By Ben Alexandro, Water Policy Director
What a rollercoaster ride for our forests. When the bill was first introduced by County Executive Steuart Pittman, the developers and opposition came out in force with dozens of weakening amendments to squelch the initiative to protect our forests. And thanks to the enormous showing of county residents who care about forests - including over 200 coming to a rally, dozens of citizens testifying at one or more of the hearings, hundreds of people calling members of the county council, and the numerous folks that wrote letters to the councilmembers - the county council listened!
After many weeks of work and deliberations, our County councilmembers listened to their constituents and unanimously passed a bill that will help put ensure Anne Arundel County is working to protect our forests and ecosystems.
We all know the benefits of forests are immeasurable. Forests are the backbone of our communities. They filter our waters, increase property values, reduce energy costs, provide clean air and wildlife habitat, and improve public health. Not to mention they are one of the crucial elements to save us from the climate crisis.
Unfortunately, here in Anne Arundel County, forests are being destroyed due to sprawling, poorly planned development. As a county, we have lost more acres of forest since 2010 than all neighboring counties combined. This averages to a loss of about 300 acres of forest a year to development. Now, with the passage of this bill we are finally able to start to address this problem.
Thank you for taking action for Anne Arundel’s forests!