In Annapolis, one of the General Assembly’s pro-environment warriors wants to close a chapter in Maryland political history. Del. Peter Franchot, a Democrat from Takoma Park and a 20-year legislative veteran, last weekend announced his primary challenge of Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, the former governor and Baltimore mayor who continues to run as a Democrat despite his support of Republicans back to George Herbert Walker Bush
In Washington, Rep. Steny Hoyer is counting chips at the end of the giant poker game with tax dollars in Congress. Hoyer, minority whip and the only Marylander on the Appropriations Committee, trumpeted these Chesapeake region projects in this year’s haul: $5 million for blue crab research; $3.5 million for monitoring and general Bay studies (what hasn’t been studied?); $2.25 million for the Oyster Recovery Project; $975,000 to combat shoreline erosion; and $500,000 for Bay grasses
Polling update: In Anne Arundel County, 60 percent believe that growth and development is happening too fast, according to a Baltimore Sun poll last week. Buried in the survey was this slight surprise: Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley led Gov. Robert Ehrlich 48 to 33 percent. The poll of 1,008 people had a 3.2 percent error margin
Our Creature Feature comes from Montana and Wyoming where, if you’re a grizzly bear, you’d better run for cover. That’s because Interior Secretary Gale Norton declared this week that the Bush administration intends to remove the Yellowstone grizzly bears from Endangered Species Act protection given a doubling of its population (to about 600) in 30 years.
The de-listing is expected to lead to grizzly bear hunting, which could require a large weapon, considering that the big ones weigh in at 900 pounds. Conservationists decried the action, saying that grizzlies and their habitat are threatened more than ever before by sprawl, oil and gas drilling off-road vehicles.