Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan doubled down on his efforts to seize the issue of the environment from Democratic rival Anthony G. Brown Tuesday, releasing a video in which he criticizes the O'Malley-Brown administration's efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay.
In the video, Hogan tells viewers that he would help the bay by "standing up for Maryland" and demanding that New York and Pennsylvania do more to clean up the Susquehanna River, which flows into the bay just southeast of the Conowingo Dam. Hogan charges in the ad that the two states are responsible for 43 percent of the sediment coming down to the dam and that they are "doing nothing to clean up the bay."
Hogan suggests that Marylanders are footing too much of the bill for bay cleanup.
"This administration is trying to push all of those problems on to the backs of struggling families in Maryland, have them pay for the entire clean up," he said.
Hogan said Maryland needs to "push back" against the federal Environmental Protection Agency, though he does not spell out how the state would do so. Hogan supports the abolition of storm water cleanup fees imposed in some Maryland jurisdictions under a mandate from the EPA.
"We've got to get the other states to pay their fair share," he says in the video. "We've got to be tough, we've got to stand up for Marylanders, we've got to fight back against the federal government, and we've got to, if necessary, take these other states to court."
The video is part of a recent offensive Hogan has launched seeking to capitalize on an issue that usually benefits Democrats. In a news release last week and in a presentation to county officials Saturday, Hogan emphasized the Conowingo Dam as the No. 1 issue facing the bay -- a view not shared by the most prominent environmental group.
On Monday, Hogan issued a release criticizing the O'Malley administration for dipping into dedicated environmental funds to balance the state budget -- a practice most governors have used during economic downturns.
In his appearance before the Maryland Association of Counties Saturday, Brown emphasized the importance of modernizing storm water systems and said nobody who opposes the fees -- derided by Hogan as the "rain tax" -- could be serious about bay cleanup.