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Van Hollen Touts Climate Fund In Annapolis

Joel McCord/WYPR
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (left), Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley look over flood protection plans at City Dock.

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen was at the Annapolis City Dock Tuesday, along with Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley, to press the case for his Polluters Pay Climate Fund Act.

The popular gathering place is increasingly vulnerable to flooding because of rising sea levels due to climate change.

Portions of the City Dock, the setting for festivals and concerts, are underwater 50-60 days a year. That’s a sharp increase from three to four days a half century ago.

City officials estimate that flood protection projects, including raising the walkways, building a new flood wall, and replacing and enlarging a nearby parking garage to accommodate vehicles displaced from the dock’s surface lot, will cost between $50 million and $60 million.

Van Hollen said his bill would require large US-based and foreign-owned fossil fuel companies to pay into a $500 billion fund. That, he says, will help pay for the projects and tackle climate change.

“Those who profited the most should also pay the most toward this fund,” Van Hollen said during a news conference. The fund, he added, would “provide resources that can be used for projects like this, like the one at City Dock.”

Work on the garage is expected to begin in January 2022 and the entire project is expected to be completed in March 2024.

Joel McCord is a trumpet player who learned early in life that that’s no way to make a living.