EDGEWATER, MD – Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5) delivered remarks today at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new, sustainable Charles McCurdy Mathias Laboratory on the campus of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater, Maryland. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Charles ‘Mac’ Mathias was a champion for clean water in the United States Senate in his day, and Maryland is fortunate to have Senator Ben Cardin as one of the fiercest advocates for clean water in our day.
“Even though he grew up far from the shores of the Chesapeake in Western Maryland, Mac Mathias understood its importance to all Marylanders as a cultural and economic focal point.
“Some say that the Chesapeake divides our state between two shores, but Mac Mathias recognized that it brings Marylanders together.
“His campaigns to clean up the bay have had a major impact in the lives of millions who live in its watershed.
“One of those successful efforts was to create the Chesapeake Bay program that has overseen cleanup and habitat restoration since 1983.
“A cleaner and healthier bay and watershed will be his lasting legacy and gift to the people of Maryland.
“And it is a gift as well to the people of the United States of America – because he saw in the Chesapeake a test case for learning about how we can restore and conserve bodies of water and their unique ecologies across the country.
“The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center has been engaged in that work since 1965, when it began as the Chesapeake Center for Field Biology.
“Since then, SERC has been contributing enormously to scholarly research on climate change, wildlife populations, and water ecosystems.
“I’m proud that this important work is being done in Maryland’s Fifth District and with this new laboratory, SERC will be able to continue its mission and expand it.
“In addition to having brought 300 construction jobs to our district, this new lab has the distinction of being one of the most energy efficient facilities of its kind in the United States – which is fitting, because cutting edge research into a cleaner environment ought to take place in a building that has as little an impact on the environment as possible.
“I hope that this new lab will not only produce important findings that further our understanding of the Chesapeake’s ecosystem and the effects of climate change but also serve as a model for other sustainable, LEED-certified buildings across the country.
“Mac Mathias would surely be proud of what we’ve achieved here together in securing $45 million of federal funding for its construction and coming together as a state and as concerned Marylanders intent on protecting the Chesapeake for years to come.
“I look forward to visiting and seeing the discoveries that emerge from this lab, and I thank SERC for continuing to make the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed the focus of its research, which has a global impact.”