Climate Change and the Environment

The daily impacts of the climate crisis – from flooding to natural disasters to growing health challenges – increasingly threaten Maryland communities. But Senator Van Hollen believes that addressing the climate emergency is not just an urgent challenge, but also as an opportunity to build a stronger economy, advance issues of climate justice and equity, and generate millions of new home-grown, good-paying jobs with groundbreaking technologies.

Senator Van Hollen worked to secure resources within the infrastructure modernization law to achieve all of these goals – and others too. That legislation will build out Maryland’s network of electric vehicle charging stations to make it easier than ever to own and drive an electric car in the United States. That law will also harden our infrastructure to withstand the risks of climate change. In addition, it will bring in $238 million in funding for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program to clean up the Bay and meet the targets of the Bay Agreement. 

But our work doesn’t end there. Senator Van Hollen believes the fight against climate change must be front-and-center in our nation’s capital, in Maryland, and across the country. That’s why Senator Van Hollen has authored legislation to make homes more energy efficient, which will both fight the climate crisis and lower everyday costs for Marylanders. He is also leading the charge to create and fund a clean energy and sustainability accelerator that will supercharge public and private investments in clean energy – an idea pioneered by Van Hollen when he was in the House of Representatives. Additionally, Senator Van Hollen has put forward a groundbreaking proposal, the Polluter’s Pay Climate Fund, to require that the country’s biggest polluters start paying into a fund to support a just transition to a clean energy future. That legislative effort is guided by a simple but powerful idea: those who pollute should pay to help clean up the mess they caused – and those who polluted the most should pay the most. He also supports efforts to create new tax incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles and to create a civilian climate corps that will mobilize a new generation of Americans committed to bolstering community resilience and advancing environmental justice.

Preserving the natural beauty of our state and protecting Maryland’s air, land, and water for our children and future generations are also top priorities. Senator Van Hollen is a leader in the effort to clean up Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, and he has used his position on the Senate Appropriations Committee to secure historic increases in funding to the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program. In 2020, the President signed Senator Van Hollen’s bipartisan Chesapeake WILD Act into law, which created a new grant program to strengthen our restoration and habitat conservation efforts and to support collaboration between the Fish and Wildlife Service and key on-the-ground partners committed to preserving the Bay. This new program will bring in $15 million to improve the health of the Bay.

Senator Van Hollen is also working with partners in government and at the grassroots level to explore the designation of a Chesapeake National Recreation Area managed by the National Park Service. Marylanders know the Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure. Designating a Chesapeake National Recreation Area will highlight that reality and attract national recognition to the Bay’s natural, cultural, historical, and recreational significance while simultaneously bringing in new resources to protect the Bay and support local Maryland businesses.

Our planet is precious and our state’s natural treasures must be protected and nurtured. That’s why Senator Van Hollen is fighting every day to tackle the climate crisis, reinforce our communities against extreme weather, and clean up the Chesapeake Bay with solutions that promote economic opportunity and create jobs.