BALTIMORE, MD (May 15, 2007) – Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Secretary Shari T. Wilson enlisted future generations in their ongoing fight against environmental crimes this morning when they visited Baltimore City school students. Maryland’s top officials in law enforcement and the environment continue their battle against environmental crime by teaching a class of students at Calverton Middle School about the importance of reporting environmental crimes. They also visited Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring in the afternoon.
Attorney General Gansler and Secretary Wilson held an outdoor class with science students from the school at a mock environmental crime scene staged by members of MDE’s Emergency Response Division. Students worked in groups to “process the scene” and look for clues that helped them try to “solve” the crime while learning how criminal investigators and emergency responders work together to fight environmental crimes.
“By participating in this exercise we are hoping these young people will develop an environmental ethic,” said Environment Secretary Wilson. “We’re fostering a belief that crimes and activities that harm our natural world are just as reportable and significant as crimes against individuals - perhaps even more so - and there are easy steps that each of us can take to make a positive difference in that effort.”
The sixth graders have been preparing for the special class, which lasted 90 minutes, by studying and researching environmental issues.
“Teaching kids about environmental crime, and how they can help protect their communities keeps the kids safe and encourages prompt reporting,” said Attorney General Gansler. “We also want to get the message out to the public that these crimes are felonies and carry significant jail terms.”
The “scene” is designed to represent a typical hazardous waste dumping site that criminal investigators and emergency responders regularly handle. Secretary Wilson and the Attorney General lead the session and then spoke with the students about types of environmental crimes and what damage they cause to communities and the environment.
This is the first joint environmental crime outreach event for the new administration. It continues the collaboration between the Maryland Attorney General’s Office and MDE in the fight against environmental crime.
To report suspected environmental crimes, call the Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Unit at (410) 537-3333, your local police or MDE’s 24-hour hotline toll free in Maryland at (866) MDE-GOTO.
MDE has and continues to take steps to communicate enforcement activities more clearly including a new website: www.mde.state.md.us/AboutMDE/enfcomp.asp. For more information about the Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Unit, visit: www.oag.state.md.us/ECU/. For more information on environmental education, visit: mde.maryland.gov/programs/Marylander/outreach/Pages/MDEEducation.aspx.