Rally for Clean Water, Annapolis

Gov. Martin O'Malley takes the stage to address the crowd.

Organized by Clean Water, Healthy Families (a coalition of environmental organizations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, of which AWS is a member), on March 28, 2012, more than 100 people gathered in front of the Maryland State House (an area known as the Lawyer’s Mall) advocating for clean water legislation. Currently there are 3 bills moving through the Maryland General Assembly that would protect the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, helping to make them safe to swim and fish in, create jobs, reduce stormwater runoff, and protect public health:

1. Senate Bill 236 / House Bill 445 – Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012. Passed by the Senate and moved to the House of Delegates. Passage of this bill would result in the reduction of pollution coming from inadequately designed developments and septic systems.

2. Senate Bill 240 / House Bill 446 – Environment - Bay Restoration Fund. Passed by the House of Delegates and moved to the Senate. This bill would ensure that wastewater treatment facilities in Maryland are upgraded by increasing the Bay Restoration Fund.

3. Senate Bill 614 / House Bill 987 – Stormwater Management - Watershed Protection and Restoration Program. Passed by the House of Delegates and moved to the Senate. Passage of this bill would require each county and municipality to adopt laws or ordinances to establish a watershed protection and restoration program which would result in the reduction of stormwater runoff that is currently polluting and flooding our waterways.

Rallygoers wore waders, beach hats, and life jackets and held up pictures of clean and dirty water as well as signage to show their connection to the water. Speakers included Delegate Tom Hucker, Montgomery County; William Baker, President of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation; Delegate Maggie McIntosh, Baltimore City; Dr. Robert Summers, Maryland's Secretary of the Environment; Senator Paul Pinsky, Prince George's County; Reverend Robert Turner, pastor at St. John's Baptist Church in Columbia; Senator Jamie Raskin, Montgomery County; and Governor Martin O'Malley.

"We can’t let the fee stay where it is if we are going to complete the job," said Secretary Summers, referring to the Bay Restoration Fund bill.

Reverend Turner added, "Now is the time to do the right thing for our environment and for our economy and to pass House Bill 987, and we're here to tell the Senate that we need them to pass it and send it to the Governor for his signature!"  

Gov. O’Malley (above) led the crowd in a call and response, chanting "Clean! Water!" He concluded with encouraging remarks: "Do not underestimate your power as an individual to affect the policies, the votes, and actions that these very decent and committed men and women from both parties are taking in your state house in the General Assembly session. We're making some great progress and don't think for a second that you're not an important part of making that happen."


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