Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (April 28, 2011) - At a meeting of the Executive Cabinet today, Governor Martin O'Malley announced the appointment of Robert M. Summers, Ph.D. as Maryland's Secretary of the Environment. Summers has served as Deputy Secretary for the Department of the Environment since January 2007 and has been Acting Secretary since December 2010. Throughout his 27-year career, Dr. Summers has been a key contributor to Maryland's nationally prominent environmental programs, including the multi-jurisdictional Chesapeake Bay restoration effort.

"I am pleased to announce Dr. Summers as our Secretary for the Environment," said Governor O'Malley. "With his highly-regarded expertise, straightforward approach to finding workable solutions, and passion for clean water, clean air and a healthy environment, we are confident that his continued leadership will serve the people of our State well as we work to protect our environmental priorities."

"I am honored to be asked to lead the Department's work to safeguard drinking water, clean up the Chesapeake Bay and local rivers and streams, make our air healthier to breathe, and protect families from hazards -- including childhood lead poisoning," said Dr. Summers. "I am committed to application of the best science, the best service using e-commerce, predictability and transparency in permitting, and encouraging innovative technologies to protect public health and the environment. We have an enormous opportunity to foster innovation and create jobs with the Bay and environmental restoration, just like we are doing with climate change and renewable energy."

For 27 years, Summers has served in various capacities within Maryland's progressive and nationally recognized environmental programs, with emphasis on scientific and technical issues related to water pollution control, drinking water protection and federal, State and local government environmental laws and regulations. Summers has worked at MDE since its creation in 1987 and has served as the Director of the Water Management Administration and Director of the Technical and Regulatory Services Administration.

"Dr. Summers' history of dedication to the Chesapeake Bay and the State of Maryland, as well as his professional background and personal skills, will make him a valuable member of Governor O'Malley's cabinet as Maryland moves forward in its ongoing role as a leader on environmental matters," said Kim Coble, Maryland Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

"Dr. Summers' technical expertise as well as his leadership role in developing Maryland's portion of the Chesapeake Bay restoration strategy reflects a sound understanding of the science involved and the steps necessary to achieve the Bay restoration and cleanup," said Kathleen T. Snyder, President and CEO of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. "Dr. Summers has also shown the ability to balance numerous competing interests and broad-reaching requirements -- such an approach ensures environmental protection with consideration to impacts on all sectors."

Dr. Summers currently serves as Maryland's Commissioner on the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin and the Appalachian States' Low Level Radioactive Waste Commission.

Dr. Summers received his B.A. (1976) and Ph.D. (1982) in Environmental Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, under the tutelage of the late Dr. M. Gordon ("Reds") Wolman.

Some of the Department's achievements under the O'Malley-Brown Administration include:

  • Leading development of a strong State Watershed Implementation Plan, as part of EPA's plan to restore the Chesapeake Bay;
  • Enacting new regulations to reduce pollution from stormwater runoff, the fastest-growing source of Bay pollution;
  • Issuing new regulations and a permit on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations to, for the first time, implement manure handling requirements on 85 percent of poultry litter generated from Maryland's poultry operations;
  • Jump-starting the Bay Restoration Fund septic upgrades program;
  • Aggressively enforcing the State's lead laws, testing more children for lead poisoning and reporting fewer children with lead poisoning than ever before;
  • Implementing the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2009, which calls for a 25 percent reduction in state greenhouse gas emissions by 2020;
  • Leading Maryland's participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the country's first cap-and-trade program, which has raised $162.4 million for programs to promote cleaner energy sources, energy efficiency and conservation, and provide rate relief for low and moderate income households; and
  • Implementing Maryland's Clean Cars legislation, implementing stricter vehicle emission standards targeted at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality.