For Immediate Release:
July 22, 2008
Dolores Milmoe, ANS, 301-633-8719
Stewart Schwartz, CSG, 202-244-4408 ext 121
Grade Inflation Hits Governor O’Malley’s Environmental Ranking
Impacts of ICC Undermine Governor’s Commitment to the Environment
Reacting to today’s release of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters’ Mid-Term Governor’s Report Card ranking on transportation and environmental issues, some conservation groups see grade inflation.
“The ICC undermines Governor O’Malley’s many commitments to cleaner air, water, the Bay and fighting climate change,” said Neal Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of the Audubon Naturalist Society. “The highway would destroy thousands of acres of streams, forests, wetlands and farmland directly and through the sprawl development it would spark.”
According to official studies, the ICC toll highway would not reduce congestion on most roads including the Beltway, I-270 and I-95, but would generate an extra three-quarter of a billion miles of driving per year, resulting in higher gas consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Maryland has traditionally set a high standard for environmental protection, that’s why we are right to expect more from the Governor,” said Greg Smith of Community Research in reaction to the high rankings O’Malley received on air (A), water (B+), energy (A), and climate change (A). The ICC would heavily damage streams leading to the Potomac, Anacostia and the Bay and lead to toxic air pollution exposure for schools and homes along its path.
“The world has changed due to energy prices and climate change. This requires fundamental change in state transportation and land use policies,” said Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth. “We cannot cut energy use, fight climate change and “Save the Bay” if we squander $3.1 billion in scarce taxpayer resources on this environmentally destructive, sprawl-inducing highway.”
“It remains in Governor O’Malley’s power to cancel the ICC. Otherwise we believe that the single most costly transportation project in Maryland history will be his primary legacy, undermining any good work on a range of smart growth and environmental issues,” concluded Fitzpatrick.