Dating back to his days as a member of the General Assembly, Peter has been a strong champion of our environment and natural resources. As comptroller, Peter has used his seat on the powerful Board of Public Works to oppose sprawl development and proposals that threaten our environment, and has been a dedicated advocate for meaningful land preservation efforts and Program Open Space projects.
Since taking office, Peter has voted to invest more than $1.4 billion in environmental protection and land preservation -- including $708 million for Program Open Space, resulting in more than 100,000 acres permanently preserved and protected from development.
Peter has also taken a leading role in reforming the way we invest in Program Open Space. He led the effort to create a Program Open Space acquisition scoring system that ensures land acquisitions are carefully vetted for ecological and recreational benefits. In 2009, he voted against spending $3.4 million to acquire a 1,600-acre property in Somerset County. This property was not at risk of being developed and purchasing it would have jeopardized investments in other critical Program Open Space acquisitions that would have been more fiscally prudent.
Cognizant of the critical role that the Board of Public Works plays in safeguarding our environment, Peter has been unapologetic in opposing proposals that threaten our natural resources. He strongly opposed the approval of the Four Seasons housing development on Kent Island, which has resulted in significant harmful stormwater runoff to the Bay. He voted against directing state money for the Southern Kent Island Sewer Project, which opens hundreds of vacant lots to additional sprawl development in an environmentally-sensitive part of the Chesapeake Bay. He voted against granting a wetlands license to Vulcan Construction for dredging in the Tred Avon River, and most recently, joined the Board in unanimously rejecting Columbia Gas’ request to place a gas pipeline under the Western Maryland Rail Trail.
Within his own agency, Peter has taken steps to reduce paper use. Thanks to his leadership and investments in technology, more than 90% of Marylanders file their state tax returns through the agency’s secure online portal. That means the agency not only saves money through printing and labor costs, but the agency is no longer using more than 160 million sheets of paper to print paper return booklets annually.