Conservationists respond with praise to Maryland Gov. Wes Moore’s recent climate action

On Tuesday, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore signed an executive order requiring state agencies to submit a plan to help address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Maryland Executive Director Allison Colden commended Moore for his action. She said there’s significant overlap between actions that are taken to mitigate climate change and those that will help improve the water quality and habitat in the Chesapeake Bay.

“We have these ambitious goals in Maryland for reducing our climate emissions by 60% by 2031 and achieving net zero by 2045. And they have really important implications for the Chesapeake Bay, as well,” Colden said. “But they’re only as good as their implementation. So, it’s absolutely critical that these are implemented in an accountable and transparent way.”

As for the actions she would like to see taken in the climate plans: there’s protecting and conserving marshes and streams, with things such as riparian buffers or conserving forests and improving soil health by planting trees.

“These are the same practices that we’ve been prescribing for years to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay,” Colden said. “If we achieve our goals with respect to reducing climate emissions, we’re also going to have the co-benefits of helping to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, as well.”

She said CBF serves as a watchdog, ensuring that all the climate plans part of Moore’s Climate Pollution Reduction Plan are enforced and carried out.

Aside from conserving the environment, she said the plan has direct economic, social and ecological benefits to Marylanders.

The action prioritizes implementing practices that help to reduce climate emissions. But Colden said its doing it “in a way that is equitable and helps to write those historic injustices that we know exist in Maryland and have been extremely challenging to the communities as well as, you know, our ecological health in certain areas around the state.”

CBF has long worked with communities surrounding Baltimore and Baltimore Harbor that are affected by industrial pollution.

“One of the communities that we have worked with is Turner Station in Dundalk … they’re experiencing this consistent flooding, and there’s concerns about legacy toxic contaminants associated in the sediments that are included in that flooding,” Colden said.

“So there is an example of an impact that has been produced by climate change, leading to increases in nuisance flooding in a community that has been impacted for decades from these industrial activities.”

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Grace Newton

Grace Newton is an Associate Producer at WTOP. She also works as an associate producer for NPR Newscast. Grace was born and raised in North Carolina but has lived in D.C. since 2018. Grace graduated from American University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in art history in 2022.

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