Rural County Coalition Talks Preemption, Solar Siting, & Kirwan at 2019 Summer #MACoCon

Maryland Secretary of Natural Resources Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio

The Rural County Coalition received policy updates on solar siting and education funding issues at its 2019 MACo Summer Conference breakfast on August 15.

Maryland Secretary of Natural Resources Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio gave some brief welcoming remarks.

MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp then provided an update on two recent implied preemption cases involving the residential application of pesticides and the siting of large solar facilities. Knapp noted that while the courts found in favor of counties regarding pesticides, the courts also held that county land use and zoning was preempted by the Maryland Public Service Commission, who would have the final say on where a solar project could be sited.

MACo Associate Director Kevin Kinnally provided an update on the “Kirwan Commission” education spending recommendations and the pending legislation. Kinnally stated that the current recommendations would likely “smooth” the formula as opposed to making significant changes to the state and county spending percentages. Kinnally also discussed the effects the proposed changes would likely have on rural counties.

The Coalition is a chapter organization within MACo and was formed in 2011 by the governing bodies of Allegany, Carroll, Frederick and Washington Counties. Working in conjunction with MACo, the Coalition provides a voice for Maryland’s rural counties, allowing them to offer their unique perspective on important state and federal policy issues. Since its inception the Coalition has grown to include 16 member counties, including: Allegany, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Garrett, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico and Worcester.

Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Jack Wilson chaired the meeting.