This week, Governor Hogan announced his surprising new intent to phase out the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos not by passing a new law, but by starting a new regulatory process. Unfortunately, time and time again, we have seen the Maryland Department of Agriculture undermine environmental policy through a regulatory process that has minimal public input and accountability. Click here to tell your representatives: we must ban chlorpyrifos through legislation, not regulation.
Did you know that septic systems inspectors in Maryland don't have to be licensed? That's right - the person who paints your home has to go through more training, paperwork, and ongoing requirements than the person who checks that your poop will be processed properly. We're working on a bill to change that system; check out our testimony this week on SB254 below.
Yesterday, we testified in favor of House Bill 279, which would reduce the barriers that prevent people who want to reduce polluted stormwater runoff from installing green infrastructure on their own property. As we work to improve our local waterways, local governments should be making that easier, not harder! Here's what we had to say:
HB 279: Real Property - Restrictions on Use - Low-Impact Landscaping
House Environment and Transportation Committee
February 11, 2020
Did you know that Maryland lets counties get recycling credits for burning their trash and using the ash? The current Maryland Recycling Act allows municipalities to claim a 5% boost on their recycling just by using a trash incinerator, and also to count use of the highly toxic incinerator ash left over as recycling! Today, the House Environment and Transportation Committee held its hearing on HB179 to fix that problem. Here's what we had to say:
This week, the Baltimore County Council voted to pass Bill 37-19, which closes two loopholes that impacted open space requirements in the county. Previously, developers could count parking lot islands and private amenities towards their required open space acreage. Common sense dictates that little patches of grass surrounded by parking lot and private amenities, like rooftop pools, are not public recreational space.
Maryland recently completed a two-year study on the Chesapeake Bay Bridgethat included three recommendations for new crossings. The state is looking at potential bridges between Pasadena and Rock Hall, between Mayo and Easton, and alongside the current spans between Arnold and Kent Island. These sites, along with a "no build" option will be presented at community meetings throughout Maryland.
Today, the Maryland Department of the Environment announced that they are denying the permits to clear cut over 200 acres of Southern Maryland forest for a solar project.
Howard County has a lot of upcoming legislation with hearings scheduled in September. This includes CB38-2019, the Protect This Watershed bill.
Councilwoman Liz Walsh's CB38-2019 is a very big bill that is responding to the problem of waivers in the Patapsco Lower North Branch Watershed. Many laws involving the environment include waivers at the discretion of the overseeing agency, mainly to provide needed flexibility in unforeseen circumstances. When waivers become routine practice, they undermine the effectiveness of that legislation.
On Tuesday, August 20th, County Executive Pittman is holding a town hall at South River High School (201 Central Ave E, Edgewater, MD 21037) at 6:30 PM to present his proposed update to Anne Arundel County's Forest Conservation laws.
Forests throughout Maryland are disappearing, replaced by development. When trends are analyzed, it becomes apparent that Maryland's state minimum forest conservation practices are not doing a good job at protecting our contiguous and heavily forested parcels. It is in these heavily forested parcels that the state is losing hundreds of acres a year.