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Governor O’Malley Signs Highlands Action Program Charter
Unique program to restore and protect region’s environment, culture and economy
ANNAPOLIS – Governor Martin O’Malley has joined the Governors of Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia in signing The Highlands Action Program (HAP) Charter, a state, local and federal effort to protect and restore the environmental quality, economic vitality and cultural heritage of the Appalachian region.
“The Appalachians host some of the most diverse and important resources on Earth,” said Governor O’Malley, “and I am delighted to join Governors Kaine, Manchin and Rendell in supporting a community-based program that connects the economic future with the environmental future of the Highlands’ working families.”
A Congressionally mandated program under the Environmental Protection Agency, HAP encompasses 79,000 acres including Maryland’s four western counties and significant portions of Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The program is designed to be locally based and directed, with an emphasis on environmental restoration and protection and job creation.
“This region has historic ties to natural resources, both as a critical component of residents’ daily lives and as an economic driver,” Governor O’Malley continued. “Those resources were key to the establishment of our great nation—now it’s time to give something back.”
Liaisons in each state closely coordinate the program and help link communities, non-governmental organizations, local, state and federal governments and the business sector. In Maryland, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has already begun working with other state and local government agencies and private organizations to initiate several small restoration and education projects and establish an Advisory Board. DNR will continue to be the lead in working with partners to develop projects that improve the condition of natural resources and the economic foundation of the region.
County Administrator of Washington County Gregory B. Murray said, "In Washington County we have put into place the Department of Environmental Management, which will closely monitor and improve our water quality and use of other natural resources. We commend Governor O'Malley's commitment and pledge to work closely with DNR in these initiatives.”
April 12, 2007
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 446,000 acres of public lands and 18,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov