Environmental Business Leadership Conference Address
Good morning. It’s great to be here.
Roy, thanks for that introduction and I want to thank you and your incredible team at MES for the great work that you do and also for hosting this second Environmental Business Leadership Conference.
I’d like to thank all the sponsoring companies, including Northrop Grumman, United Airlines, Whiting-Turner, Merritt companies, Weller Development and Tradepoint Atlantic, just to name a few, along with all the speakers, panelists, and presenters, and the hundreds of attendees from all across the country. Thank you all for being here.
A key theme of this year’s conference is preserving and enhancing our natural environment here in Maryland and throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
For four years now, our state has been leading the charge when it comes to real bipartisan, common sense solutions and we are proud to be setting an example for the nation of strong environmental leadership.
When it came to the serious problem of phosphorus in the Chesapeake Bay, we brought all the stakeholders together—farmers, community leaders, the poultry industry and environmental groups—and we hammered out a compromise phosphorus management solution that has been called one of the most significant steps to clean up the bay in a generation.
People argued about it for eight years but we actually reached agreement and made it a reality in our first six weeks in office.
We have fully funded all bay restoration efforts four years in a row.
We fully funded Program Open Space for the first time in more than a decade and we fully funded the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund for the first time in state history.
In total, our administration has committed an historic $5 billion toward wide-ranging bay initiatives, which is far more than any administration in Maryland history.
As chairman of the six-state Chesapeake Bay Executive Council, we have been fighting to protect and restore full federal funding for the Chesapeake Bay.
We invested over $1.8 billion in environmental grants and loans for clean water and drinking water infrastructure projects, which help us to protect public health, local waterways, and the Chesapeake Bay while at the same time boosting Maryland’s economy with the addition of new engineering and construction jobs.
More businesses are open and more people are working than ever before in the history of our state and we have had one of the biggest economic turnarounds in America.
We launched nationally acclaimed programs to accelerate the restoration of streams and wetlands, including market based strategies and robust initiatives to prevent sewer overflows and stormwater pollution.
All of our efforts have paid off: the Chesapeake Bay is now cleaner than it has ever been in recorded history.
When it comes to clean air and addressing climate change, we were proud to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan group of governors from across America that is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
We have pushed for and enacted clean air standards that are stronger than 48 other states and nearly twice as strong as the Paris Accord recommendations.
Maryland also has an active bipartisan commission on climate change.
We continue to be a leader in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and are active members in the Transportation and Climate Initiative, a regional collaboration of 13 northeast and Mid-Atlantic jurisdictions that seeks to develop a clean energy economy, improve transportation, and reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector.
We have a strong record of supporting responsible, clean, and renewable energy projects that provide jobs, clean air benefits, and energy independence—but we are just getting started.
In May, I announced a bold new strategy to advance a clean and renewable energy standard with the goal of 100% clean electricity by the year 2040. It is one of the most innovative and balanced plans in America.
In a few weeks, I will become chairman of the National Governors Association, where I will continue to share our environmental successes with my fellow governors from across the country.
Over the next two days, you are going to hear more about some of these exciting initiatives, from our Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts to our economic development and workforce development programs, and our innovative use of public-private partnerships.
Each of these important public policy goals has critical environmental and economic components, which work in tandem to make them successful.
I remain strongly committed to meaningful, innovative, bipartisan, common sense policies and programs that protect our environment in a manner that also promotes job growth and economic opportunity.
We need more leaders on both sides of the political aisle who are willing to think outside the box and work together so that we can continue to meet our environmental challenges head on.
Thank you again for attending this important conference and thank you for your investment in and your commitment to safeguarding our environment for future generations.