This is an exclusive Moms Clean Air Force interview with Maryland’s Senator Ben Cardin:
What is unique about protecting Maryland’s resources?
Maryland has an incredible wealth of resources. We derive our livelihoods, a great amount of enjoyment and a sense of history from those diverse resources. Across our state, from our mountains and beaches to our farmlands and cities, we have a vested interest in protecting clean air and water. I think Maryland has been making progress in protecting our resources through the years, but more must be done. Sadly, pollution, the biggest threat to safely accessing our resources, does not respect state lines. That’s why we need strong federal policies to ensure that states upwind and upstream from Maryland are not working against our best efforts.
As a parent are you worried about the effects of climate change on your children and the children of Maryland?
As a parent and a grandparent, you bet I am worried about climate change. It is real and it is happening now. Seventy percent of Marylanders live in coastal zones, and I especially worry about their children and grandchildren. We see the scientific impact of climate change on places like Smith Island and the Inner Harbor, in the fields of Western Maryland and the edges of Ocean City. We can act now to mitigate the impacts of climate change on our children’s health and economic futures by researching a forward-looking energy policy that is no longer based on finite fossil fuels.
Why is a bipartisan effort so important and how can these efforts be achieved in our politically polarizing culture?
We’re all in this together. I’ve already noted how pollution and climate change don’t adhere to state lines, but they don’t care about party lines either. The preponderance of scientific evidence tells us that climate change is real and is foremost among the global threats facing us today. It is an environmental issue, but also a health issue, an economic issue and a national security issue. For all that it is, it shouldn’t be a political issue. I think some forget that the notion that we must choose between economic growth and environmental protection is a fallacy. The pathway toward greater economic prosperity and growth is through the development and production of innovative and environmentally friendly production and manufacturing, along with building sustainable and livable communities. The good that comes with combating climate change should unite us moving forward, rather than dividing us and holding us back as a nation.
A lifelong Marylander, Senator Cardin serves as Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is a member of the Environment & Public Works, Small Business & Entrepreneurship and the Senate Finance Committees. Through these assignments, Senator Cardin promotes policies, legislation and programs that help grow our state and national economies and create job opportunities, as well as support small businesses, protect our middle class, and our most vulnerable citizens; maintain clean air and clean water; expand opportunities for public transit and energy independence; protect civil rights; and promote transparency, good governance and the protection of universal human rights.