Take Action to Put Environmental & Community Advocates on the Patuxent River Commission

Take action today to ask your legislators to reinstate environmental and community advocates to the Patuxent River Commission. SB367 & HB716 sponsored by Sen. Paul Pinsky, Del. Mary Lehman and many others would make the Patuxent Riverkeeper a permanent member of the Patuxent River Commission.

Secretary of Planning Robert McCord dismissed Patuxent Riverkeeper Fred Tutman and others from the Patuxent River Commission, which was outside of his jurisdiction to do. The justification he articulated to the Baltimore Sun — that Fred Tutman in particular was not reappointed out of a desire to “have new perspectives added to the commission” — seems short-sighted at best, if not outright disingenuous. The Commission’s enabling legislation clearly states that new “citizen” appointees must be ratified by the Maryland Senate and appointed by Governor Hogan. By removing the commission’s most outspoken advocates for the environment, the administration is making it very clear that its priorities are with developers and not protecting communities and the environment.

Moreover, the Patuxent Riverkeeper has a long history of performing very practical on-the-ground tasks for the Commission that it is unable to do itself within the watershed, such as rallying citizens around tree plantings, trash cleanups, running a water trail website and serving as fiscal agent for grants the Commission has applied for in the past. Historically, the Patuxent Riverkeeper has had a hand-in-glove and synergistic working partnership with the State’s only River Commission.

Fred Tutman has served on the commission since 1996, and it is difficult to imagine anyone who has a greater vested interest in the health of the Patuxent River. As the founding Patuxent Riverkeeper since 2004, his office is located in Upper Marlboro. Fred Tutman still lives on the farm where he was born and raised, along the Patuxent, as were seven generations of his ancestors. The Patuxent has been his life’s work and his home river for most of his adult life.

Take action today to urge your legislators to support SB367/HB716!