In Annapolis, Van Hollen pushes bill to make polluters pay for flood mitigation

Mayor Gavin Buckley, Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman speak at a news conference on flood mitigation planning in downtown Annapolis.

Annapolis City Mayor Gavin Buckley and Sen. Chris Van Hollen discuss flood mitigation plans in Annapolis on Tuesday.

The flood mitigation planning board at a news conference in downtown Annapolis on Tuesday.

Mayor Gavin Buckley, Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman walk through the parking lot and City Dock.

Mayor Gavin Buckley, Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman speak at a news conference on flood mitigation planning in downtown Annapolis.

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Annapolis, Maryland, has projects to help with flooding in its downtown area, but the city needs money to put them in place. U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen visited on Tuesday to promote a bill in Congress that aims to make polluters pay for such construction.

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said the city has an almost $60 million plan to create a parking garage up the road to relocate parking for the area and raise the City Dock about 6 feet.

“We have to have other tools in our toolbox that we can help to raise the huge amounts of money that it’s going to cost to protect our municipalities,” Buckley said. “Most municipalities know that we are having to fortify; we are having to do things that we wouldn’t have to do if the sea level wasn’t rising.”

Ryan Lamy, owner of Pip’s Dock Street Dogs, said at Tuesday’s event that his restaurant has also been impacted.

“We’re at a low point on the street right here, so we’re one of the first ones that would get flooded out,” said Lamy.

Lamy said sump pumps installed about two years ago are helping, but the area still sees massive flooding with major storms.

“In the restaurant industry, when you lose thousands of dollars a month, that’s hard to regain,” Lamy said.

Van Hollen said the money for this project, and others in the area, could come from a bill that would make major polluters pay for such projects.

“Those companies that contributed most to spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and causing the impacts of climate change, they should have to share in the cost of the cleanup,” Van Hollen said.

The Polluters Pay Climate Fund Act would tax up to 30 companies that have each contributed at least 0.05% of total carbon dioxide and methane gas emissions between 2000 and 2019. 

“It would create a $500 billion fund … and we would assess a fee on the worst polluters,” Van Hollen said.

It would accumulate money over the next 10 years and also tax foreign companies that work in the United States.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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