MDE Briefs Carroll County Commissioners on Accounting For Growth Policy

An October 4 Carroll County Times article recounts recent briefing to the Carroll County Board of Commissioners by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) on the State’s forthcoming Accounting for Growth (AFG) Policy.  The Policy will require that nitrogen and phosphorous water pollution generated by new growth and development be offset.  A critical aspect of the Policy is the development of a nutrient credit trading market, which would allow developers to purchase water pollution credits made available by other land owners, including the agricultural sector.  The Policy is a component of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load.  From the article:

Commissioner Richard Rothschild, R-District 4, expressed concern about unintended consequences relating to the implementation of the [trading] policy. Rothschild said farmers may decide to stop farming and use their land to develop pollution credits to sell to developers.  …

Phil Hager, director of the county’s Department of Land Use, Planning and Development, said the policy is very complex and it is not yet fully known what it will mean to Carroll County homeowners and businesses.
[MDE Deputy Secretary David] Costello said the plan is to have the nutrient trading policies and guidelines completed by November. The plan is to develop the Accounting for Growth regulations by the end of the year and fully implement the policy by the winter of 2014, Costello said.

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