Our Priorities for the 2018 Maryland Legislative Session

Capitol Dome in Annapolis, view of the Bay. Photo credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

We are gearing up for another legislative session in Maryland. Here are our priorities for the 2018 legislative session in Annapolis.

Forest Conservation Act: Maryland is losing forest to development daily and we are not adequately replacing those trees. Forests are vital for the health of Maryland’s waterways - they not only filter pollutants but they also act like a big sponge and soak up floodwaters. We need an amended Forest Conservation Act that will protect our most important forests.

Fix It, Fund It: The WMATA Metro system serving the greater DC area needs help. Years of deferring large scale maintenance and improvement projects have lead to a less reliable system. Public transportation is an important piece of a sustainable transportation system in Maryland, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing demand for impervious surfaces (like parking and new lanes).

Community Healthy Air Act: While Eastern Shore chicken houses have no smokestacks, they are generating a lot of air pollutants - including ammonia. Affected communities have asked for answers about the safety of the air they’re breathing, with no result. We're standing with Eastern Shore residents who are asking for basic air quality monitoring.

Safety in Oil by Rail: Trains carrying crude oil are crossing Maryland. In other states and in Canada, derailments have ended in explosion, property damage, loss of life, and oil spills. This bill would require a determination of what an emergency plan should contain and a review of existing emergency response plans to make sure they adequately address this safety hazard.

Septic System Pollution: We are still working to address pollution coming from septic systems, which are polluting our waterways with nitrogen and bacteria. Maryland's Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan (WIP) relies on reductions from septic systems, but in 2016 Governor Hogan rolled back the regulation that required nitrogen-reducing technology. Maryland cannot continue to ignore this growing problem.

Thanks to Clean Water members and actiivists, in 2017, we successfully passed the Keeping Antibiotics Effective Act and phased out the use of lead wheel weights and mercury switches and relays. We need to keep this momentum moving forward. Make sure you are signed up to receive Clean Water Emails! Throughout Session we will be sending action alerts and updates on how these bills (and others that spring up) are moving through the lawmaking process and we'll need you to join us to win for our water and communities.