Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (November 23, 2010) – Having served a full four-year term as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Environment, MDE Secretary Shari T. Wilson announced today that she has requested not to be considered for another term at the agency. Governor Martin O’Malley commended Wilson for her service at the agency, noting strong leadership in the areas of climate change and pollution reduction.

“Serving Governor O’Malley and the State is an honor,” said Secretary Wilson. “The Governor is a leader with a great vision for Maryland’s environment. Restoring the Bay will be a win-win for the State and its economic future, and the Governor’s approach to frequently and routinely measuring progress of the Chesapeake Bay restoration is right on target and will make the difference.”

“I want to thank Shari Wilson for her service to the citizens of Maryland,” noted Governor O’Malley. “Her leadership to forge consensus for Maryland’s approach to climate change and reducing stormwater pollution, as well as her efforts to increase efficiency and accountability within the agency are to be commended. Shari brought an in-depth knowledge of environmental and public health issues to MDE, and her expertise will be missed.”

Wilson will step down as Secretary of the Department effective December 6, 2010. Wilson made a personal decision not to continue for a second term.

Governor O’Malley announced that Dr. Robert Summers will serve as Acting Secretary of MDE until a new Secretary is named. Summers currently serves as Deputy Secretary of the agency.

Under Secretary Wilson’s leadership, the Department of the Environment:

  • Led development of the recent draft Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan judged by the Environmental Protection Agency to be the most satisfactory State plan submitted;
  • Restored a consistent baseline of environmental enforcement to ensure a level playing field for the vast majority of regulated entities that are in compliance; 
  • Implemented the State’s first-ever controls of coal combustion byproducts to prevent future groundwater contamination; 
  • Led the Maryland Climate Commission, which for the first time developed a state plan that provides a road map for addressing climate change, and forged consensus in the legislature leading to adoption of a statewide law requiring a 25 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020; 
  • Upgraded a suite of controls to reduce stormwater runoff — one of the two growing sources of pollution to the Bay;
  • Led the development and successful implementation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative — the nation’s only carbon cap and trade program;
  • Implemented a suite of reforms within the agency to improve efficiency;
  • Assessed two of the largest penalties ever — a $1 million penalty for water pollution resulting from fly ash disposal and a $4 million penalty against Exxon for the 2006 spill in Jacksonville, Maryland.

Prior to being nominated for MDE Secretary in January of 2007, Wilson worked for Baltimore City in the law and planning departments and previously worked for the Department of Environment in a number of capacities, including Policy Director and manager of the superfund and brownfield cleanup Programs. She also served as an assistant attorney general.