ANNAPOLIS - Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. called on the Maryland General Assembly to protect over $15 million in investments in Maryland's environmental initiatives. The General Assembly is considering substantial cuts to environmental programs funded in the Governor's proposed Fiscal Year 2007 budget including Chesapeake Bay restoration, agricultural cover crops, urban tree canopy and solar energy programs.
"The cuts being considered by our lawmakers will weaken the State's ability to protect our natural resources and improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay," said Governor Ehrlich. "While I am very proud of our accomplishments to date, these programs are critical to accelerating our efforts to restore the Bay, protect our open space and farmland, and reduce our energy consumption. I urge our lawmakers to give the citizens of Maryland what they deserve: cleaner water, protected landscapes and better energy efficiency."
Among the budget reductions the General Assembly is currently considering:
* PROPOSED CUT - Tributary Strategies and Related Programs: $2.9 million in funding for cover crops, bay grasses, urban tree canopy, wetland creation, stormwater management and soil conservation
* PROPOSED CUT - Corsica River and Targeted Watershed Restoration Programs: $2.415 million to fund comprehensive efforts to restore entire river systems.
* PROPOSED CUT - Rural Legacy: $5 million for Rural Legacy bonds.
* PROPOSED CUT - Solar Energy Program: $2.325 million for grant programs to fund solar and alternative energy use.
* PROPOSED CUT - Waste Management and Hazardous Substance Clean-Up: $1.5 million to clean up scrap tire stockpiles and other hazardous substances.
* PROPOSED CUT - Parks and Recreation: $1.125 million for State Park staffing and maintenance.
Each item was included in Governor Ehrlich's Fiscal Year 2007 budget. Governor Ehrlich announced significant new environmental funding to more effectively protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland's environment, including full funding of $258 million for Program Open Space and $29 for Rural Legacy, new funding for energy efficiency, and investments to help restore targeted watersheds of the Chesapeake Bay.
Citizens are encouraged to contact their local legislators and support the Governor's entire environmental budget proposal at 1-800-492-7122.
Quotes from non-governmental environmental and conservation partners: