Governor Martin O'Malley Convenes Forum on Sustainability
Third of five Maryland Forward forums designed to shape O'Malley-Brown second term, preparing for Smarter, Greener future
ANNAPOLIS, MD (January 7, 2011)–Governor Martin O’Malley convened the third of five forums today, designed to elicit feedback and ideas from stakeholders in preparation for a second term as Maryland’s governor. Today’s forum focused on laying the groundwork for a sustainable future and gathered the input of various stakeholders, including recommendations for legislation and actions related to clean energy, natural resource management, agriculture and smart growth.
“As a State, we must move forward on a smart, sustainable path,” said Governor O’Malley. “Building upon our recent successes, we need to create a foundation for both our future and our children’s future. We have to make tough decisions, governing through green initiatives and living our own lives as examples.”
More than 750 stakeholders, including conservationists, farmers and business owners, took part in plenary sessions and discipline-specific workgroups at today’s forum, which was hosted by Chesapeake College in Wye Mills. Discussion topics for the breakout groups included Smart Growth, Bay Restoration, Clean Energy/Climate Change, and Resource Based Industries.
Lt. Governor Anthony Brown opened the forum on behalf of Governor O’Malley.
“Creating a sustainable future — a Maryland where our healthy resources and a strong economy support a healthy society — is one of the biggest and perhaps most urgent challenges facing us today,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “But Governor O’Malley and I know that, by working together, we can meet this challenge.”
Renowned scientist, Dr. Don Boesch, President of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, gave the keynote address at the morning plenary session.
“No longer can we separate the interests of Marylanders in their economy, their society, their environment and their natural resources, because they are all interdependent,” said Dr. Boesch. “By reaching across these traditional boundaries, we must find comprehensive solutions, informed by our best scientific understanding, that ensure a sustainable future.”
Following today’s work sessions, Governor O’Malley convened a discussion of outcomes and recommendations with all forum participants. Recommendations include:
- Bay Restoration: Continue to ramp up Bay Restoration efforts, including building upon Maryland’s Phase 1 Watershed Implementation Plan, to ensure reaching our Bay Restoration goals by 2020 —five years earlier than any other State in the watershed.
- Clean Energy/Climate Change: Aggressively pursue the development of offshore wind generation as a clean energy solution as well an avenue to create thousands of green jobs.
- Smart Growth: Increase support for development projects in transit oriented, sustainable communities through funding, financing, tax credits, and other incentives. Continue to promote public transit ridership, which has increased 17 percent since 2006.
- Resource Based Industries: Develop new policies and programs that provide economic incentives for rural landowners, including farmers, to conserve their land instead of developing it; develop new programs to support environmentally friendly resource-based industries, including sustainable agriculture and forestry, aquaculture, and nature-based tourism.
“The world is changing as a result of these issues, and Maryland can choose to be either a leader or a follower in the resulting New Economy that is upon us,” said Governor O’Malley. “Under the O’Malley-Brown Administration we have already begun to move —and lead —in the right direction. Today, we come together to identify new approaches to creating the sustainable future that will ensure Maryland remains both a livable and economically viable state.”
The day’s nine breakout sessions were facilitated by a diverse group of business leaders and conservationists: Dr. Don Boesch, President University of Maryland Center of Environmental Services; Russ Brinsfield, Center Director, University of Maryland Wye Research Center Agricultural Experiment Station; Stuart Clarke, Executive Director, Town Creek Foundation; Doug Lashley, President and CEO, Greenvest; Sean Davis, Principal, Morris & Ritchie Associates; Jon Laria, Chair, Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission; Tom Lewis, Chair, Maryland Task Force on Fisheries Management; Delegate Maggie McIntosh, Chair, House Environmental Matters Committee; Cindy Parker, Assistant Professor, Environmental Health Sciences, Bloomberg School of Public Health; Jill Sorensen, Executive Director, Baltimore Electric Vehicle Initiative.
The “Maryland Forward” forum series is serving to develop strategies for the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s second term, and generate concrete actions and recommendations that support the Administration’s 15 strategic goals.