Environment

Environment

Issues > Environment

I am a firm believer in the sentiment expressed in a quote attributed to Chief Seattle, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

Protecting the environment is among the greatest responsibilities that we, the human race, hold. It has become clear that climate change is real and presents an epochal threat. Regardless of whether or not human activity is responsible for it (I think that it is), we have an obligation to do what we can to stem its effects and reverse them if we can.

FRACKING

One of the questions before the General Assembly currently is whether we will take the opportunity to extract fossil fuels from the mountains of Western Maryland through the technique called hydraulic fracturing, or, “fracking.” To this point, Maryland has instituted a moratorium on fracking, a temporary measure that stops short of banning the practice outright.

We should take the next step and ban hydraulic fracturing in Maryland. One of the best bets for fighting climate change is to wind down our dependency on burning fossil fuels for energy. Given this imperative, it strikes me as unwise to continue to invest in developing fossil fuel infrastructure. Furthermore, there is significant evidence that the chemicals used in the fracking process can contaminate drinking water aquifers and ruin the safety of water for entire communities. For me, these two considerations combined outweigh the short-term benefit of jobs in oil and gas extraction in Western Maryland.

THE CHESAPEAKE BAY

The Chesapeake Bay is our greatest natural heritage as Marylanders, and we have let it come to an embarrassing state of environmental ruin. The biggest threat to the Bay’s degradation is nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, which chiefly come in the form of stormwater runoff.

I will support a number of different efforts to restore the Chesapeake, but especially those which address this source of pollution, including:

  • Providing financial and technical support to farmers who will implement a number of conservation measures aimed at reducing nitrogen and phosphorus runoff
  • Upgrading stormwater systems and water treatment facilities
  • Restoring natural filters such as wetlands, forests and oyster beds

One of the most heartbreaking things to see in the Chesapeake’s decline has been the slow death of the waterman’s way of life. A healthy Chesapeake with thriving oyster, blue crab and rockfish populations will lead to a renaissance in the economy of the Eastern Shore and other bayside communities, armed this time with the understanding and knowledge of the overfishing/overharvesting problems that combined with the pollution to reach our current state.

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