Press Release: Congress includes protection for Greenbury Point!

Published: December 14, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:       Contact: Jesse Iliff, Executive Director
December 14, 2023                                 Jesse@severnriver.org
                                                                    410-693-2324 

BREAKING: Senators Van Hollen and Cardin & Representative Sarbanes include protections for Greenbury Point in National Defense Authorization Act, passed by Congress, headed to Biden’s desk.

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which the U.S. Senate passed yesterday. President Biden is expected to sign the bill shortly after it lands on his desk.

The 2024 NDAA includes provisions championed by Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Rep. John Sarbanes that protects public access to Greenbury Point Conservation Area on Naval Support Activity (NSA) Annapolis property. For decades, the site has been managed as a cherished natural resources conservation area. About two years ago, plans surfaced to construct a second golf course on Greenbury Point, which would have graded hundreds of acres of meadow and woodland and introduced a permanent stream of pesticides and fertilizers into the critical area buffer of the Severn River.

The specific NDAA language is as follows:

SEC. 2855. LIMITATION ON AUTHORITY TO MODIFY OR RESTRICT PUBLIC ACCESS TO GREENBURY POINT CONSERVATION AREA AT NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND.

(a) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in subsection (b), the Secretary of the Navy may not modify or restrict public access to the Greenbury Point Conservation Area at Naval Support Activity Annapolis, Maryland.

(b) EXCEPTIONS.—The limitation in subsection (a) shall not apply to—

(1) temporary restrictions to protect public safety that are necessitated by emergent situations, hazardous conditions, maintenance of existing facilities, or live fire exercises; or

(2) the terms of a lease or transfer of the Greenbury Point Conservation Area to another public entity

The Severn River Association is proud of our congressional representatives for listening to the pleas of their constituents and taking action to protect this invaluable natural resource, one of the last large public natural areas on the waterfront of the Severn River. 

The Severn River Association’s executive director Jesse Iliff praised the move. “Over the past 18 months, the Severn River Association has worked closely with our partners at the Chesapeake Conservancy to build the grassroots support required to prompt this act of Congress and achieve this  protection. There is more work to be done to ensure these provisions are not side-stepped or misapplied, but we are delighted by this result, and applaud our federal delegation for their staunch protection of the Severn River and the Chesapeake Bay.”

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Founded in 1911, the Severn River Association is the oldest river group in the country. The mission of the Severn River Association is to connect the people who live, work, and play on the Severn River to restore and protect it for all of our communities. www.severnriver.org