Activists address environmental concerns on the shore ahead of upcoming MD legislative session



MARYLAND – Lawmakers and activist across the state of Maryland met with a common goal of safeguarding the environment at the 4th annual Eastern Shore Environmental Legislative Summit. The event was sponsored by Lower Eastern Shore Group of the Maryland Sierra Club, Shore Rivers, and the Maryland Legislative Coalition.

“So much of what we talk about in the state of Maryland is expressed right here on the Eastern Shore. On the flip side of that, the effects of climate change are front and center right here on the shore as well,” Pluta said.

The two-day virtual event touched on everything from improving water quality, to strengthening living shoreline laws, and the growing health concerns for chemical like PFAS. “And we are seeing a lot more testing around this. So, there’s going to be legislation focused on addressing PFAS and certain pesticides that might be entering our environment through wastewater discharges,” Pluta said.

Shore Rivers Choptank Riverkeeper Matt Pluta says the general assembly’s passing of the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 was a big win.

He says the focus now will be on how to implement it. “This was monumental legislation passed last year that put the state of Maryland at the top of the list of having some of the most aggressive carbon reduction goals in the country,” Pluta said.

“School districts could receive grants to buy electric school busses and things like that. There’s lots we can do. We could electrify buildings and there’s a number of bills dealing with that,” Sierra Club Lower Eastern Shore Vice Chair Susan Olsen said. 

With the upcoming legislative session just days away, Salisbury Mayor Jake Day spoke on the city’s environmental achievements lawmakers could consider implementing on a state level.

One of those big successes being the plastic bag ban. “So, the more we can do to prevent types of liters like that from ever entering our waterways, our recycling streams, and even out of the way stream entirely the better off we are,” Mayor Day said.

Mayor Jake Day says the city is also restructuring its Environmental Policy Taskforce, looking at what decisions the city can make to reduce its impact on the changing climate.

The Maryland General Assembly’s legislation session starts January 11th.

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