Environmental Groups Push 2013 Agenda

A January 12 Capital Gazette article highlights the agenda of environmental groups for the 2013 Session.  The article states that the environmental lobby will focus on the areas of:  (1) windpower; (2) natural gas hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”; (3) the Chesapeake Bay; (4) bag and bottle recycling; and (5) pesticides.

Environmental advocates had a banner year in 2012, winning victories on limiting new housing developments with septic systems and paying for fixing stormwater pollution.

They’re hoping to get even more environmentally-friendly bills passed in 2013, including a high-profile bill on windpower.

“There’s some cautious optimism that things we’re looking to do this year for the environment hopefully will get some traction,” said Erik Michelsen, who leads the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, a coalition of more than two dozen environmental advocacy groups.  …

Regarding the Chesapeake Bay, the article indicates that the environmental groups will focus on defending legislation adopted last Session rather than press for new initiatives.

“We are very cognizant of the wins we got last session. We want to defend them,” said [Maryland Executive Director Alison] Prost from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.  …

The article also discusses proposed legislation that would add a fee on plastic bags and put a deposit on plastic bottles.  MACo has traditionally opposed bottle deposit legislation, arguing that it would hurt county recycling efforts.  However, MACo might not oppose a bottle deposit system that would not take critical revenues away from local recycling programs and has not seen a final version of the “bottle bill.”

 “Things like bags and bottles are representative of stormwater runoff,” said Prost of the bay foundation. “For every bottle or bag you see, there’s sediment, phosphorus, oil that comes with it also.”

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