News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Deputy Secretary Testifies Before Congress About Climate Change

Highlights Maryland’s success creating a response plan

Annapolis, Md. (October 26, 2009) — Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Deputy Secretary Eric Schwaab testified today before the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Deputy Secretary Schwaab outlined for the committee Maryland’s strategic plan for climate change developed in 2008.

“The O’Malley-Brown Administration has worked hard to prepare a plan we feel pushes Maryland government to lead by example,” said Deputy Secretary Schwaab. “Through our plan we can both reduce our vulnerability to a rising sea level and climate change, while growing green jobs and a green economy.”

Today’s hearing coincided with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on Climate Change Adaptation. The report released today by GAO found that the majority of federal, state and local officials have not yet taken steps to adapt to the impacts of global warming America can expect, even with deep cuts in carbon emissions, but it also prominently featured the work and planning Maryland has already put into place.

Maryland has 4,000 miles of coastline and a documented sea level rise of nearly twice the global average. In April 2007, Governor Martin O’Malley signed an Executive Order establishing the Maryland Climate Change Commission, which released the Maryland Climate Change Action Plan a year later. The plan tackles both the issues creating climate change and the strategy of how to adapt and respond to the consequences.

Reducing Maryland’s vulnerability to climate change is a key component of the plan. It provides 18 specific actions aimed at reducing the impact to existing infrastructure, health, safety and our economy.

“Maryland’s implementation of the adaptation strategy is well under way,” said Deputy Secretary Schwaab. “The living Shoreline Protection Act and amendments to the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays Critical Area Act both reduce Maryland’s vulnerability over time and protect natural resources from the impacts of sea level rise.“

The hearing focused on developing a federal strategic approach to domestic clime change. Deputy Secretary Schwaab suggested seven key points that federal, state and local partners could work together to implement including enhancing smart growth programs and policies at a national level, reauthorizing and strengthening the Coastal Zone Management Act and supporting creation of a permanent ocean trust fund.

   October 26, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 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