In Maryland and across the country, I am working to make sure that our bedrock environmental laws are protected and emerging threats to clean, safe water and healthy air are addressed. The focal point of my work on environmental issues is restoring and protecting Maryland’s greatest natural resource, the Chesapeake Bay. I introduced the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act (S. 1816) that provided a comprehensive approach to accelerate Bay restoration efforts, attracting support from states, counties, municipalities, sportsmen, businesses, trade associations and hundreds of national and local environmental groups.
As a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, I serve as chairman of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee. From this leadership position, I am working to reinvigorate our Clean Water statutes. I have authored laws to tackle polluted stormwater runoff (PL111-378), and I am working with a bipartisan group of senators to make drinking water and wastewater facility improvements more affordable. We are working to protect endangered species, and taking steps to protect essential wildlife habitat like wetlands.
- I enjoy Maryland’s rich store of natural, historic and cultural resources. What is being done to protect and preserve these important parts of our heritage?
- Through my efforts we were able to expand the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and secured major renovations to the Patuxent National Research Refuge. I have also sponsored bills to eradicate wetlands-destroying nutria (S. 1519), protect migratory songbirds (S. 538) and other species that serve important ecological as well as economic functions. I have worked to protect our heritage by establishing a unit of the National Park Service in honor of Harriet Tubman (S. 247), protect historic President’s Street Station in Baltimore (S.377), and revive the community advisory panel for the C&O Canal (S. 324).
- Some people and businesses waste an enormous amount of water every day. What can be done to conserve water?
- Wasted water is a real burden on many municipalities. They need to purify water and send it through miles of pipes for our use as well as treat every drop that goes down the drain at a wastewater facility. Preparing and disposing of water is energy-intensive and expensive. That’s why I am promoting a water savings program at EPA called WaterSense, modeled after the EnergyStar program. These voluntary programs save money and precious resources.