Grade Inflation on O'Malley Report Card?
The Maryland League of Conservation Voters yesterday gave Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) an A-minus for his environmental efforts on a "Mid-Term Report Card." That makes O'Malley the first governor to score an "A-grade" since the ratings began in 1997, the group said.
But, already, another environmental group is complaining about grade inflation.
The league's report card praised O'Malley for his work on climate change, including his decision to join a multi-state pact to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, and his support of a failed attempt to limit those emissions by law. The report card also lauded O'Malley for supporting a boost in funding for projects to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. And it praised him for supporting funds for Program Open Space, which pays to preserve forests, farmlands and parks.
"I don't think that you can actually look at that and say that he did anything else but good work," said Cindy Schwartz, the group's Executive Director. She said the group now wanted O'Malley to concentrate on new projects, like a plan to clean up pollution washing down through storm drains, and an effort to limit tainted runoff from poultry farms.
One of the few subjects that the report card listed O'Malley as "failing" was the Intercounty Connector, the highway now being constructed to link I-95 and I-270 through the Washington suburbs.
"The ICC will add miles of impervious surface to a watershed already stressed from stormwater runoff, it will increase our global warming pollution, and, according to numerous studies, it will increase sprawl and not reduce traffic," the report said.
But that condemnation wasn't strong enough for the Audubon Naturalist Society.
In a statement issued yesterday, they said O'Malley's support for the connector was tarnishing the governor's environmental legacy.
"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," Neal Fitzpatrick, the society's executive director, said in a statement.
July 23, 2008; 12:18 PM ET
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