Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman announced the creation of the Anne Arundel County Citizens Environmental Commission on Earth Day. Pittman signed an executive order creating the commission, at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) surrounded by tens of thousands of young trees planted as part of environmental mitigation efforts.
“Earth Day was founded nearly 50 years ago because our environment was in trouble and government wasn’t doing enough about it,” said County Executive Pittman. “People demanded action and a movement was born. Our Citizens Environmental Commission is made up of people who will continue to push us to do more to protect our environment and hold us accountable for action.”
The commission will recommend actions to protect the county’s environmental resources, promote clean, renewable energy solutions, and defend its shorelines and communities from rising sea levels. It will be comprised of residents from each of the county’s watersheds, and representatives from environmental nonprofit organizations with offices in the county. The group will meet at least quarterly and prepare an annual report of its recommendations for County Executive Pittman.
Kate Fritz, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and former chair of the Sustainable Communities Team for the Pittman transition team, will chair the commission. Anne Arundel County Environmental Policy Director Matt Johnston will coordinate the commission’s work.
“Kate and I are excited to continue the work that began during the transition,” said Matt Johnston. “We have both witnessed what can be achieved when you gather together a group of knowledgeable, passionate people to solve a problem.”
County Executive Pittman said the trees at SERC, which comprise a forest mitigation bank planted to help offset forest losses elsewhere in the county, represent the type of innovative solutions that are needed to protect our environment. Pittman was joined at the event by Dr. Anson “Tuck” Hines, the director of SERC, along with several other environmental scientists from the institution.