Big Changes Proposed for Solar Siting

Staff for the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) have issued a rulemaking request with significant proposed changes to the solar siting process. The changes, if adopted by the Commission into the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) would reform what is considered a "complete" application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to proceed. Background Following a recommendation outlined in the Governor’s Task Force on Renewable Energy Development and Siting (REDS) final report, the…

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Commissioner Wantz Becomes Chair of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council

Earlier this week, Carroll County Commissioner Steve Wantz became Board Chair for the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC).  Commissioner Wantz has been involved with the BMC since 2015, and earlier this week assumed the role of Board Chair. “I am proud to represent Carroll County on the BMC,” said Commissioner Wantz. “The region’s strength and success are valuable to the county, the region and Maryland as a whole. I look forward to continuing regional collaborative efforts…

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Commissioner Corchiarino Appointed to Chesapeake Bay Trust Board of Trustees

Queen Anne's Board of County Commissioners President Chris Corchiarino has been appointed to be a member of the Chesapeake Bay Trust Board of Trustees by Governor Hogan.  The Chesapeake Bay Trust is a nonprofit organization that endeavors to promote awareness and participation of local residents in the restoration and protection of the Bay. The trust provides resources for improvements to the Chesapeake Watershed through initiatives like its restoration grant program. Corchiarino, an attorney, has represented…

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St. Mary’s Approves Broadband Action Plan

This week the Commissioners of St. Mary's County gave approval to a Broadband Plan of Action. The plan outlined achievements of the last five months including notable improvements to internet accessibility in the county. More than 61 miles of cable infrastructure have been installed in the last five months, helping to connect nearly 300 households with students to the internet. The County has also purchased more than 500 hotspots for students, and worked to establish…

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Chesapeake Bay Receives Another D+ Grade

In its 2020 “State of the Bay” report, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) gave the health of the Bay an aggregate grade of D+. The overall grade remains unchanged from the last report issued in 2018.  The biennial reports grade the Bay on 13 indicators in three categories: (1) pollution; (2) habitat; and (3) fisheries. The report indicates that while progress has been made in water quality, the Bay's overall score suffered due to a…

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Baltimore City Postpones Plastic Bag Ban Due to COVID-19

Today, Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott signed an Executive Order postponing implementation of the City's ban on plastic bags that was set to take effect later this month. The start date of the Comprehensive Bag Reduction ordinance will be temporarily pushed back to July 9, 2021 to ease pressure on retailers during the COVID-19 crisis and allow the City more time to best implement the law. The ordinance, commonly know as Baltimore's bag ban, prohibits…

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Olszewski Announces Key Administration Appointments

This week, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski named several new directors in his administration. Olszewski nominated Pete Gutwald to serve as Director of the Department of Permits, Approvals, and Inspections, Steve Lafferty to serve as Director of the Department of Planning, and Jennifer M. Lynch, PhD. as Baltimore County’s Director of Educational Partnership. All three have a wealth of public service experience in Baltimore County. According to a County press release: “As we begin our…

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Top Issues of 2021 Session: Climate Change

With the 2021 Legislative Session rapidly approaching, MACo is profiling some major issues that stand to gather attention in the General Assembly’s work. Here, we preview potential actions surrounding climate change.  Increased sea level rise along with changing weather patterns have led Maryland to take a multifaceted approach to combatting climate change. The COVID-19 pandemic has left its mark on efforts, and federal actions have given environmental advocates cause for concern. Maryland's leaders will look…

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Top Issues of 2021 Session: Transparency

With the 2021 Legislative Session rapidly approaching, MACo is profiling some major issues that stand to gather attention in the General Assembly’s work. Here, we preview potential action around transparency laws. Maryland's Open Meetings Act and Public Information Act outline transparency or "sunshine" requirements for state and local government agencies. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many government actors to change the way they operated while ensuring they provide the public access to their proceedings. Public bodies…

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Top Issues of 2021 Session: Chesapeake Bay Cleanup

With the 2021 Legislative Session rapidly approaching, MACo is profiling some major issues that stand to gather attention in the General Assembly’s work. Here, we preview the state of the Chesapeake Bay. Protecting the Chesapeake Bay is almost always at the forefront of environmental policy agendas going into the General Assembly Session, and 2021 will likely be no different. Efforts to restore and preserve the Bay are shaped by a variety of factors, including federal…

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