Our Environment

Protecting the environment is not just about the future of our planet — it’s about jobs today and tomorrow, and the quality of life for all Marylanders and Americans. As our Senator, Chris will continue to be a leading force working to protect the Chesapeake Bay, address climate change and preserve our air, land, and water resources.


Since his first election to public office, Chris has been a tough and effective advocate for our environment.  Chris’s earliest efforts focused on protecting the Chesapeake Bay – our state’s natural treasure and an important economic asset for Maryland.  Chris wrote the law that banned drilling in sensitive areas of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and as Co-Chair of the Congressional Chesapeake Bay Watershed Caucus, he fought successfully to obtain historic boosts in federal funds to help preserve and protect the Bay for future generations.


Chris has also been a leader in the effort to address climate change, which poses a major threat to Maryland’s economy and way of life, especially for our coastal towns on the Eastern Shore, for Baltimore City, and for low-lying areas in Baltimore, Anne Arundel, and Harford counties.

Chris’s plan for addressing climate change is called the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act.  Backed by key environmental groups like the Sierra Club, this legislation is the one of the most aggressive proposals yet to prevent the most damaging impact of climate change on our communities.  It would reduce carbon pollution while at the same time putting money back in the pockets of middle class families nationwide.  Chris was honored as a Climate Champion by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network for his work in this area.  


The battle to stop climate change also presents new economic opportunities.  Through legislative initiatives such as Chris’s Green Bank Act, we can accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies — allowing us to reap the jobs, economic growth and trade advantages that go along with American leadership in this area on the global stage.

These efforts are not new to Chris. As a State Senator, he passed the Maryland Clean Energy Incentives Act in 2000 — a law that environmental groups praised “as the most comprehensive package of tax incentives to promote clean energy products anywhere in the country”.  


As a longtime hiker and fisherman, Chris has also worked to preserve Maryland’s natural resources.  He wrote the law to protect old growth forests in Maryland along the Savage River in Garrett County.  Chris supports Maryland’s moratorium on fracking and is a leading supporter of the “Frack Pack” legislation to close oil and gas loopholes and responsibly regulate the fracking industry at the federal level.  

Marylanders can count on Chris Van Hollen to be a champion for the environment because that’s not just what he says he will do — that’s what he has done since his first election to public office. Chris has been honored by an unprecedented coalition of Maryland environmental groups, including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, the Audubon Naturalist Society and Clean Water Action with a Conservation Legacy Award for “exceptional environmental leadership.”  It’s something he believes in deeply, and he’ll continue to be a tireless advocate for sound, effective, and science-based solutions as Maryland’s next U.S. Senator.

Chris has received a number of honors for his leadership on environmental issues over the years, including:

  • John V. Kabler Award – Maryland League of Conservation Voters
  • Climate Champion  – Chesapeake Climate Action Network
  • Conservation Legacy Award from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Sierra Club, Audubon Naturalist Society, 1000 Friends of Maryland, Clean Water Action, Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Maryland Public Interest Research Group, Maryland Citizens Campaign for the Environment
  • Clean Energy Champion Award – Maryland Clean Energy Center
  • National Park Heritage Award – National Parks Conservation Association
  • Humane Champion – Humane Society of the United States
  • Recognition Award – Teaming with Wildlife