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Friday, January 16, 2009

Horton Leads Chesapeake Bay Symposium February 4 at SU

SALISBURY, MD---When the Chesapeake Bay Foundation led the charge to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month to strengthen cleanup efforts in the bay, the landmark event evoked strong reactions from both environmentalists and government officials.

But will it be possible to restore the bay while continuing to pursue endless economic and population growth? Award-winning environmental author Tom Horton debates the issue with Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William Baker and Maryland Department of Planning Secretary Richard Hall during the symposium “Growth is Killing Chesapeake Bay: A Challenge to Maryland’s Government and Environmentalists.”

Moderated by Salisbury University Provost Tom Jones, the event takes place 7 p.m. Wednesday, February 4, in the Wicomico Room of the Guerrieri University Center. SU faculty will be on hand to provide economic and sociological responses, followed by an audience question-and-answer session.

“I don’t think you can talk about the sustainability of anything—Salisbury, the Chesapeake Bay, the planet—without talking about growth,” said Horton, adding that he plans to address the issue from both an economic and environmental standpoint.

A recent report issued by the U.S. Geological Survey typifies the dilemma. According to the survey’s study, global warming (often attributed at least in part to growth) may cause a “rapid and sustained” Arctic sea-ice melt in the next 100 years, placing coastal areas such as the Delmarva Peninsula in danger. In this scenario, growth would impact nature to the point that nature would disrupt growth—or even existence—in these areas.

The symposium occurs during the Global Population Speak Out, a unified international movement by scientists hoping to open public discussion of the link between population and environment.

Horton covered the environment for The Baltimore Sun for 32 years from 1972-2004 before leaving to become a freelance reporter and author. He has written seven books, including Bay Country, winner of the 1988 John Burroughs Award for the year's best book of nature writing. His articles have appeared in National Geographic, Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine and Smithsonian, among others.

Horton has been called “one of this country's most effective and profound environmental reporters” by the Sierra Club, which honored him with its prestigious David Brower Award for environmental reporting in 1997. He is currently an adjunct faculty member at SU.

Baker has led the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the largest not-for-profit conservation organization dedicated solely to preserving, protecting, and restoring the Chesapeake Bay, since 1982. Under his leadership the foundation has received many awards including the nation's highest environmental honor, the Presidential Medal for Environmental Excellence, in recognition of its education programs.

Hall began working with the department of planning as a planner in 1992, becoming director of land use planning and analysis in 2003. Throughout his career he has worked to synchronize the department’s efforts with the Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Bays programs, addressing growth issues throughout the state. As secretary he implemented the Priority Funding Area Program from the state’s 1997 Smart Growth Act, designed to encourage local governments to cluster growth in designated areas to help prevent developmental sprawl.

Sponsored by SU’s Environmental Issues Program, admission to the symposium is free and the public is invited. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at

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