.
• Protect Western Maryland’s families and our rural legacy as we pursue new energy opportunities. In 2013, we funded a $1.5 million study to fully examine all of the implications of natural gas hydraulic fracturing in order to determine whether it is right for Maryland.[13] While the energy potential of the Marcellus Shale represents an enticing economic opportunity, we will not accept a process that jeopardizes our families or environment.

Chesapeake Bay and Clean Water

The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure that has shaped Maryland’s history, culture and economy for centuries. The Bay is a tourist destination, a commercial gateway and a bountiful source of aquatic life that supports our commercial seafood industry and recreational fishing. There are 110,000 miles of creeks, rivers and streams flowing into the Chesapeake, which means that nearly every Marylander comes in contact with its waterways and we all have a stake in making sure our waters are healthy, safe, and clean.[14] Maryland must continue to lead, especially now that all six states (and the District of Columbia) have agreed to act and work towards improving the Bay watershed, measured by two-year milestones.[15]

To clean up our waterways, over the last seven years, we:

•  Launched BayStat, a collaborative, accountable, performance management system that utilizes data to take measurable actions and increases transparency to improve the health of the Bay.[16]  Through BayStat, we’ve brought together agency representatives, legislators, advocates and scientists to discuss shared goals based upon common data.

• Gave our ten most-impacted counties the local authority and autonomy to decide how to make the necessary infrastructure improvements to address stormwater runoff and meet our federal clean water permit obligations.[17]

• Reduced our reliance on septic systems, which release nitrogen that threatens the health of the Bay and our groundwater. Between 2008 and 2012, we invested $40 million to retrofit thousands of septic systems in Maryland[18] and passed legislation to limit the number of new developments reliant upon septic.[19]

• Worked with our partners in local government to upgrade our 25 largest wastewater treatment plants, which will ultimately reduce the amount of nitrogen entering our local waterways by 1.5 million pounds.[20]

• Planted a record number of cover crops that prevent harmful nutrients from entering the Bay and its tributaries. From 2009 to 2011, Maryland farmers planted 429,818 acres of these plants, diverting an estimated 2.58 million pounds of nitrogen and 86,000 pounds of phosphorous.[21]

• Set a goal of reaching the Healthier Bay Tipping Point by 2025 – the point at which restoration in our tributaries begins to jumpstart self-recovery for the Bay. [22]

• Adopted an Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan that has helped to double Maryland’s native oyster population since 2010 [23] and worked with Virginia and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission to protect Maryland’s Blue Crab population. [24]

In order to continue our progress, we will remain committed to these important efforts, learn from best practices and adopt innovative solutions.

To ensure access to clean, safe water for all Marylanders, the Brown-Ulman Administration will:

• Build upon the success of the BayStat platform to measure Maryland’s progress and encourage data and deadline-driven decision making, collaboration, accountability and transparency toward the achievement of our common goals.

• Continue to focus not only on the Bay itself but also its tributaries – from the Patuxent to the Wye Rivers – taking measurable actions to protect local water quality and to reduce the amount of nutrient pollution and sediment that they carry into the Bay.

• Not roll back our efforts to reduce stormwater pollution. Rather, we will work to improve our stormwater management program by encouraging best practices like Prince George’s County’s innovative public-private partnership model.[25]

• Work with all stakeholders to create a transparent and anonymous pesticide database to understand what we apply to the land around the Bay and its tributaries. We will also strengthen implementation of nutrient management plans, to control runoff throughout Maryland. Together, we can achieve a healthier Bay while protecting proprietary information and supporting farmers and other commercial users.

• Strengthen our environmental and agricultural agencies by giving them the resources they need to improve Maryland’s environment, including expanding the Maritime Law Enforcement Information Network (MLEIN) radar system to identify and apprehend oyster poachers. [26]

• Strive to close the loop on water use by recycling wastewater to reduce the volume of nitrogen

• Strive to close the loop on water use by recycling wastewater to reduce the volume of nitrogen and phosphorous pollution entering Maryland waterways. By implementing water reuse, we will consume less water, more efficiently cool facilities, save money and create construction jobs in the process.

