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Governor Martin O’Malley Chairs 25th Annual Chesapeake Executive Council Meeting
Joins Virginia Governor Tim Kaine in Announcing Presidential Ask
Washington, D.C. — Governor Martin O’Malley today hosted the 2008 annual meeting of the Chesapeake Executive Council (EC) at Union Station in Washington, D.C., marking the 25th anniversary of the regional partnership. The meeting resulted in several significant actions, including regional agreements to advance the production and use of biofuels and accelerate the pace of nutrient reductions.
“We are proud of the progress we have made through this partnership,” said Governor O’Malley, “Given the rate of decline of our Bay’s health, however, as well as the vulnerable status of iconic species like the blue crab and native oyster, we must continue to escalate our efforts to reduce nutrients as quickly as possible.”
Last year, the Council confirmed that the region would not meet the 2010 nutrient reduction goals set by the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement. This year the Council adopted a new strategy for establishing a deadline that involves moving the annual meeting to the spring, beginning in 2009, when the most current scientific information about pollution levels becomes available. To focus attention on needed progress and allow for better tracking, more adaptability and accountability, the Council further agreed to establish specific milestones for restoration in two-year intervals next spring.
Joining Governor O’Malley for today’s work session were incoming Council Chair, Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine, Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, Chesapeake Bay Commission Chair and Pennsylvania House of Representatives Member Arthur Hershey, and representatives from Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“With the recent election of a new President and the 111th Congress comes the opportunity to seek a renewed federal commitment to protecting the nation’s largest estuary,” said Governor Kaine. “On behalf of the Bay States, Washington, DC and the Chesapeake Bay Commission, we will seek the support of President-elect Obama and our congressional leaders for changes to policy, legislation and funding that will accelerate restoration efforts.”
“We are grateful to Governor Kaine for his leadership on this issue, and I look forward to working with him and the Obama administration to identify new funding opportunities that will benefit not only the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed, but also water quality and natural resource improvement nationally,” added Governor O’Malley.
At last year’s EC meeting, Council members embraced “champion roles” as a way to speed up restoration efforts; Maryland’s champion commitments include Accountability, Blue Crab restoration, Local Government Engagement and Innovative Technology.
- To increase accountability and effectiveness, Maryland led the effort this year to reorganize and streamline the Bay Program. At today’s meeting the partners agreed to establish an independent evaluator – a team of world renowned scientists -- to monitor performance, provide advice and hold the partners accountable.
- Governor O’Malley announced a new agreement between the Maryland Departments of Environment, Natural Resources and Transportation to apply the BayStat approach to employ a better model for using mitigation funds to accelerate Bay restoration and improve cost effectiveness.
- Through strong action and a historic collaboration with Virginia and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission, Maryland took significant steps this year toward rebuilding a sustainable blue crab fishery. This included directing $3 million in State funding to mitigate the impact on watermen, and in partnership with Maryland’s Congressional delegation securing a federal fisheries disaster declaration which will result in up to $10 million in federal funds to support watermen to conduct environmental restoration work.
- Maryland efforts to improve service delivery and results, and engage local governments, citizens and businesses this year included creation of the 2010 Chesapeake and Coastal Bays Trust Fund development of the Watershed Assistance Collaborative, and the launch of the Maryland Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership.
- Governor O’Malley also announced Maryland’s first two investments in new technologies to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution: A $100,000 grant to Zymetis, Inc., whose enabling enzyme technologies can be used to create biofuel ethanol from cellulosic biomass; and a $50,000 grant to Traffax Inc., for work on advanced solutions to traffic congestion.
The Executive Council states, the District of Columbia and the Chesapeake Bay Commission signed a Biofuels Executive Council Directive to make the region a national leader in advancing the expanded production and use of biofuels in a more sustainable way. This directive, led by Pennsylvania and the Chesapeake Bay Commission, is another result of last year’s champion commitments.
The partnership also agreed to support the introduction of National Geographic’s FieldScope, a state-of-the-art web-based GIS tool designed to help students and citizens investigate water quality issues on local and regional scale.
Since taking office in January 2007, the O’Malley-Brown Administration has made steady progress to restore the health of the Bay including the creation of BayStat, an innovative tracking and targeting tool; creation of the Chesapeake Bay 2010 Trust Fund; passage landmark Clean Cars legislation; stringent power plant emission controls regulations; passage of new stormwater legislation; full funding of Program Open Space; update of the State’s Critical Areas Laws; creation of the Maryland Climate Change Commission; restoration of the Office of Smart Growth; and a leadership role in the creation of the first auction of greenhouse gas emission credits in America.
Governor O’Malley recently launched Smart, Green & Growing, a new initiative to inspire action among all Marylanders to create a cleaner, greener, more sustainable future for our State. Maryland’s incarcerated individuals are contributing to this effort as well by, working on Bay restoration projects and learning new skills.
“Our most important days are rarely the easiest ones. Progress often comes in the form of two steps forward and one step back. But it is progress nonetheless,” said Governor O’Malley. “Coming together in partnership, we can find man-made solutions to the man-made problems of our Bay.”
The Chesapeake Bay watershed is home to more than 16 million people living in parts of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Since 1983, the Chesapeake Bay Program has coordinated the restoration of the Bay and its watershed. The Executive Council, which establishes the policy direction for the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay and its living resources, includes the Governors of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Mayor of the District of Columbia and the Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission. For more information about the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council visit www.chesapeakebay.net. .
November 20, 2008
Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov.