Members of Maryland’s congressional delegation gathered virtually Tuesday for their first official meeting with the newly appointed regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region III, Adam Ortiz. U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Jamie Raskin and David Trone (all D-Md.) met with Ortiz to discuss Chesapeake Bay Program oversight, implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, environmental justice and other regional environmental issues. Highlights included strategies to build climate resilience and Bay-friendly agricultural supply chains, and protect vulnerable populations and drinking water sources.
“Having a Marylander at the helm of EPA Region III is a game changer for the region and the future of the Chesapeake Bay,” the lawmakers said after the meeting. “Administrator Ortiz brings to his new position a base of knowledge that allows us to get straight to the issues and will help the watershed states go further towards meeting their obligations and 2025 cleanup targets. He also has firsthand experience of how climate change has affected Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic, creating opportunities to achieve greater resilience, deliver on environmental justice and implement additional restoration measures across sectors.
“We appreciated the opportunity to offer Administrator Ortiz our support in his new role and discuss our shared goal of protecting and restoring the Bay. From Chesapeake Bay Program oversight to implementing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to tackling the climate crisis and improving climate resiliency, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. We look forward to partnering with him and the pending Chesapeake Bay Czar to maximize federal support for the environmental health of the region.”
“It was a pleasure meeting with members of the Maryland Congressional delegation,” said Administrator Ortiz. “I appreciate their leadership and support for our work as EPA’s Mid-Atlantic region fully steps up in our role to make sure states meet their commitments for a clean Chesapeake Bay.”
A former mayor of Edmonston, Md., Ortiz previously served as the Director of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, the Director of the Department of Environment for Prince George’s County and he held positions in the administration of Gov. Martin O’Malley.
EPA’s Region III Office, headquartered in Philadelphia, serves Maryland, as well as Delaware, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and seven federally recognized tribes.