State Sen. Scott Martin (R-13) was elected Friday as the chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission through 2023, serving on an organization with major implications for the economy and agricultural sector of Lancaster County.
The Chesapeake Bay Commission, a legislative body created in 1980, is designed to advise members of the general assemblies of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia regarding issues related to the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed, including the environment and pollution mitigation.
A substantial amount of the commission’s work revolves around improving water quality in the Bay, including lowering the amount of nutrients and soil runoff. Lancaster County agriculture has been singled out as one of the major contributors to high nutrient levels in the waterway and has been targeted by the group for efforts to lower pollution levels.
Martin, who was elected chairman at the commission’s meeting last week in Maryland, was first appointed to the group in 2019. He served as vice chair last year and will replace Maryland Sen. Sarah Elfreth, who served as chair through 2022.
As chair, Martin is expected to work with state and federal environmental officials, legislators and business owners within the Chesapeake Bay watershed to meet federal pollution reduction goals. Pennsylvania is under a federal mandate to reduce water pollution by 2025 by eliminating millions of pounds of nitrogen and phosphorous going into the watershed.
Besides his work with the commission, Martin also serves on the Environmental Resources & Energy Committee in the Pennsylvania Senate.
“I am honored and humbled to receive the support of the members to lead our efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay watershed and preserve this resource for generations to come,” Martin said in a press release. “Meeting the federal government’s mandates will require a great deal of cooperation among all stakeholders, and I look forward to working with all parties to find solutions that are both effective in reducing pollution and cost-efficient for taxpayers and businesses.”
Besides Martin’s election, the commission also announced the selection of Anna Killius as its new executive director. Killius takes over the organization after the retirement in November of longtime executive director Ann Swanson.
Killius previously worked as a legal intern for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in the organization’s office in Richmond while attending law school at the College of William & Mary. She most recently served as the advocacy director for the James River Association in Virginia and was a member of the legislative staff for Maryland Congressman John Sarbanes, handling Chesapeake Bay policy issues.
“The Commission chose a terrific person for this position,” said Hilary Falk, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “Anna is a skillful, knowledgeable, and respected partner of CBF and other environmental organizations. She has broad experience with the federal and state legislative processes and will be a tremendous asset leading the Commission’s important work. We look forward to working with Anna.”