Federal Judge Allows Maryland’s MTBE Lawsuit Against Gasoline Companies to Move Forward

A Daily Record article (2019-10-08) reported that a federal District Court judge is allowing a Maryland lawsuit to proceed against various petroleum-related companies for environmental contamination from a gasoline additive. The article stated that Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh announced the lawsuit against more than 50 petroleum related companies in December, 2017. The suit alleged significant water contamination from the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), which originated from leaking underground service station tanks. (MTBE is…

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MDA Awarded $1 Million Grant to Promote Healthy Soil Practices

A Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) press release (2019-10-10) announced that MDA has been awarded a $1 million grant through the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund (CBSF) to promote healthy soil practices. Farms that adopt healthy soil practices can increase carbon sequestration and protect local and Chesapeake Bay water quality.  From the press release: “This grant will allow the department to expand its efforts in promoting the benefits of soil health for Maryland farmers and our…

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Anne Arundel Holds Public Hearing on Contentious Forest Conservation Bill

A Bay Journal article (2019-10-8) reported that Anne Arundel County held a nearly three-hour public hearing on a contentious forest conservation bill introduced by County Executive Steuart Pittman. The article indicated that the bill was supported by environmental and civic groups and opposed by developers and the real estate industry. As previously reported on Conduit Street, Pittman introduced the bill in an effort to stem the loss of forest in the County. The County has lost 2,775 since…

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Submit Your Questions Now for the #MACoCon Smart Growth Subcabinet Meeting

The Smart Growth Subcabinet will be meeting at the 2019 December MACo Winter Conference and answering your questions on land use, environment, transportation, and other important county issues. Let MACo know if you have a topic you want directly addressed at the meeting (see instructions near the end of this post.) A Chat with the Smart Growth Subcabinet Description The Smart Growth Subcabinet oversees and advises on Maryland’s growth policies and laws. Its members (mostly…

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Circuit Court Holds Rogue Baltimore City Officers Acted Within “Scope of Employment”

A Baltimore Sun article (2019-10-04) reported that the Circuit Court has held Baltimore City liable for a $32,000 judgment against three former Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) police officers after they were found to have planted a gun on a person they arrested. The case highlighted the challenge of determining when a police officer is acting within the scope of their employment, thereby making the local government liable for their actions. If upheld on appeal, the case…

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MACo Talks Solar Across the State

As previously reported on Conduit Street, there are multiple workgroups studying the issue of renewable energy siting (especially utility-scale solar) that will result in policy recommendations and legislation for the 2020 Session. Over the past several weeks, MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp has participated in various workgroup meetings and meet with county officials about this ongoing issue. Task Force on Renewable Energy Development and Siting Created by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan through Executive Order,…

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MDLCV Releases 2019 Environmental Scorecard

A Maryland League of Conservation Voters (MDLCV) blog post (2019-10-03) announced the release of its 2019 Environmental Scorecard. The scorecard ranks Maryland senators and delegates based on key environmental votes they took during the 2019 Session.  The scorecard also displays individual senate and house legislative district ratings on a map. From the blog post: Maryland became the first state to pass a statewide ban on Styrofoam food service products, and Maryland is facing the climate crisis…

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Coalition Calls for Release of Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan

A Chesapeake Climate Change Action Network (CCAN) news release (2019-10-02) announced that a coalition of 26 Maryland-based advocacy groups have sent a letter to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) urging MDE to release its pending Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act (GGRA) Plan. The Plan will outline what the State and local governments must do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below their 2006 levels by 2030. The Plan is a statutory requirement…

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Sun Interviews New Baltimore County Sustainability Officer Stephen Lafferty

A Baltimore Sun article (2019-10-02) interviewed former Maryland Delegate Stephen Lafferty, who recently resigned his position to become Baltimore County's first sustainability officer. The interview covered Lafferty's legislative work on environmental issues, how the County can become more sustainable, and the long-term challenges posed by climate change. From the interview: Baltimore Sun Media: How would you describe your job? What sorts of things have you been working on? Steven Lafferty: Really, it’s been getting acclimated so far.…

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Guess the Name of Frederick City’s Official Ice Cream Flavor

A Daily Record article (2019-09-16) reported that the City of Frederick has designated "Monocacy Mud" as its new official ice cream flavor. The flavor is German chocolate-based and made by South Mountain Creamery in Middletown. It is available for purchase through the Hometown Harvest Kitchen restaurant located in the city. The official flavor was unveiled at The Great Frederick Fair. From the article: South Mountain Creamery partnered on the promotion with the Tourism Council of Frederick…

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