The Honorable Paul S. Sarbanes, former U.S. Senator of Maryland

2016 Public Service Champion of the Chesapeake

U.S. Senator Paul S. Sarbanes (Ret.) has been a champion for the environment, for conservation and for the Chesapeake Bay since he was first elected to public office in 1966.   As a member of the Maryland General Assembly he co-authored the public law creating the real estate transfer tax mechanism for financing Maryland’s Program Open Space – one of the most progressive programs to fund state and local parks and land conservation in the country. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1970 and to the United States Senate in 1976, where he served five terms and helped enact every major piece of legislation to enhance the nation’s environmental quality — including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and Superfund, to name only a few.

Senator Sarbanes was born in Salisbury, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where he fostered his love of the Chesapeake.   “If a state could have a soul, Maryland’s would be the Chesapeake,” he often said. As Chair of the Maryland Congressional Delegation and as the senior member of Congress from the Chesapeake watershed, Sarbanes led Congressional efforts to restore the health of the Chesapeake from 1987 to his retirement in 2007. Among his legislative accomplishments are: EPA’s Chesapeake Restoration Act, the restoration of Poplar Island, NOAA’s Chesapeake statutory authority and Bay   Education Program, the federal native oyster restoration program, the National Park Service’s Chesapeake Gateways and Watertrails Program, and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, enacted in 2006. He has received numerous awards and recognition from the National and Maryland Leagues of Conservation Voters, the Waterkeeper Alliance, and the University of Maryland’s Truitt Award, among others, for his environmental achievements.

Senator Sarbanes graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.   His son, John Sarbanes, was elected to Maryland’s 3rd congressional district in 2006, the district that Paul Sarbanes represented for three terms prior to his election as senator.