Governor Ehrlich Announces New Chesapeake Bay Safety and Environmental Hotline

Press Release

 

 

Governor Ehrlich Announces New Chesapeake Bay Safety and Environmental Hotline
 

ANNAPOLIS (April 22, 2005) – Taking steps to further ensure the safety and security of all Marylanders, Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., today announced two new measures to increase security and the protection of Maryland’s waterways.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) reached between the United States Coast Guard (USGC) the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) increases the law enforcement capabilities of NRP within strategically sensitive operations and sites throughout the Bay.

The MOA supports President Bush’s Coast Guard Maritime Transportation Authority Security Act of 2004 which specifically provides for state and local law enforcement officers to make arrests for violations of safety or security zones.

“This is a remarkable shared achievement through which we are ensuring the protection of the citizens, ports, waterways and coastal areas of Maryland,” said Governor Robert L. Ehrlich. “We are also making it possible for two critical components of our economy -- waterborne commerce and recreation – to continue to flow unimpeded.”

Since September 11, 2001, the USCG and the NRP have worked to increase the level of waterside security protection measures for Maritime Critical Infrastructure around potential sites for terrorist attacks.

“Today marks an important milestone in our efforts to protect and serve Maryland by forging a closer partnership aimed at one goal: improved maritime security,” said Rear Admiral Sally Brice-O’Hara, Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “I couldn’t be more proud of our Coast Guard leaders here in Maryland, and our strong partnerships with federal, state and local entities, both public and private.”

The Coast Guard’s Fifth District encompasses the mid-Atlantic region. Today, Maryland became the third state to sign such an Agreement.

“The signing of this MOA coordinates and strengthens the efforts of the Coast Guard and NRP in protecting the state against potential terrorist activity in the Chesapeake Bay area,” said Colonel Mark S. Chaney, Superintendent of the Maryland Natural Resources Police. “Concisely stated, it creates a multi-layered tactical approach to protecting strategic operations and structures located near, on, or over Maryland waterways.”

Continuing on the theme of public safety and in the spirit of Earth Day, Governor Ehrlich also announced the Chesapeake Bay Safety and Environmental Hotline, a new toll-free phone number for citizens to call to report a problem on state waters. Effective immediately, 1-877-224-7229 will allow citizens to report any of the following:

  • Boating accident or reckless activity

  • Fish kill or algal bloom

  • Floating debris that poses a hazard to navigation

  • Illegal fishing activity

  • Public sewer leak or overflow

  • Oil or hazardous material spill

  • Critical area or wetlands violation

  • Suspicious or unusual activity
One phone call will now direct citizens to the appropriate agency to make a report 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “It’s the 911 of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Governor Ehrlich.

For more information about Governor Ehrlich’s commitment to public safety, visit http://www.gov.state.md.us/safety.html.

For more information about the Natural Resources Police, visit http://www.dnr.state.md.us/nrp/.



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