MACo recently received a letter from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) regarding a new law transferring environmental noise enforcement authority to local governments. The new law, which takes effect October 1, 2012, gives local political subdivisions of Maryland authority to issue corrective orders and bring action against violators of noise regulations.
In their letter, MDE provides details regarding the change in the law and emphasized the importance of the upcoming rule-making. Specifically, MDE writes,
Under the new law, local governments have discretion and are not required to adopt a noise enforcement program as a result of authority transfer. Also, MDE continues to retain responsibility for maintaining the state-wide noise standards as well as granting justified exemptions to those standards for specific types of uses. The granting of site-specific, temporary variances to the State’s or more restrictive local standards is slated to become a matter of local determination as the result of proposed changes to the existing environmental noise regulations.
The proposed regulatory changes are not yet public, but MDE will post an announcement when they have been published by the Maryland Register. The plan is to then move quickly through the rule-making process, with an aim of completing regulatory changes by the end of the calendar year. Current regulations are available here. A public information session to review regulatory changes is tentatively planned for November 13, 2012. The session will be held at MDE headquarters, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore MD 21230.
MDE provides resources regarding noise regulation on its noise web page. For more information on the new law and regulations, you may contact Marie Halka, Acting Director of the Sciences Services Administration.