Governor Signs Legislation To Protect Maryland's Environment; Chesapeake Bay - Southern Maryland Headline News

Governor Signs Legislation To Protect Maryland's Environment; Chesapeake Bay

Bills for Clean Cars, Oyster Restoration Become Law; O'Malley Builds on Earlier Environmental Initiatives

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (April 24, 2007) - Today, Governor Martin O'Malley joined with Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., House Speaker Michael E. Busch, and Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown to sign legislation to protect and preserve Maryland's environment for the next generation. Governor O'Malley signed 173 bills into law today, including key environmental legislation to reduce automobile emissions and oyster restoration in the Chesapeake Bay.

"Very early on in the campaign last summer, we came together to announce an Environmental Bill of Rights for the people of our state - understanding that we must do all that we can to preserve our natural resources," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "I am proud that working together this session we were able to pass legislation to make Maryland a national leader in protecting the environment. With today's bills, we are reducing greenhouse gases, protecting critical species, and helping to restore the Chesapeake Bay for future generations."

"This year, the General Assembly passed key legislation to support the environment and expand the beauty of our natural resources," said Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. "Over the next four years, we look forward to putting these bills into action, and building on these successful measures to protect Maryland's air, land, and water."

Governor O'Malley signed a number of environmental initiatives into law today:

* Maryland Clean Cars Act: Implements stronger emissions regulations for cars sold and registered in Maryland, and creates a Clean Car and Energy Policy Task Force.

* Natural Resources - Chesapeake Bay - Oyster Restoration: Establishes an Oyster Advisory Commission in the Department of Natural Resources and allows for the leasing of parcels of underwater land to restore vulnerable oyster populations.

* Maryland Green Building Council: Establishes the Maryland Green Building Council, which will advise the Governor and General Assembly on how they can best use green building technologies in future state construction projects.

* Natural Resources - Diamondback Terrapin - Take and Possession: Prohibits the commercial harvest of diamondback terrapins, and limits the recreational harvest to 3 per person.

* Stormwater Management Act of 2007: Requires the Department of the Environment to adopt new regulations and a model ordinance to manage stormwater runoff.

In addition, Governor O'Malley signed the Yellow Perch Conservation and Sustainability Act (SB702) to require the Department of Natural Resources to adopt specified regulations relating to yellow perch, and legislation that requires phosphorus to be removed from dishwashing machine detergent by January 1, 2010 (SB766/HB1131). The Governor also signed the Fishery Management Reform Act (SB1012) to strengthen the State Fisheries Management and Protection Fund and establish a task force on fishery management.

Last week, Governor O'Malley brought Maryland into line with ten neighboring states by joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The Governor also signed an Executive Order that establishes a Climate Change Commission charged with developing an action plan to address climate change in Maryland and rising sea levels in the Chesapeake Bay. Earlier this year, Governor O'Malley signed an Executive Order to establish BayStat, a results-based management program to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

Source: Governor O'Malley's Office

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