Thursday, September 27, 2007

Maryland., Virginia officials: Chesapeake Bay dies, states die To highlight the potential impact of global warming, a Senate panel zeroed in yesterday on the Chesapeake Bay. Govs. Timothy M. Kaine of Virginia and Martin O'Malley of Maryland joined in labeling climate change a serious threat to the Chesapeake Bay and appealed for new policy from Congress.

"Each day that legislative action is delayed will have negative consequences for the Chesapeake Bay," Kaine told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "In Maryland, climate change and sea-level rise are at our doorstep," O'Malley testified.

Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, the Democrat who chairs the panel, emphasized her view that global warming isn't a problem solely in remote Greenland -- where some members of her committee have traveled -- but also closer to home.

"We do not have to travel as far as Greenland to see the impacts of global warming," she said, "we only have to travel a few miles to the Chesapeake Bay."

Kaine outlined potential threats to the bay and its neighboring region from climate change, including increasing "dead zones" from more polluted runoff, harm for oysters and striped bass, increased shoreline erosion from sea-level rise and storms, and increased pest threats to area forests.

"To be sure, we can adapt to a few of the impacts of climate change, but others will be devastating," he warned, after noting the high vulnerability of the Hampton Roads region to sea-level rise. Kaine listed steps that Virginia has taken on related fronts and asked for Congress to step in with national climate change policy.

"Fifty governors acting in good will to do their own thing is going to lead to gaps and redundancies and problems that a lot of the private sector will complain about, because they will want to have a uniform set of rules that they can follow," he told reporters after delivering his testimony.

"That's why a uniform national policy is so critical." The governor said he supports the national "cap-and-trade" idea that is part of a bill being shaped by Sens. John W. Warner, R-Va., and Joseph I. Lieberman, I-Conn. Such legislation would cut greenhouse-gas emissions by creating a new market in which permits for emitting the gases would be traded and sold….

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