Good morning. Thank you all for being here today.
I want to thank President Miller and Speaker Busch again for their leadership and the very important work that went on this session to improve our quality of life that we all enjoy as Marylanders, and to begin taking responsibility for our environment… the land, the water, and the air that we all share.
I also want to thank Lt. Governor Brown for your partnership and for building compromise this session to advance the common good.
Very early on in the campaign last summer, we came together to announce an Environmental Bill of Rights for the people of our state – understanding that we must do all that we can to preserve our natural resources and expand the opportunities born from our natural diversity.
Because of the leadership of Senator Conway, Senator Frosh, Delegate McIntosh and many others – we were able to build on our strengths to live up to our responsibility.
The land and the water have been the heart of our state since its very beginning, the ploughman and the waterman, providing a foundation and connection to this one world that we all share. And working together, I am proud of the steps that we have taken to improve our environment and our most treasured natural resource, the Chesapeake Bay.
During this session, we have fully funded Program Open Space to, once again, preserve open space. We made historic investments in cover crop program to reduce run-off into the Chesapeake Bay. And, we established BayStat to target the many efforts to improve the health of the Bay – finding what works and what doesn’t.
And, because we are stronger together, just last week, Maryland joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – partnering with our neighbors in the fight against global warming. And we signed an executive order to help us meet the challenge of climate change.
Today, I am proud to be here with all of you to continue our progress and regain our leadership with a package of bills that move us closer to the goals we all share.
That includes signing the Maryland Clean Cars Act to improve air quality, and I want to thank Delegate Bobo for her vision and persistence.
I also want to thank the Speaker for championing Oyster Restoration to revive our natural filters and the health of the Bay.
We are establishing the Maryland Green Building Council – with the help of Delegate Morhaim, Delegate Bronrott, and Comptroller Franchot – to ensure that green building is at the foundation of our smart growth.
Because of the important work of Senator Rosapepe and Delegate Lawton, we are improving local water and wastewater systems for the benefit of our sensitive Bay watershed.
And we are helping to protect the character of Maryland by banning the harvest of our terrapins, thanks to the leadership of Senator Dyson and Delegate Virginia Claggett.
At the end of the day, no issue more underscores the notion of the common good than the land and the water that define our State. By coming together, understanding our inherent interconnectedness, we are advancing the principles upon which our progress must be based.
There’s an old Native American Proverb that says that “we don’t inherit this land from our parents, we borrow it from our children.”
Well, together, we are setting the course for growth that improves, not harms our quality of life… for greater opportunities, not less… and for a better and stronger State for our children and theirs.