COMMEMORATING EARTH DAY 2006 -- (Extensions of Remarks - April 25, 2006)
* Mr. CARDIN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate Earth Day 2006, which was celebrated last Saturday, April 22.
* Earth Day was established in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, who firmly believed that education was the key to changing public attitudes about the environment. Since then, Earth Day celebrations have spread throughout America and to the rest of the world, with more and more people getting involved in efforts to clean and nurture the environment.
* Despite Earth Day's popularity and the many programs that were created to improve the planet's health, our world is still wrought with environmental problems. We still face many pressing issues, such as protecting coastal waters from offshore drilling, preserving the Alaskan Tongass Rainforest, the Redrock lands in Utah, and resources in the Rockies.
* Closer to home, we must continue to focus our efforts on restoring the Chesapeake Bay. The Bush Administration's budget proposes drastic cuts to vital initiatives, including the Chesapeake Bay Targeted Watershed Grants Program, the EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program Office, and several Farm Bill Conservation programs that help farmers reduce nutrient runoff entering the Bay. Last year, I was pleased to participate in the Living Shoreline Grants program, which involved growing seagrasses in my office that I later planted in Annapolis' Back Creek. I am also pleased to be an original cosponsor of the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Enhancement Act, which will reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay Program and implement new water quality standards for the Bay's tributaries.
* I have long supported a comprehensive, long-term, more environment-friendly energy policy that places emphasis on increasing the availability and use of renewable energy, as well as promoting greater energy efficiency that new technologies can provide. The United States needs to utilize new technologies that focus on renewable energy sources to reduce the nation's dependency on foreign oil and high gasoline prices.
* Earth Day celebrations serve as important reminders that we cannot take America's natural resources for granted. I urge my colleagues to join with me in doing our part to preserve, protect, and restore our planet's natural treasures.