Bay Restoration Progress & Phase III WIPs Debated at 2019 Summer #MACoCon

Different perspectives were offered on Maryland’s new Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) during the “Endgame: Can Our Phase III WIP Meet Our Bay Restoration Goals?” panel on August 16 at the 2019 MACo Summer Conference. Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles presented an overview of the WIP approval process. Maryland is waiting on final comment and approval from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Grumbles noted that Pennsylvania’s draft Phase III WIP…

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Moving Towards a Clean Energy Future at 2019 Summer #MACoCon

The panel “Keeping Clean Energy Green Energy” on August 15 at the 2019 MACo Summer Conference examined Maryland’s transition to clean energy and explored what it means for county government infrastructure and land use policies. Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles reiterated that the state’s pending Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act plan requires Maryland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 from 2006 levels and prepares for a future reduction goal of 80%.…

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Walking the Agritourism “Tightrope” at #MACoCon

Agriculture remains a key economic driver for the state of Maryland, but like all successful businesses, agriculture is evolving with the times. Agritourism now plays an increasingly important role in the long-term profitability of agriculture, especially for small- to mid-sized farms. However, while most counties have attempted to embrace agritourism, its diverse and sometimes vague nature poses a variety of regulatory challenges – from zoning and building code requirements to health and sanitation issues. Even…

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Rural County Coalition Talks Preemption, Solar Siting, & Kirwan at 2019 Summer #MACoCon

The Rural County Coalition received policy updates on solar siting and education funding issues at its 2019 MACo Summer Conference breakfast on August 15. Maryland Secretary of Natural Resources Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio gave some brief welcoming remarks. MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp then provided an update on two recent implied preemption cases involving the residential application of pesticides and the siting of large solar facilities. Knapp noted that while the courts found in favor…

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Maryland Distilleries Collaborate on Rye Gins

As a further sign of the maturing distillery industry in Maryland, a Daily Record article (2019-08-07) reported that Frederick County-based McClintock Distilling Co. and Baltimore City-based The Baltimore Spirits Co. are collaborating to release two limited-edition rye gins. From the article: The project uses rye whiskey mash infused with botanicals to make a Genever-style gin. McClintock used mash from BSC’s Epoch Rye and BSC used mash from McClintock’s Bootjack Rye Whiskey. The article indicated that half…

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Hogan Administration Releases “A Better Maryland” Development Plan

A Maryland Department of Planning press release (2019-08-07) announced the release of the new state development plan, A Better Maryland. The plan will guide growth, preservation efforts, and infrastructure development throughout the state. Governor Larry Hogan issued an executive order in 2017 ordering the creation of A Better Maryland and rescinded PlanMaryland. MACo had expressed concerns over PlanMaryland due to its top-down approach and creation of new (and in MACo's view redundant) land use classifications. A Better Maryland is developed from…

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Discover Maryland’s Clean Energy Future (and What It Means for Counties) at #MACoCon

Get the information you need about Maryland's plans to transition to "clean energy" and what it means for your county at the 2019 MACo Summer Conference. Keeping Clean Energy Green Energy Description Maryland has embarked on a path toward more and more clean energy sources. With the passage of the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2019 and Governor Hogan’s call for a 100% clean energy goal, our state must now navigate through the various benefits…

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High Tide or “Sunny Day” Flooding Expected to Increase in Maryland, Other Coastal Areas

A Bay Journal article (2019-07-15) examined a new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report showing that the Chesapeake Bay watershed is particularly susceptible to increased "sunny day" or high tide flooding (HTF). HTF does not occur due to rainfall but is based on other climate factors interacting with a high tide. According to the report, HTF "can now happen when a steady breeze or change in coastal current overlaps a high tide." The report found that…

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Learn How Implied Preemption Can Limit Your Local Authority at #MACoCon

Think you have local authority to regulate in a policy area because state law is silent on the issue? Think again because a court may find you have no authority under the legal doctrine of "implied preemption." Learn about implied preemption, including two recent high profile court decisions on solar siting and pesticide regulation, at the 2019 MACo Summer Conference. Don't Be Tempted to Be Preempted Description The state can pass laws to preempt local…

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You Can Walk the Agritourism “Tightrope” at #MACoCon

Learn how counties and the state are balancing the expansion of agritourism against valid land use, infrastructure, and public health concerns at the 2019 MACo Summer Conference. Walking the Agritourism Tightrope: Balancing Between "Yes" and "No" Description Agritourism remains an ongoing challenge for county governments. While counties recognize the value of agritourism in preserving and enhancing traditional farm operations, significant challenges remain over acceptable land uses, infrastructure and building code requirements, and health and safety…

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