Best Practices for Solar Siting at #MACoCon

Find out the latest on local solar siting regulations and zoning at the December 2019 MACo Winter Conference. Learn how counties are working with the recent Perennial decision and discover best practices that could help your county address this challenging land use issue. Let the Sunshine In: What You Need to Know About Solar Energy Siting Description The siting of large, utility-scale solar facilities in Maryland remains an ongoing concern for county governments. A recent Court of…

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Last Chance to Register for Sustainable Maryland Energy Workshops

Sustainable Maryland is hosting a series of leadership training workshops in November on local government energy efficiency policies. The workshops are titled “Municipal Energy Efficiency: Meeting the Climate Deadline” and are open to county officials. From an email notice: The Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland will host Sustainable Maryland’s annual Leadership Training workshops in November. This training series fosters leadership skills to engage diverse stakeholders, reduce contention, and garner support for sustainability…

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Minneapolis Eliminates Zoning for Single-Family Housing Across Entire City

An article in The Atlantic (2019-10-24) explored how housing advocates successfully convinced the Minneapolis City Council to end zoning for detached single-family dwellings across the entire city. On October 25, 2019, the Council voted to become the first major city in the United States to complete abolish single-family zoning requirements. Single-family zoning has had a controversial past in the United States and was used by some jurisdictions as a way to continue racial or class discrimination after…

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Going Big on Streamwater Restoration Projects Could Yield Big Savings For Cecil County & the State

A Bay Journal article (2019-10-10) explored an innovative series of stream restoration projects being undertaken by Ecosystem Investment Partners (EIP) in Cecil County with a mix of State and County funding. The six bundled projects are unique due to their size (covering 15 miles of streams) and financing (EIP is fronting the costs and the State and County will only pay when the projects are finished and actually reducing pollution. EIP, a Baltimore-based firm, was founded in…

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Howard County Announces Major Forest Conservation Act Update

A Howard County press release (2019-10-17) reported that County Executive Calvin Ball has announced a major update to the County's Forest Conservation Act. The update brings the out-of-date County ordinance into compliance with state law and further strengthens the local regulations. From the press release: “Our forests are critical to our natural ecosystems, powerful tools in the fight against climate change, and a necessity for human life,” said Ball. “The state of Maryland passed the…

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Smart Growth Subcabinet Will Answer Your Questions at #MACoCon

Hear cabinet secretaries and other Administration leaders respond to county questions on critical growth and economic development issues at the December 2019 MACo Winter Conference. Once the Subcabinet has finished answering previously submitted questions, attendees will also have the chance to ask questions directly to Subcabinet members. The Subcabinet's meeting at the January 2019 MACo Winter Conference was one of the best attended meetings in the Subcabinet's history. A Chat With the Smart Growth Subcabinet…

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MDE Unveils Draft Climate Change Plan

A Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) news release (2019-10-15) unveiled the State's long-awaited draft Greenhouse Reduction Act (GRRA) Plan. The draft plan outlines what the State and local governments will need to do to reduce in-state greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from their 2006 levels by 2030 and prepare for further reductions in the future. The draft plan anticipates achieving a 44% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and will result in a…

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MACo Discusses County Energy Siting Issues With Governor’s Renewable Energy Task Force

MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp discussed county solar siting issues before the Task Force on Renewable Energy and Siting on October 17. The Task Force was formed by Governor Larry Hogan earlier this year and will soon be preparing a preliminary report on renewable energy siting recommendations and legislation for the 2020 Session. The Presentation Knapp covered several topics in the presentation, including: the State's climate change and energy goals; MACo's general position…

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Multiple States Challenging EPA on WOTUS Definition Rollback, Air Emission Standards

A Maryland Independent article (2019-10-14) reported that multiple states, including Maryland, are challenging recent regulatory changes made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Clean Water Act, including repealing a change to the "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) definition and proposed limits to Section 401 of the Act, which allows states to block construction of interstate projects like pipelines or dams if they would damage local water quality. Waters falling under the WOTUS…

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Sun Editorial Urges Action Against Climate Change “Indifference” Based on Naval Academy Risk

A Baltimore Sun editorial (2019-10-14) expressed frustration about a perceived lack of interest in climate change effects in Maryland and urged the state and local communities to take action. The editorial was based on a recent article published by the U.S. Naval Institute discussing the potential of having to relocate the U.S. Naval Academy due to sea level rise. The Naval Institute article noted that the Academy is particularly vulnerable to climate change as it is located…

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