2019 Environmental Summit Showcases Solar, “Green” Amendment, & Enforcement Legislation

The 25th annual Maryland Environmental Legislative Summit unveiled the key priorities of the environmental community for the 2019 Session. Their legislative initiatives included: (1) passing the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs initiative, which among other things would increase the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS); (2) putting a healthy "green" constitutional amendment on the ballot; (3) enacting a state Styrofoam ban for food service products; and (4) ensuring adequate environmental funding in the State budget and enforcement…

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Court of Appeals Agrees to Hear Solar Preemption Case

A Herald Mail-Media article (2019-02-06) reported that the Maryland Court of Appeals has agreed to review a lower court decision (Board of County Commissioners of Washington County v. Perennial Solar) which held that Public Service Commission (PSC) could preempt local zoning when approving a large-scale solar project (more than 2 megawatts). The specific contested project is 42,000-panel array that would occupy about 86 acres and generate 8-megawatts near Cearfoss Circle in Washington County. As previously reported on…

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Animal Manure Anaerobic Digesters Continue to Work Out the Kinks

A Bay Journal article (2019-02-06) examined the ongoing struggles to use anaerobic digestion technology in the disposal of animal and poultry manure on Maryland's farms. Despite millions of dollars of State investment, no project has yet proven profitable or sustainable. However, even the failed projects provide important lessons as anaerobic digestion slowly moves to the United States. Anaerobic digestion is a process where microorganisms break down biodegradable material, such as animal waste or sewage sludge, without oxygen.…

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Climate Change Poses New Nitrogen, Phosphorus Challenges to Bay Restoration

A Bay Journal article (2019-01-30) examined how climate change will affect ongoing Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts. The article stated that additional nitrogen and phosphorus reduction targets will be added to the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) in 2021 to address the additional precipitation and storm severity predicted due to climate change. From the article: When it comes to runoff, “flow is fate,” said Lewis Linker, modeling coordinator with the state-federal Bay Program partnership. More rain moves…

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Conowingo, PMT & Green Amendment Among Waterkeepers Chesapeake 2019 Initiatives

A Waterkeepers Chesapeake post (2018-01-30) outlined the group's 2019 Maryland environmental priorities, including the Conowingo Dam, the Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT), and a "Green" constitutional amendment. Waterkeepers Chesapeake is a coalition group of 18 waterkeeper programs from throughout the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays area. The group supports Bay and water quality initiatives both at the local level through grassroots action and advocacy and regionally through leveraging its members' strengths and capacities. Waterkeepers Chesapeake also…

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Chesapeake Bay Gets Its Annual “Fiscal” Checkup

A far-reaching legislative analysis reviews both fiscal and policy issues related to the Chesapeake Bay Each year, among its many agency-by-agency budget analyses, the Department of Legislative Services has presented a review of the Chesapeake Bay. Bay programs stretch across multiple agencies, as well as local governments, and the report is a tidy spot for deep information on the status of Bay programs - both monetary- and results-oriented. The federally-mandated Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)…

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MACo Talks Initiatives, Solar Siting, & Recycling With E&T Committee

MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp briefed the House Environment and Transportation Committee on MACo and its legislative initiatives, county demographics and responsibilities, solar siting, and recycling challenges. Knapp provided this update on January 22, 2019. Maryland Counties Knapp discussed the diverse needs and demographics of Maryland's counties and urged that "one size does not fit all." Knapp also described the broad range of services counties provide (many either mandated or governed under state…

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Baltimore County Solar Moratorium Bill Withdrawn

A Baltimore Sun article (2019-01-22) reported that Baltimore County Council Member Wade Kach has withdrawn a proposed bill that would have imposed a nine-month moratorium on solar projects on rural land. In the article, Kach stated that he felt a moratorium was appropriate to allow the study how large-scale solar projects affected farmland and property values. The article noted many of the proposed large-scale solar projects in Baltimore County would be located in Kach's rural district. However,…

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Conduit Street Podcast: 2019 Session Preview

MACo has made the podcast available through both iTunes and Google Play Music by searching Conduit Street Podcast. You can also listen on our Conduit Street blog with a recap and link to the podcast. You can listen to previous episodes of the Conduit Street Podcast on our website.

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Queen Anne’s Commissioner Jack Wilson Elected New Chair of Rural Counties Coalition at #MACoCon

The Rural Counties Coalition held its annual lunch meeting at the MACo 2019 January Winter Conference on January 3. The Coalition elected a new chair and received an update on rural and environmental issues. The Maryland Rural County Coalition was formed by the governing bodies of Allegany, Carroll, Frederick and Washington counties on December, 12, 2011. Working in conjunction with MACo, the Coalition provides a voice for Maryland's rural counties, allowing them to offer their…

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