The Chesapeake Bay is America’s largest estuary and a natural resource of global significance.
The United States Congress has called it “a national treasure.”
But today the Chesapeake Bay faces perhaps a serious challenge.
Global warming presents a present and growing threat to public safety, to key Bay species such as blue crabs and rockfish, and to the fragile lands that surround the Chesapeake.
According to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Maryland is the third most vulnerable state to flooding.
Allstate insurance has announced that it will not longer underwrite new home-owners policies in much of Maryland because of rising sea levels and the increasing rate of severe storms, which scientists associate with global warming.
In a report being released today, the National Fish and Wildlife Federation warns that we are likely to lose all of the winter flounder and soft-shelled clams in the Bay because water temperatures will simply be too hot for them to survive.
About one-third of Blackwater Wildlife Refuge has been lost in the past 70 years and Smith Island has lost 30% of its land to rising sea levels since 1850.
It is no exaggeration to say that global warming presents a very grave long-term threat to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.
We salute the strong actions already being undertaken by our states of Maryland and Virginia.
But the time for national leadership on global warming is now.
I look forward to hearing from our distinguished witnesses today and to this Committee taking forceful action on climate change in the near future.
As the experience of the Chesapeake Bay makes clear, we can’t afford to wait any longer.