Smart Growth Subcabinet Answers County Questions at #MACoCon

Counties received updates on a wide array of key policy issues at the MACo 2019 December Winter Conference during the "A Chat with the Smart Growth Subcabinet" panel on December 4. The Smart Growth Subcabinet oversees and advises on Maryland’s growth policies and laws. During the panel, its members provided updates on land use, environmental, housing, economic development, and transportation issues chosen by county elected officials and staff.   Issues covered by the Subcabinet included:…

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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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BioEnergy DevCo Captures $106M to Digest Waste in a City Near You

Maryland -based BioEnergy DevCo recently announced that they have raised $106 million dollars from a new fund called Newlight Partners to develop anaerobic digestion facilities. The facilities create renewable gas and soil amendments by transforming organic waste that would otherwise be sent to a landfill. From AgFunder News: “If you’d have asked me about three years ago about whether it’s hard to get investors excited about anaerobic digestion, I would have said yes,” Bioenergy DevCo…

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Farm Credit Partners with National Farm to School Network

October of National Farm-to-School Month, and MACo Winter Conference sponsor Farm Credit is partnering with the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) to close the gap between students and the food that they eat through local food procurement and farm and garden education. From Farm Credit's Blog: Sam Ullery, school garden specialist for the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) in Washington, D.C., visits schools across the nation’s capital that are interested in…

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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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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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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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