Candidate Close Up: Robert Ehrlich (Part 3 of 4)
The former governor answers questions from Patch.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This video is the third of four we are posting before the Nov. 2 General Election. Both Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley and his Republican rival, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., agreed to sit down to answer questions from Patch readers, but Ehrlich had to cancel. That's why the quality of the two videos differ. We did our best to reschedule with Ehrlich but ultimately had to settle for a less intimate setting.
In this installment Ehrlich touts his environmental record, naming three intiatives that he led when he was governor: the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund, the Corsica River Project, brownfields reform and the rural legacy program.
Yet four of the state's main environmental groups — Environment Maryland, the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club, Clean Water Action and the Maryland League of Conservation Voters — have all endorsed (hotline: http://www.environmentmaryland.org/newsroom/other-news/other-news/environmental-groups-claim-ehrlich-is-inflating-his-record) Gov. Martin O'Malley .
Environment Maryland, the Sierra Club chapter and Clean Water Action praised Ehrlich for the "flush tax" charged to users of septic systems to fund wastewater treatment plant upgrades. But they all said (hotlink: http://www.hometownannapolis.com/news/top/2010/10/01-41/Enviros-blast-Ehrlich-praise-OMalley.html) the Republican has been inflating his record on the environment.
While in office Ehrlich streamlined the process for cleaning up "brownfields," industrial waste sites known as "brownfields."
His Corsica River Project steered resources at efforts to remove Chesapeake Bay tributaries from the Environmental Protection Agency's list of impaired waters, but critics say it was a piecemeal approach to a problem that requires comprehensive targeting of all the bay's tributaries.
"I love that model because it's good for the environment, but it's good for taxpayers," he said. "I just love the model of taking the most polluted — Back River is something we're going to look at — and turn it around."
He supported the rural legacy program, which preserves open space, but was also widely criticized for using open space funds to balance the budget and for helping to orchestrate a deal that gave pristine parkland to a politically influential developer.