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Meet Ron Henry, Our New Chapter Chair
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by Ron Henry | 2008

I am looking forward to meeting and working with as many of you as I can during my tenure. We live in a wonderful but rapidly changing state here in our beautiful Maryland, and we have a myriad of environmental issues to address on a continual basis.

Well, I’ve been trying to settle into my role as Chapter Chair, but I am beginning to think that achieving anything that appears to be “settling in” may be like the proverbial desert traveler trying to determine if what he is seeing is an “oasis” or a “mirage!” Seriously, I am looking forward to meeting and working with as many of you as I can during my tenure. We live in a wonderful but rapidly changing state here in our beautiful Maryland, and we have a myriad of environmental issues to address on a continual basis. We will be successful with these efforts because, right-up-front, I am asking each of you as Maryland Chapter Sierrans to be proactive with us, doing what you can to ensure that success.

The Maryland 2008 General Assembly legislative session is underway and we will be keeping you informed and calling upon you to actively support key environmental bills during the session. The first focus will be on passing the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) of 2008 (SB 309/HB 712). In a recent press conference, Governor O’Malley highlighted his support of this legislation and Maryland’s role in “setting the bar” high and leading the way in combating global warming effects.

Our role is to enhance that support by being proactive at the grass roots level, by contacting all our state delegates and senators, and by urging them to sponsor and pass this bill. We did a lot of groundwork to garner support for GWSA passage in the 2007 session and during the summer and fall with our Climate Action Campaign. With a different governor and public opinion in our favor, let’s do our part and get this important bill passed and signed into law.

  Another key legislative effort will focus on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The Critical Areas Protection Program legislation (SB 844/HB 1253) will require updated, environmentally meaningful, and enforceable setbacks of any development, to protect the natural buffers that absorb polluted runoff before it reaches the tidal waters of Maryland’s rivers and streams, and the coasts of the Chesapeake Bay.

  Energy efficiency for Maryland is being addressed by SB 205/ HB 374, and focuses on reducing statewide per-capita electricity consumption; SB 268/HB 368 creates an energy investment fund.

  A key effort of MD Chapter Sierra Club during this legislative session is STOPPING THE ICC! This is a top priority for us since the ICC is a harbinger of other planned major highway development and expansion plans that are also environmentally unsound. This effort dovetails with the sorely needed emphasis on alternative transportation such as rail and bus. The passť cycle of continually expanding highways only leads to more pollution and unwise land use, and must be reversed.

This is “The Important Legislative Year” to obtain the environmental gains needed to offset and reverse the negative environmental impacts of the past. I solicit your help to achieve this objective!

 In addition to 2008 being extremely important for the Maryland legislative session, we also need to be proactive with the national presidential and congressional political campaigns.  I cannot over-emphasize the importance of actively participating in these campaigns; it is our opportunity to help elect environmental champions.

Closer to home, our chapter is on a talent hunt. We are looking for chairs and members for our fundraising, legislative, membership and communications committees. I am also looking for people to be chapter webmasters. Please call me or the chapter office to volunteer for these very important tasks.

My vision for this chapter is that we commit ourselves to achieve those things we need environmentally that will provide our descendants, seven generations from now, with a place to live that is better than what we have now. We can do no less. For as the adage goes–“ We did not inherit this earth. We borrowed it from our children.” We are obligated to give them their birthright.

 If we respect each other and those we work with, use our resources wisely, and remain focused on what must be done, we can achieve this for the seventh generation!

Until next time! 

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