Murtugudde Supports Maryland Climate Bill with Testimony

ESSIC/AOSC Professor Raghu Murtugudde was enlisted in support of climate bill HB1134, that reached the State of Maryland House of Delegates Environmental Matters Committee on March 6, 2013.

Sponsored by Delegate Jeffrey D. Waldstreicher (D), HB1134 proposes the creation of a task force to both analyze and create solutions for reducing the impact of the heat island effect on the State.

The EPA's web-site provides the following basic definition of heat island effect:  "As urban areas develop, changes occur in their landscape.  Buildings, roads, and other infrastructure replace open land and vegetation.  Surfaces that were once permeable and moist become impermeable and dry. These changes cause urban regions to become warmer than their rural surroundings, forming an "island" of higher temperatures in the landscape."

Waldstreicher specifically sought Murtugudde's support and scientific expertise, particularly within the State's Chesapeake Bay region, where the impacts of heat island effect are thought to be exceedingly harmful to the watershed.

Murtugudde provided written testimony that was distributed to the Delegates on the Environmental Matters Committee, prior to the hearing March 6.

Murtugudde wrote, "It is my honor to testify in support of HB1134 which proposes to set up a Task Force to Study the Impact of Heat Island Effect on Maryland. Any knowledge we gain and the monitoring and data gathering efforts are absolutely essential for preparing the State of Maryland for the future of UHI including mitigation efforts and for the most optimal urban growth in the coming years and decades."

The outcome of the bill is still pending, as the subcommittee vote that would bring HB1134 to the floor of the House for final debate, has not been cast.  The initial HB1134 hearing before the Environmental Matters Committee can be viewed at the following link.

University of Maryland student Alice Goldberg (BA/Masters in Public Policy Candidate), who currently serves as an intern for Waldstreicher, was recognized by the Delegate at the start of the hearing for her past and ongoing efforts on the State's heat island issue.