MACo Supports Model Definition for Alcohol Producers

On Thursday, January 16, MACo policy associate Alex Butler testified before the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee in support of SB 118 Land Use - Alcohol Production and Agricultural Alcohol Production. This bill, initiated by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, would create a model definition of alcohol production and agricultural alcohol production for use in land use codes. The bill does not require adoption of the definition by counties, but instead serves as a…

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Rural Maryland Council Funds $6 Million in Grants

The Rural Maryland Council (RMC) recently hosted their day-long Summit, titled Rural Maryland Rising: Investing in Resiliency, Collaboration, and Innovation. The focus of this year's Summit was creating sustainable change. Leaders from across the state presented examples of their communities solutions to complex issues in agriculture, aquaculture and forestry, healthcare, community and economic development. The summit included breakout sessions, a preview of the 2020 General Assembly Session and a luncheon panel with Maryland cabinet secretaries…

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EPA Issues Review of State Watershed Cleanup Plans

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its comprehensive evaluations of state plans for cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay, according to a press release. The report notes strengths in Maryland's plan including the engagement of local agricultural partners, thorough verification of best management practices (BMP), and locally-driven strategies that can be effective at achieving several goals at once. Maryland’s plan meets its numeric planning targets for nitrogen and phosphorus at the state and statebasin…

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No Extension for Phosphorus Management Deadline

The Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Phosphorus Management Tool Advisory Committee has decided not to grant a one year extension to the deadline for compliance with restrictions on the use of poultry litter on fields. The deadline remains July 1, 2022.  Adopted in 2015, the Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT) requires Maryland farmers with fields that have high levels of phosphorus to limit the spreading of certain fertilizers, poultry and other types of animal manure, and sewage…

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Solar Siting Tools and Best Practices at #MACoCon

Attendees to the MACo 2019 December Winter Conference learned about some best practices and tools for solar siting during the "Let the Sunshine In: What You Need to Know About Solar Energy Siting" panel on December 5. Caroline County Planning and Codes Director Katheleen Freeman outlined the stakeholder process used by the County to develop its utility-scale solar zoning. Freeman stated that the County established a short moratorium on utility-scale solar projects an formed two…

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Rural County Coalition Shares Lunch, Policy Updates at #MACoCon

The Rural County Coalition held their regular lunch event at the MACo 2019 December Winter Conference on December 5. The Coalition heard updates on a variety of policy issues, including solar siting, the Forest Conservation Act, volunteer firefighters, and Kirwan Commission education funding recommendations. The Rural County Coalition is a MACo Chapter Organization that provides a voice for sixteen of Maryland's rural counties, allowing them to offer their unique perspective on important state and federal…

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Attendees Glimpse Maryland’s Clean Energy Future at #MACoCon

The "Clean and Green: Charting Maryland's Energy Future" panel at the MACo 2019 December Winter Conference discussed how Maryland's energy paradigm is shifting away from fossil fuels and towards renewable (solar and wind) and zero-carbon (nuclear and hydro) power sources. Panelists explained the state anad local land use, regulatory, and infrastructure changes that are coming as Maryland moves towards a renewable and clean energy future. The panel was held on December 5. Maryland Secretary of…

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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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