The environmental disaster that is still unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico is a stark reminder that our environment is fragile, our natural resources are critical to our quality of life, and we need to do what we can to protect both. We must reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, improve the quality of our water and our air, and crack down on overdevelopment in environmentally sensitive areas. Nancy has a record of securing real results in all three of these areas.
Maryland is leading the nation in the effort to promote the use and development of alternative energy sources. Nancy wrote the law to create Maryland's Solar Energy Grant Program, which provides grants to private citizens, businesses and local governments to defray the cost of acquiring and installing solar energy products. She voted repeatedly to require energy companies to increase the percentage of renewable energy they are providing to Maryland consumers. Taken together, these steps will help us reduce our dependence on dangerous fossil fuels.
The legislature has taken steps to improve air and water quality. Nancy voted for the Healthy Air Act, which required energy companies to cut nitrogen, sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. She also voted to raise vehicle emissions standards. She supported the creation of the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund to upgrade wastewater treatment facilities, and she voted to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous runoff. These bills curbed the release of thousands of tons of deadly toxins into our air and pollutants into our water.
We know that development, left unchecked, is a major source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Nancy voted to strengthen our Critical Areas law, which restricts development along the shoreline, and she voted to give citizen groups better access to our courts to stop development in environmentally sensitive areas. She also worked with Governor O'Malley to preserve funding for Program Open Space, so that we can protect land from development.
Nancy is working to solve environmental problems in Maryland -- and she has a record of securing real results as we fight to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, to improve our water and air quality, and to crack down on development in environmentally sensitive areas. As your State Senator, she will continue to work to solve these problems, and to get results so that we can all enjoy healthier air, cleaner water, and a safer environment.