About 100 people, many dressed in watermen hip-waders, boating life jackets and hats resembling crab claws and shark teeth, rallied in Annapolis this week in support of bills that they say will help preserve clean water and save the Chesapeake Bay for seafood production and recreational fishing.
“The Chesapeake Bay is on life support,” Del. Tom Hucker (D-Dist. 20) of Silver Spring told the crowd.
With less than two weeks left in the session, environmentalists are pushing to get several bills through aimed at cleaning the state’s waterways and to improve the Chesapeake Bay.
The Senate passed a weakened version of a bill sought by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) to reduce suburban sprawl. Meanwhile, the House of Delegates passed bills on stormwater management and the flush tax to fund additional treatment plant upgrades, but both await Senate action.
Del. Maggie L. McIntosh (D-Dist. 43) of Baltimore urged the clean-water advocates at Wednesday’s rally to pressure their state legislators to assure passage in both houses.
“This is the moment in time for the Bay,” said Will Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “If we miss this opportunity to finish the job of saving the Bay, we may never have another.”
Baker said the measures not only would help the environment but would create jobs to upgrade the treatment plants and for watermen harvesting seafood from the Bay.
“Our children and grandchildren should be able to swim in Maryland waters without worry for their health,” Baker said.
Environmentalists say they have worked with religious leaders to broaden the coalition of those who want to be good stewards of the environment.
The Rev. Robert Turner of St. John’s Baptist Church in Columbia agreed.
“As a pastor, the stewardship of our environment is very important to me as it is to members of faith communities throughout Maryland,” he said.