ANS, its Partners, and Fellow Coalition Members Urge Support of Several Bills to Mitigate Harms from Highway Expansion and Destruction of State Forests
CHEVY CHASE, MD – ANS’s Director of Conservation, Eliza Cava, as a member of the Stormwater Partners Network of Montgomery County, will testify before the Maryland legislature tomorrow regarding proposals for the Capital Beltway expansion on I-495 and I-270 in Maryland. This State Highway Administration (SHA) effort is proceeding rapidly and with little opportunity for public input. In effect, Cava and the Stormwater Partners Network are insisting that any changes to or expansions of Interstates 495 and 270 comply with current state and county stormwater design statutes and principles as part of an open and transparent process, which is the least the public has a right to expect.
As it stands, the coalition of civic and environmental groups believe the proposal is too large and too important to get wrong, because if not done in a reasonable and appropriate manner, it would leave current and future generations of Marylanders paying the cost of a degraded environment and communities. ANS and the Stormwater Partners urge Support of HB 695/SB 788 with amendments to strengthen stormwater analysis provisions, as well as HB91 to mitigate the harms of highway expansion.
“Big highways have locked our region into a pattern of increasing suburban sprawl for two generations. In this era of climate change, it is irresponsible to barrel ahead with bigger, wider highways without concern for consequences for the future. Bigger roads mean more traffic and sprawl. Plus more pavement will create hotter temperatures and more floods in our communities. This bill is critical to ensure we don’t repeat the mistakes of the 1950s,” said Cava.
Maryland has had a law to protect forests since 1991, but it’s got loopholes and is not doing the job it needs to do. ANS’s Conservation Director Eliza Cava is making herself available to talk to the media beginning today to discuss what Maryland lawmakers need to do to ensure that more trees, “the lungs of our forests,” are better protected. Cava will be in Annapolis on Wednesday, February 27, with a coalition of other environmentalists to press legislators to pass three bills, HB120/SB203, HB272/SB234, and SB729, that will make the Forest Conservation Act much stronger.
“Our native forest ecosystems clean our air and purify our drinking water. They form the bedrock of healthy environments for people and nature. Maryland’s groundbreaking Forest Conservation Act is meant precisely to preserve our forests alongside communities and now it’s time to close the loopholes that are devastating our forests, which are the lungs of our earth,” said Cava.
About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has played a pivotal role in conserving our region’s iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS‘s nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.