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Volume 16, Issue 9 - February 28 - March 5, 2008


O’Malley and the Air Up There

After conspiring to raise our taxes, his approval rating is lower than a snake’s belly. Getting down into George W. Bush territory.

He bet wrong on a sure-thing presidential hopeful who’s getting waxed by a back-bencher who was a state senator just four years ago.

Now he’s signed on to an anti-greenhouse gas plan that will rile up climate-change naysayers and cost Marylanders more.

Good for him.

Gov. Martin O’Malley deserves credit for endorsing a plan that would cut certain pollutants to 25 percent below 2006 levels and a whopping 90 percent by 2050.

He’s putting Maryland with California, Florida and states that understand that 2,500 of the world’s best scientists weren’t fooling last year when they warned that the planet is near tipping into an environmental crisis.

With our hundreds of miles of coastlines, Maryland is especially vulnerable to rising waters and wacky weather that comes with ocean warming. Nor should we forget that air pollution is a principal contributor to Chesapeake Bay pollution.

Polls in Maryland and elsewhere this political season show a partisan gap on the issue of global warming, with Democrats more aggressive in tackling the problem.

We’ve never believed that the environment is a partisan matter. That’s why last week in this space we praised the conservation efforts of U.S. Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, a Republican who lost his primary race. That’s also why we’ve lauded the work of Sen. John McCain, the Republican who was out front in the Senate on climate-change legislation. (It didn’t pass.)

It’s debatable at the moment whether O’Malley has the political capital to have an impact, after spending so much of his gubernatorial good will on the tax increase. But he does have the bully pulpit, and he aided an increasingly critical cause when he stood up last week, in the dead of winter, and declared a truth Marylanders must take to heart: “The climate crisis is real.”

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