BALTIMORE (July 28, 1998) -- State and federal officials announced today that Maryland has joined 33 other states in developing an environmental performance partnership agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Maryland departments of the Environment (MDE) and Natural Resources (DNR) have entered into a partnership with EPA Region III officials to improve the effectiveness of Maryland's environmental programs and to better coordinate efforts to protect human health and the environment.
"An important aspect of the agreement is that it recognizes the importance of public participation in developing our public health and environmental protection activities," said MDE Secretary Jane T. Nishida. "This improves our accountability to the Governor, legislators and the public."
This agreement, which fosters interagency cooperation and an improved federal-state working relationship, is a first step in a process of providing long-term benefits to the public by using results-based strategic planning. This planning will result in development of long-term workplans that allow these agencies to integrate their efforts. To measure and report progress, the partners have developed over 40 public health and ecosystem protection indicators or goals related to air and water quality, waste disposal and recycling efforts, lead poisoning prevention, the Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Bay protection and restoration activities, wildlife and their habitat, landscape modification and Smart Growth, among many others.
"This agreement puts us on a path of superior environmental results with greater government efficiency," said EPA Regional Administrator W. Michael McCabe.
While the agreement will enable the partners to evaluate how well existing programs are improving the quality of Maryland's air, land and water resources, it also will evaluate how well the partners are working together to achieve improvements. Future agreements will reflect changing environmental conditions, identify joint priorities, and better target funding for programs that are more likely to achieve greater environmental successes.
"Going through the process of jointly developing environmental indicators, looking at each department’s activities in relation to the environment, and establishing joint goals, has increased communications and led to greater understanding and cooperation among the agencies, organizations and individuals working to improve our environment," said DNR Secretary John Griffin.
The state and federal partners received comments from a variety of stakeholder groups and the public during the development of the agreement. Formal public meetings were held at locations across the state to discuss Maryland's environmental goals and indicators, which focus on issues such as, improving air and water quality, protecting Chesapeake Bay resources, ensuring adequate wildlife habitat, and promoting sound landscape modification and Smart Growth.