MACo’s Legislative Committee received an update on the state’s pending “Aligning for Growth” (AfG) policy on September 27. The AfG policy, also known as “Accounting for Growth,” will dictate how new development must offset the water pollution it generates. The policy is required to be included in Maryland’s draft Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) that must be submitted to the EPA by the end of 2018. There have been several prior unsuccessful attempts to create an AfG policy. As previously reported on Conduit Street, MACo has offered some preliminary comments on the two potential AfG options being currently being considered.
Maryland Department of the Environment Water and Science Administration Assistant Director Matthew Rowe provided a presentation on the current plan and potential options for the development of an AfG policy. Rowe noted that the AfG policy is primarily designed to offset water pollution generated by: (1) onsite sewage disposal systems (OSDS) or septic systems; and (2) stormwater runoff. The two potential options being considered include: (1) an OSDS/Forest Conversion option that requires offsets on new OSDS growth and development on forest land; and (2) a Lowest Per Capita Loading option that set offset requirements based on county-specific pollution loading maps.
Rowe also stated that near-term goals for the AfG policy include soliciting preliminary stakeholder feedback and developing a detailed timeline for the policy’s development with a December 2018 deadline. Mid-term goals include fleshing out the policy options and considering stakeholder input.
MACo anticipates being involved throughout the AfG policy development process. For further information please contact MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp at 401.269.0043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.