• Work with local communities, non-profits, public education and other key stakeholders to:
o Replicate successful programs like Howard County’s Restoring the Environment and Developing Youth (READY), which partners with communities for environmental education and jobs training.[27]
o Enhance the value of State grants to non-profits by prioritizing funding for organizations that engage volunteers and achieve tangible environmental results, like the creation of living shorelines.[28]
o Ensure our children are learning the value of environmental conservation and experiencing how they can meaningfully contribute to a more sustainable future by building on the progress of the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature[29] and the Explore and Restore Your SchoolShed[30] initiatives.

Smart Growth and Conservation

The Maryland Department of Planning projects that, in 20 years, there will be almost 1 million new Marylanders and 400,000 new households.[31] In order to welcome these new families – we must create a framework that helps our State grow sustainably while continuing to create jobs and opportunities.

To promote smart growth and conservation over the last seven years, we:

• Endorsed PlanMaryland in 2011[32], which will help Maryland grow responsibly through collaboration between State and local officials. We are guided by the goal of creating thriving communities while protecting Maryland’s natural resources. Through all our efforts, we must also be mindful of the autonomy of local leaders to make decisions that are best for their communities.
• Invested in aging buildings through the Sustainable Communities Tax Credit (SCTC)[33], which help revitalize our historic towns and cities. These investments encourage sustainable growth by drawing residents and businesses back to locations with existing infrastructure. In 2013 alone, the SCTC injected $7 million to restore five historic buildings while creating 500 construction jobs.[34]
• Designated Transit-Oriented Developments (TODs)[35], which allow projects that enhance public transit to receive State assistance. In 2010, 14 projects in Maryland received this designation[36]. Today, nine major developments in the Baltimore-Washington corridor are underway.[37]
• Conserved more green space for our future through Program Open Space (POS). Since 2007, we have protected 44,158 acres of open space through this program.[38]

The Brown-Ulman Administration will build upon Maryland’s successes and seek innovative ways to meet our shared goals.

To achieve smart growth and conserve land for our future, the Brown-Ulman Administration will:

• Construct the Red Line[39]; Purple Line[40]; and Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT)[41]. These investments will build sustainable communities, reduce automobile congestion and pollution; as well as create new jobs.

• Encourage public composting programs, which reduce our dependence upon landfills. With curbside food scrap and compost pickup, we will preserve more green space and deliver valuable nutrients offered by organic decomposition back to our environment.

• Incentivize the creation of open space to accommodate urban gardens and new parks in the place of dangerous abandoned structures that have fallen into disrepair. This effort will create new jobs for Marylanders with limited skills and establish gateways to employment for citizens struggling with criminal records.

• Pursue smart growth policies consistent with the Principles of Environmental Justice established by the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, which recognize the “need for urban and rural ecological policies to clean up and rebuild our cities and rural areas in balance with nature, honoring the cultural integrity of all our communities, and providing fair access for all to the full range of resources.”[42]

• Work to expand access to healthy food throughout Maryland. “Food deserts” – where environmental sustainability, public health and social justice intersect – are areas in which residents experience difficulty finding fresh fruits, vegetables and protein, due to their distance from a supermarket, lack of independent transportation and low household income[43]. In Baltimore City alone, 1 in 5 people live in a food desert[44]. We will expand our efforts to bring healthy nutritional options to these residents in partnership with farmers markets, co-ops and retailers; and through new urban farms and community gardens.

Conclusion

Maryland is a wonderful place to live – but we can make it better for more Marylanders. As our state continues to grow, we must strengthen our commitment to environmental justice for our most vulnerable populations. Clean air, clean water and clean neighborhoods are non-negotiable and we will vigorously pursue these principles for all Marylanders.

The solutions to our environmental challenges require leadership, increased accountability, enhanced enforcement and greater community involvement, and the consensus to make continued improvements.

Whether you reside in Cumberland or Capitol Heights, Baltimore or Berlin, Rockville or Rock Hall, our environment is central to the quality of life that makes us proud to call Maryland home. Together, we will cultivate the land, protect our environment, take care of our families and create jobs for our future.

