Governor Martin O'Malley this evening joined environmental leaders, advocates and elected officials from across Maryland at the League of Conservation Voters 10th Annual John V. Kabler Dinner in Annapolis. The event honored Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, Mike Busch.
"When we stood together four years ago and pledged to make a difference for Maryland's environment, we were in a bad place: Program Open Space was being raided, environmental regulations were at a standstill, our fishery resources were declining and climate change was cast as a figment of our imagination," said Governor O'Malley in his address. "Working together, we have taken bold actions through which we are now protecting our air, our land, our water and our living resources -- and creating green jobs and preparing for a clean energy future -- despite a global recession."
"I am especially pleased to be part of this well-deserved tribute to my good friend Mike Busch," continued Governor O'Malley. "Throughout his career in public service, Speaker Busch has demonstrated his unwavering commitment to protecting our irreplaceable farm and forestlands, and has proven to be one of the Chesapeake Bay's greatest advocates and allies in Annapolis."
This is the 4th consecutive year that Governor O'Malley has attended the annual gathering of stakeholders committed to enacting sound conservation laws and making meaningful progress on Maryland's environmental agenda.
"With Governor O'Malley at the helm, environmentalists have not only had a seat at the table, we have had a full, committed partner on our side," said Maryland LCV Executive Director Cindy Schwartz. "Making land conservation a priority, taking action on climate change, developing a strong plan for Bay restoration, adopting clean energy standards and creating green jobs these are only a few of the reasons Governor O'Malley has earned our support for his leadership. As we continue to fight for the health of our State and the health of our planet, 6 million Marylanders represent 6 million reasons why Governor O'Malley is the right leader for our future."
Under the leadership of Governor Martin O'Malley, since 2007 Maryland has preserved 31,000 acres of land through Program Opens Space, more than three times that of the preceding Administration; developed the region's most substantive Chesapeake Bay restoration plan; increased environmental enforcement actions by 54 percent; enacted management strategies leading to a 60 percent increase in the Bay's blue crab population; adopted a visionary plan to restore native oysters and promote development of an aquaculture industry; initiated a new strategic growth plan; increased its Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard; committed to a 25% reduction in state greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, and set a goal of creating or maintaining 100,000 green jobs by 2015.
"Together we have built a solid foundation upon which our environment and our economy can support each other and improve the lives of our families," said Governor O'Malley. "But there is still much work to be done. Looking ahead we must re-commit to directing investments to projects that improve our environment, promote social well-being, create green jobs and address the public and community health implications of a degraded environment. Together, we can complete the work we have begun and leave our children a conservation legacy of which we can be proud."