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Folks,

If you're not familiar with this bill, it prohibits hydraulic clam dredging (strip-mining, basically)in the Md. coastal bays. After several years of hard work, the Md.Saltwater Sportsfishermens Assn. & others finally got a bill through both Md. houses, but apparently, the Governor needs some encouragement to sign the thing.

Attached is an email I received today about this matter. If anyone feels comfortable doing so, it might help those of us here in Md. out if some emails showed up in the Governors mailbox. Even doing a cut & paste with one of the below paragraphs would be a great help, as well as original thoughts on the matter from any of you that enjoy fishing down here and don't mind throwing in your $.02 worth.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post.

Members,

Our contacts in Annapolis have informed us that MD Governor O'Malley is hesitating signing Bill HB964 which was passed by both the House and the Senate -- apparently after getting an onslaught of mail from watermen and other opponents of this Bill.

We need YOU to help reverse this tide and we ask you to email/call his office (governor@gov.state.md.us and 410-974-3901/1-800-811-8336) to state your support for this Bill.

Here are a couple of examples you can use as a reference for your message -- try to use unique language. Please don't delay -- do it today!

Thanks,

(name deleted by Steve)

Governor O’Malley:

Since both the Maryland House of Delegates and the Senate have approved the Hydraulic Clam Dredging Prohibition HB 964, I hope that you will promptly sign the bill into law. If you or your staff have any doubts about the harmful effects of the hydraulic clam dredging operations on the Maryland Coastal Bays, please look at the pictures and testimony that were presented by Delegates Mathias and Conway at the House hearing on the bill on February 28, 2007. This bill was supported by the Ocean City Council, the Worcester County Commissioners, Assateague Coastal Trust, Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen Association, Ocean Pines Anglers Club, Dr. Harry Womack of Salisbury University, Representatives of the Maryland Attorney General's Office, Maryland Coastal Conservation Association, Ocean Pines Marine Advisory Committee, League of Conservation Voters, and several charter boat captains from Ocean City. When the Salisbury Daily Times newspaper took a poll, over 60% of the respondents were in favor of banning hydraulic clam dredging.

I hope you will follow the lead of Virginia, Delaware, and New Jersey who have already banned this practice. The opponents say there is no "science" to support the ban. Having seen the pictures and observed the process first hand, I doubt that the watermen can present any "science" that the practice of strip mining the shallow coastal bays is beneficial.

I know that your administration is more aware of the environmental problems in the State. Please sign the bill into law to further demonstrate your support to resolving long time abuses to Maryland's environment.

Thank you,

----------------

Dear Governor:

I AM WRITING TO IMPLORE YOU TO SIGN THE CLAM DREDGING LEGISLATION WHICH

BANS HYDRAULIC DREDGING FOR CLAMS IN OUR COASTAL BAYS. AS YOU KNOW, MARYLAND

IS THE ONLY STATE IN THE MID ATLANTIC AREA THAT PERMITS THIS ACTIVITY

WHICH IS HARMFUL TO OUR ESTUARY. MANY CIVIC AND CONSERVATION GROUPS

RECOGNIZE THE DAMAGE THAT IS DONE TO THE ENVIRONMENT AS A RESULT OF

HYDRAULIC DREDGING. THE NUMBER OF COMMERCIAL CLAMMERS INVOLVED THIS YEAR

(4) IS AT AN ALL TIME LOW. NOW IS THE TIME TO ELIMINATE THIS PRACTICE.

PLEASE DO THE RIGHT THING AND SIGN THE BILL.

THANK YOU

---------------------

Governor O'Malley:

It has taken a lot of time and effort by numerous environmental organizations, recreational fisherman and local government groups and individuals in Worcester county to finally have a bill passed to ban hydraulic clam dredging in "our" coastal bays despite the persistent opposition of Senator Stoltzfus and his chosen accomplices. Please , Mr. O'Malley, sign HB964 banning hydraulic clam dredging in the coastal bays for everyone that visits Ocean City and all the people that reside in Worcester County.

Thank You Sincerely,

------------------------

Dear Governor O'Malley,

I fervently ask you to sign Bill HB964 that was passed overwhelmingly by both he House and the Senate and will eliminate one of the harmful practices that endanger the beautiful but fragile coastal bays of Maryland. This Bill has the support of ALL the Communities adjoining these waters and organizations devoted to improving its environmental health, including; the City Council, Worcester County Commissioners, Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermens Association (8000+ members in Maryland), Assateague Coastal Trust, Ocean Pines Anglers Club, and the Maryland Coastal Conservation Association.

I understand that you purport to support improving Maryland's environment. A perfect way to show that you are not hypocritical on this issue is to sign Bill HB964.

Sincerely

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