MACo Suggests Alternative Remedies for Mold Issues

On 20, January 2021 MACo Policy Associate Alex Butler testified virtually before the House Environment and Transportation Committee to oppose HB 129 Environment - Mold Inspections - Standards, Reporting, and Penalties. This bill would require local government to conduct annual mold inspections in all rental dwellings within the jurisdiction. MACo is working with the bill sponsor to ease the burden on local government. From the MACo Testimony:  The Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) OPPOSES HB 129,…

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Counties Raise Concerns About Impacts of Vague Environmental Right Amendment

On 20, January 2021 MACo Policy Associate Alex Butler testified virtually before the House Environment and Transportation Committee to oppose HB 82 Constitutional Amendment - Environmental Rights. This bill would add an amendment to the Maryland Constitution for every resident to have a right to a healthy environment, stating that Maryland's natural resources are a common good for every individual. The bill creates a new and vaguely defined constitutional right and an expansive new class of…

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Counties Seek Clean Energy Loan Program Expansion for Grid Resiliency

  On 19, January 2021 MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson submitted testimony to the Senate Finance Committee to support SB 54 - Local Government - Clean Energy Loan Programs - Grid Resilience Projects. This bill would create an expansion of Maryland's Clean Energy Loan Programs - administered at local options by counties -  to include potential grid resiliency projects. From the MACo Testimony: SB 54 creates a broadened list of project components – still in keeping with…

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MACo Recommends Study for On-Site Wastewater Services Bill

On January 15, 2021, MACo Policy Associate Alex Butler testified virtually before the House Environment and Transportation Committee to support HB 302 Environment - On-Site Wastewater Services - Regulation with amendments. This bill would create minimum standards for individuals who perform on-site wastewater systems. From the MACo Testimony: Data presented showed issues with systems were not abundant within three years after installations, suggesting that installers are sufficiently regulated. The vast majority of counties already require licensure for…

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Counties Back Bill to Promote Development of New Markets for Recycling

On January 15, 2021, MACo Policy Associate Alex Butler testified virtually before the House Environment and Transportation Committee in support of HB 164 Department of the Environment - Office of Recycling - Recycling Market Development. This bill would require the Maryland Department of the Environment to promote the development of new markets for recyclables. From the MACo Testimony: Markets for recycled commodities have seen sincere hardships in the last several years due to a decline in market demand…

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EPA Invites New Applicants for Water Quality Improvement Loans

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week announced that 55 new projects from across the United States have been invited to apply for loans under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA). Created in 2014, WIFIA is intended to help strengthen water infrastructure in the United States. This financial assistance program for clean and potable water is extremely popular, saving billions on utility bills and creating nearly 40,000 new jobs since 2018. The new…

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Commissioner Corchiarino Appointed to Chesapeake Bay Trust Board of Trustees

Queen Anne's Board of County Commissioners President Chris Corchiarino has been appointed to be a member of the Chesapeake Bay Trust Board of Trustees by Governor Hogan.  The Chesapeake Bay Trust is a nonprofit organization that endeavors to promote awareness and participation of local residents in the restoration and protection of the Bay. The trust provides resources for improvements to the Chesapeake Watershed through initiatives like its restoration grant program. Corchiarino, an attorney, has represented…

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Howard to Apply for EPA Loan for Safe & Sound Projects

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced that Howard County was selected to apply for a loan from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finance projects as part of the Ellicott City Safe & Sound plan. Howard County was selected to apply for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) funding from the EPA to finance the North Tunnel and other flood mitigation projects as part of the Ellicott City Safe & Sound…

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Chesapeake Bay Receives Another D+ Grade

In its 2020 “State of the Bay” report, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) gave the health of the Bay an aggregate grade of D+. The overall grade remains unchanged from the last report issued in 2018.  The biennial reports grade the Bay on 13 indicators in three categories: (1) pollution; (2) habitat; and (3) fisheries. The report indicates that while progress has been made in water quality, the Bay's overall score suffered due to a…

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Montgomery Receives ‘SolSmart Gold’ Designation for Prioritizing Solar

Montgomery County is the first Maryland jurisdiction to receive a “Gold” designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar. This designation recognizes Montgomery County for taking bold steps to prioritize solar energy growth and streamline the processes necessary for solar development. For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart Gold designation is a signal that the County is “open for solar business.” In…

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