 

 

 

Citations
_____________

[1]  “Maryland Fish Consumption Guidelines,” Maryland Department of the Environment Website
[2] “Climate Change Health Threats in Maryland,” National Resources Defense Council Website, citing American Lung Association, “Estimated Prevalence and Incidence of Lung Disease,” 2010.
[3] “Climate Change Health Threats in Maryland,” National Resources Defense Council Website, citing Natural Resources Defense Council “Sneezing and Wheezing,” 2007.
[4] “Climate Change and the Chesapeake Bay,” The Conservation Fund Website
[5] “Climate change and human health: present and future risks,” Anthony J McMichael, Rosalie E Woodruff, Simon Hales, February 9, 2006.
[6] “Offshore Wind for Maryland,” Office of the Governor Website
[7] “Maryland’s Goals,” Maryland Energy Administration Website
[8] “Energy Efficiency,”  Maryland StateStat Website
[9]  “Maryland’s Goals,” Maryland Energy Administration Website
[10] Senate Bill 595 – “Electricity – Net Energy Metering – Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard – Solar Energy,” Maryland General Assembly, 2007
[11] “Solar Energy,” Maryland Energy Administration Website
[12] “Greenhouse Gasses,” Maryland StateStat Website
[13] “Protecting Our Environment,” Office of the Governor Website
[14] “Conserving Chesapeake Landscapes,” Chesapeake Bay Commission and Chesapeake Conservancy, December 2010, Page 3
[15] “Chesapeake Bay TMDL – How Does It Work? Ensuring Results,” Environmental Protection Agency Website
[16] Press Release, “Governor O’Malley Launches BayStat Website,” Maryland Office of the Governor, September 12, 2007
[17] House Bill 598, “Stormwater Management – Watershed Protection and Restoration Program,” Maryland General Assembly, 2012
[18] Press Release,  “Regulation Proposed to Reduce Pollution from Septic Systems,” Maryland Department of the Environment, April 27, 2012
[19] Senate Bill 236, “Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012,” Maryland General Assembly, 2012
[20] Press Release, “Governor Martin O’Malley Announces Maryland Meets Milestone Goals to Protect and Restore Chesapeake Bay,” Maryland Department of the Environment, July 9, 2012 
[21] Press Release, “Governor Martin O’Malley Announces Maryland Meets Milestone Goals to Protect and Restore Chesapeake Bay,” Maryland Department of the Environment, July 9, 2012 
[22] “Bay Restoration,” Maryland StateStat Website
[23] “Maryland’s Oyster Population Continues to Improve, Highest since 1985,” Maryland Department of Natural Resources Website, May 7, 2014
[24] “Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Population Remains Low,” Maryland Department of Natural Resources Website, May 1, 2014
[25] Press Release, “Prince George’s County Passes Stormwater Bill with Broad Support,” Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources, July 31, 2013
[26] “New NRP Enforcement Tool Reaps Early Rewards,” Maryland Department of Natural Resources Website, November 6, 2013
[27] “READY Program,” Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Website
[28] “Living Shorelines: For the Chesapeake Bay Watershed,” Chesapeake Bay Foundation, September 2007
[29] Executive Summary – “Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature,” Maryland Office of the Governor, April 2009
[30] “Explore and Restore Your SchoolShed,” Maryland Department of Natural Resources Website
[32] “What is it?,” PlanMaryland Website
[33] “PlanMaryland Plan,” PlanMaryland Website
[34] “Maryland Sustainable Communities Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program,” Maryland Department of Planning, Maryland Historical Trust Website
[35] Press Release, “Governor Martin O’Malley Announces Recipients of 2013 Sustainable Communities Tax Credit,” Maryland Department of Planning, January 15, 2013
[36] “Transit-Oriented Development,” Maryland Department of Transportation Website
[37] Press Release, “Governor O’Malley Designates 14 Maryland Transit Stations for Priority Development Focus,” Maryland Department of Transportation, June 18, 2010
[38] “Maryland Department of Transportation Office of Real Estate,” Maryland Department of Transportation Website
[39] “Recreation Areas in Calvert, Washington and Worcester Counties to See Enhancements,” Maryland Department of Natural Resources-AccessDNR, November 20, 2013
[40] “Baltimore Red Line,” Maryland Transportation Administration- Maryland Transit Administration Website
[41] “Purple Line,” Maryland Transportation Administration- Maryland Transit Administration Website
[42] “Welcome to the CCT,” Maryland Transportation Administration- Maryland Transit Administration Website
[43] “Principles of Environmental Justice,” Clark Atlanta University Website, citing “Principles of Environmental Justice,” People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, October 27, 1991.
[44] “Planning/ Baltimore Food Policy Initiative/ Food Deserts,”  Baltimore City Website
[45] “Planning/ Baltimore Food Policy Initiative/ Food Deserts,”  Baltimore City Website


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