State Revises Proposed “Accounting for Growth” Requirements

The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission’s WIP Workgroup considered the State’s newest proposal regarding Maryland’s “Accounting for Growth” (AfG) policy at its October 24 meeting.  The AfG policy will require all nitrogen and phosphorus water pollution generated by new growth to be offset.  The AfG policy is required by the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load.  Separately, the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012 (SB 236) requires the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is required to propose offsets for growth on septic systems by January 1, 2012

Key proposed changes include:

  • The septic system offset requirements will be separated from the AfG offset requirements and implemented without the nutrient trading program in place.
  • Require offsetting phosphorus as well as nitrogen
  • Counties are responsible for offsets after a period of 30 years or if the trading market fails
  • A fee-in-lieu will be available for nitrogen that would be paid into the Bay Restoration Fund and used by the State.
  • A land’s naturally occurring nitrogen and phosphorus load if it were forest land will be subtracted from the amount required to be offset post-development

Under the new proposed timeline, draft regulations for septic system offsets would drafted by November submitted to the Maryland Register before the end of the year.  Proposed regulations for the AfG requirements would be proposed by August of 2013 and be implemented by December 31 of 2013.

MACo will be submitting comments on the proposed changes by November 8.  County officials seeking to provide MACo with input on the proposals, please send your thoughts to Les Knapp (lknapp@mdcounties.org) by November 6.

Previous MACo Comments on AfG Policy

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