EPA Proposes Changes to Clean Air Rulemaking

Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed changes to how clean air rules are developed by gutting currently used legal justifications. The proposed changes would focus on the economic impact of potential new rules and forgo the standing practice of taking into account "co-benefits" such as positive impacts on public health. In April, EPA altered the way costs and benefits are calculated in reviews of hazardous air pollutant abatement policies when it looked at…

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St. Mary’s Testing Wastewater for COVID-19

The St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) is partnering with St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), and the St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission to run a pilot project that will track COVID-19 through local wastewater. With the number of individuals getting tested lower than experts would prefer, many have high hopes that monitoring COVID-19 in wastewater will help identify areas where the virus is spreading. This would help health officials predict where the next outbreak…

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Walkable Communities and Public Health Webinar

Join the Maryland Department of Planning and the Smart Growth Network for a free webinar that discusses street design tools and techniques that promote walkability and public health. The COVID-19 crisis has made many rethink the way public streets are utilized. Cities have begun closing down streets to vehicles and opening them up for pedestrian foot traffic and recreational use. The Maryland Department of Planning and the Smart Growth Network will host a timely webinar with…

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Cecil County Council Incumbents Move Ahead to General Election

Cecil County Council President Bob Meffley and Vice President Jackie Gregory are both in positions to advance to the General Election where they will likely run unopposed.  Meffley, who represents District 1 on the County Council ran unopposed in this year’s Republican primary and has thus far received upwards of 6,300 votes. Meffley was first elected to the Council in 2016 and has served as Council President since 2018. Gregory, who represents District 5 on…

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Hornberger In Position to Win Cecil County Executive Race

Danielle Hornberger has a commanding lead in the the four-way Republican Primary for Cecil County Executive, collecting roughly 60 percent of recorded votes. Incumbent County Executive Alan McCarthy is in second place with 24 percent. Hornberger, an aide to Congressman Andy Harris, has an initial tally of 5,393 votes while McCarthy is situated in second place with 2,141 votes. Challenger Ewing McDowell and sitting Council Member Bill Coutz trail the leaders with 693 and 690…

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Montgomery Weighs Changes to Residential Construction Moratorium Policy

Yesterday, the Montgomery County Planning Department presented new policy recommendations to the County's Planning Board that would relax most  residential housing moratoriums.  In July of 2019, Montgomery County instituted a one-year residential development moratorium for areas in the county where schools had enrollments exceeding 120 percent of their capacity. The moratorium has affected roughly 60 square miles around nearly 30 schools. As the policy approaches its sunset, the Planning Department has submitted its recommendations to…

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Webinar: Measuring the “Digital Divide,” June 17

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will host a webinar to help state and local leaders understand how to identify and target the digital divide using federal data. NTIA, an organization within the Department of Commerce, will host an informational webinar on bridging the digital divide and how federal data can help local officials recognize what drives broadband adaption in their communities to better plan for the future. Hear a presentation from representatives of…

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EPA Rule Change Limits States’ Ability to Block Pipeline Approvals

Citing unnecessary delays, EPA issues new rule that weakens states' role in pipeline project approvals. Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its final rule that constrains the influence states have over pipeline approvals. The rule change targets the way states use section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act, and the so called "veto power" that states enjoy over the approval of energy infrastructure projects. Previously, states had fairly broad authority to block…

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St. Mary’s Health Officer Recognized as COVID-19 Hero

The Daily Record has selected St. Mary's County Health Officer Dr. Meena Brewster to be a 2020 Health Care Hero Award recipient in the COVID-19 Heroes category. “Nothing in public health is done in isolation. This is most evident during times of crisis, including the current COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “I’m so grateful for our tenacious public health team, partners and community that have pulled together to fight…

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Maryland Heritage Tourism Nonprofits Awarded $600,000 in Relief Funds

The Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) has awarded more than $600,000 to heritage tourism nonprofits across the state. MHAA has awarded 59 matching grants totaling $600,440 to nonprofits in Maryland's 13 Certified Heritage Areas. The funds are intended to keep the organizations operational during the pandemic. “As we gradually begin to open carefully across Maryland during this pandemic, it is critical that we support struggling nonprofits to help maintain the state’s heritage tourism economy,” said…

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