The Citizens’ Campaign for the Environment (CCE) hosted their 16th Annual Environmental Legislative Summit on January 26 in Annapolis. CCE is an umbrella organization for a number of environmental groups including 1000 Friends of Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Sierra Club, and various waterkeeper organizations. CCE used the Summit to hear from several legislator speakers and lay out its 2010 legislative agenda.
Keynote speakers included Congressman Elijah Cummings, Senate President Mike Miller, Speaker of the House Mike Busch, and House Environmental Matters Committee Chair Maggie McIntosh. Congressman Cummings discussed his federal legislation, HR 3852, that would mandate more federal oversight over Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts. He stated, “Our Bay simply cannot wait, regardless of the budget.”
President Miller stressed the environmental efforts of Governor Martin O’Malley. Speaker Busch urged the audience to be active and fight for their priorities. Chairman McIntosh discussed her legislation that will create the Chesapeake Conservation Corps, the Governor’s Sustainable Communities Initiative, recycling legislation, and stormwater management issues. Citing the continuing controversy over the new stormwater management regulations, she cautioned, “If there is anything in the regulations that harm or hurt Smart Growth in urban areas, we need to fix them. [The Maryland Department of the Environment] has four weeks to work it out or there will be bills.”
CCE also unveiled its 2010 legislative agenda, including a trio of transportation bills that would: (1) require transportation projects to meet certain environmental and planning criteria in order to qualify for State funding; (2) give the Maryland Department of Transportation the authority to comment on the regional impact of large developments; and (3) require local governments to report on how they use their Highway User Revenue funds.