The Coalition would like to give a shout out to our senior Senator from Maryland – “Way to go Senator Cardin!” Most people are well aware of Senator Cardin’s leadership on environmental issues- fighting to increase funding and protections for Chesapeake Bay, and over the past year fighting to protect the funding and the gains we have made.
What many people do not know, however, are all of the significant things that Senator Cardin does for the Bay, and for the community of people who have spent their lives, or part of them, working to restore our national treasure. A few weeks after the election in 2016, Senator Cardin organized a gathering of a large group of environmental professionals in Annapolis to have an open discussion about what the results of that election would mean for the Bay. The one clear message from that meeting was that Senator Cardin would be there for all of us to fight for the Bay and for the bedrock laws and institutions that have been responsible for our environmental progress over the decades.
Senator Cardin has kept his word, and he has been there for our community. From continuing level funding for Bay restoration to his most recent action to ensure that the cooperative federal-state partnership that has led and coordinated the 35 year old Chesapeake Bay restoration program was not dismantled. Most people have been totally unaware that there was a very serious effort to move the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office complex from Annapolis to be behind the security gates at Ft. Meade. Other members of the Bay delegation, including Senator Chris Van Hollen, also helped with this effort.
The simple move itself seems benign, until you realize that over the decades, numerous Federal agencies have been moving offices and personnel to be near the Chesapeake Bay Program in order to coordinate and collaborate on programs, projects and actions. All of this occurs within the Chesapeake Bay Program that has regular meetings open to the public – from universities to environmental groups to industry and to the general public. Those open public meetings would have been a thing of the past, with the high level of security required to even step onto Ft. Meade.
Just this week EPA announced that the Chesapeake Bay Program would be staying together in Annapolis, and would remain an open and inclusive program for the public and all stakeholders. Most people did not even know there was a problem that was solved, so we would like to thank Senator Cardin for his leadership and effort on this critical matter. Thank you, Senator!
Peter Marx is the federal affairs contractor at the Choose Clean Water Coalition.