Martin OMalley Offers an Environmental Bill of Rights
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by Jan Graham |
On a magnificent August day at Centennial Park in Ellicott City, the Sierra Club endorsed Martin OMalley for Governor and Anthony Brown for Lt. Governor.
In his acceptance speech, OMalley praised the club members for their work to protect the environment through legislation and grassroots efforts, and stated, Today Anthony and I are proud to officially join in partnership with the Sierra Club to create a better, stronger Maryland for our children. Its time for a governor who works for our environment and for our families instead of special interests.
The Sierra Club cited the OMalley /Brown Environmental Bill of Rights and BayStat program (see below) as innovative ideas and examples of leadership sorely needed to improve Marylands environment.
The Environmental Bill of Rights has five key principles:
1. The right to breathe clean air
Martin OMalley was the first mayor to join 12 states in a federal lawsuit to reduce dangerous mercury emissions.
2. The right to drink clean water
OMalley signed the Reservoir Watershed Protection Agreement, protecting drinking water for 1.8 million people in the Baltimore metropolitan area.
3. The right to have a cleaner, healthier Chesapeake Bay
OMalley supports smart growth and protection of tributaries to the Bay. He spoke out against the Blackwater Resort in Cambridge and spoke for the protection of Unicorn Lake in Queen Annes County. He has pledged to increase funding for cover crops and buffer zones.
4. The right of every child to a safe environment
OMalley has been a leader in lead poisoning prevention.
5. The right to enjoy parks, playgrounds and open space
OMalley has spoken out against selling our public lands, and will create new tax credits to protect Marylands vanishing farms.
As mayor of Baltimore, Martin OMalley instituted the successful CitiStat program. CitiStat uses intensive performance measurements of all municipal agencies and data sharing to bring about cost savings, revenue enhancements, and improvements in the quality of municipal services. Using techniques gleaned from CitiStat, OMalley will institute the BayStat program, an initiative to monitor and gauge the health of the Chesapeake Bay, its rivers, tributaries, and 36 major basins. BayStat would marshal the collective resources of the state to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay and expand Marylands Program Open Space.
In a recent letter to Governor Ehrlich regarding the Cambridge City Councils approval of the Blackwater Resort development project, OMalley requested that the state use its substantial open space dollars to help the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy to purchase the lower two thirds of the proposed site from the developers. Further, he wrote that our state should not force local jurisdictions to make the false choice between increased revenue and sacrificing our states natural treasures risking further damage to the health of the Bay.
OMalley believes that the state government must take an active role in helping communities to develop and plan for growth in a manner that protects open space, ensures the proper infrastructure, and protects the critical areas essential to the recovery of the Bay.
In his years as mayor of Baltimore, Martin OMalley has garnered national attention. In 2002, Esquire magazine named OMalley The Best Young Mayor In The Country, and in 2005, Time magazine named him one of Americas Top 5 Big City Mayors. In August 2005, Business Weeks online magazine named him as one of the five New Faces in the Democratic Party.
The New Faces may be a bit misleading; OMalley has had a long and successful political career.
In 1982 while still in college, he signed on with the Hart for President campaign, working on everything from phone banking to volunteer organizing. In 1986, Congresswoman Barbara Mikulski named him as her state field director. He later served as her legislative fellow. In 1988, he was hired as Assistant States Attorney for Baltimore City. In 1991, he won the City Council seat to represent the 3rd District. In 1999 he was elected mayor of the City of Baltimore and won re-election in 2004.
As Marylands next governor, Martin OMalley will usher in a new commitment to improving the quality of life, the health of the Bay, the protection of our farm land, and the conservation of our natural resources.
The OMalley/Brown team have the leadership ability to promote regional solutions to complex problems. They believe that it is vital to coalesce the regional interests of Maryland. What happens on our fragile Eastern Shore affects the entire state, as does the quest for a stronger economy in western Maryland. Only a strong, forward-looking state government can lead us to a cleaner, healthier Maryland, one in which we can develop in an environmentally friendly, balanced and sustainable manner.
The November election will be decisive in terms of the direction our state will take. Will we control sprawl, save our open space, fully fund our programs, hold the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Department of Natural Resources accountable, work with regional partners, and protect our quality of life? Its our decision!
Vote on November 7th. Vote for the environment. Vote for OMalley/Brown.
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