Counties Oppose Overly Broad Reporting Requirements

On March 2, 2022, Associate Policy Director Dominic Butchko testified before the House Environment and Transportation and Economic Matters Committees in opposition to HB 880 – Environment – Impact of Actions on Climate, Labor, and Environmental Justice. The bill prohibits all county governments from taking very widely defined actions unless the county has conducted detailed evaluations and assessments of the impact of the action on the climate, labor and employment, environmental justice, and any overburdened community.

From the MACo testimony

HB 880 is introduced with the noble goal of ensuring county actions are both socially and environmentally well considered. Counties recognize and support their role in ensuring that Maryland maintains a socially and ecologically healthy environment. Many counties use a variety of metrics and data points when deciding policy and implementation. While counties do recognize the intent of HB 880, this legislation would prove to be immensely problematic for even routine local government operations.

If passed, the implementation of the reporting requirements under HB 880 would effectively serve to slow the actions of county government, if not grind them to a halt. Requiring reports for nearly any action can substantially add to project costs and divert resources away from communities that need them most. The specific standards under the bill could trigger avenues for litigation or challenges to nearly any county function – creating grave cost and timing concerns as counties seek to serve residents effectively. Furthermore, requiring additional voluminous reports to be conducted based on the original report’s findings would create further delay and backlog.

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