Summit Highlights Broad Environmental Agenda

A January 29 Baltimore Sun blog article reports on the 19th Annual Citizens’ Campaign for the Environment Legislative Summit, which was held in the Miller Senate Office Building in Annapolis yesterday.  Environmental groups presented their 2013 Session agenda and honored Governor Martin O’Malley for his various environmental initiatives.

The 2013 environmental agenda includes support for offshore wind, a ban on natural gas hydraulic fracturing (fracking) pending the completion of an assessment study, reporting requirements on pesticide use, passage of a plastic bag and bottle deposit legislation, and protecting recently secured environmental funding and regulations.

Various legislators, including the chairs of the House and Senate environmental committees also spoke.  House Environmental Matters Chair Maggie McIntosh and a co-sponsor of the bottle and plastic bag deposit legislation, stated that she believed Governor O’Malley would unveil a “zero-waste” policy next year that would divert materials going into landfills and expand waste-to-energy facilities.

McIntosh, a Baltimore Democrat who heads the House Environmental Matters Committee, said one of her more important roles this year would be to “play defense” to block bills she said are aimed at repealing or weakening sweeping environmental legislation passed last year.  …

Sen. Joan Carter Conway, another Baltimore Democrat who is chairwoman of her chamber’s committee on Education, Health and Environmental Affairs, suggested she would try to push in the other direction, closing loopholes in the legislation and pressing local governments that are dragging their feet on complying with the law.

“We need to be a lot greener,” she said. “A carrot may be better, but I like the stick.

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