Local Preemption Targeted by LOCAL Maryland Coalition, and MACo Bill

The LOCAL Maryland Coalition and MACo joined forces to discuss the goals of their collaboration to fight against state preemption, and to discuss a forthcoming bill designed to clarify the process for any future legislative preemption. LOCAL Maryland, a coalition formed to defend communities' rights to respond to local matters, and when appropriate to tailor state laws to fit their needs, raised awareness of these issues during a press event on January 17. MACo and…

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General Assembly Will Again Consider Carbon Tax

The Maryland General Assembly will again consider legislation that adds a tax on greenhouse gas emissions with a goal of zero emissions by 2040. The bill sponsors say Marylanders are already paying for pollution through costs associated with damage to public health and the environment.  “Our Children’s Future Act” will be introduced by Delegate Fraser-Hidalgo and Senator Kramer during the 2020 session. This will be the third time carbon tax legislation is introduced in the…

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MDE Hosting Public Engagement Meetings on Draft Climate Change Plan

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is hosting a series of public engagement meetings and webinars to provide residents with the opportunity to learn about and provide input on its draft climate change 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. Counties or other interested…

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Congressional Letter Voices Concerns Over EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Enforcement

Twenty members of Congress wrote Friday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking answers on whether the Agency is prepared to force states to comply with Chesapeake Bay pollution reduction goals. The move comes after the Chesapeake Bay Program Director Dana Aunkst reportedly described Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) targets as "aspirational." Nine members of Maryland's congressional delegation along with eleven other members that represent the Bay area have several questions for the EPA.…

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Annual Environmental Legislative Summit Happening January 29th

The 2020 Annual Environmental Legislative Summit will be held on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, from 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm. Hosted by a coalition of Maryland environmental groups known as the Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE), the Environmental Legislative Summit offers an overview of environmental issues that will be brought before the General Assembly this session. Environmental advocates and leading members of the General Assembly will be present. The event is open to the…

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Maryland Will Sue Pennsylvania to Protect Chesapeake Bay Restoration Efforts

Governor Hogan has directed the State Attorney General to pursue legal action against Pennsylvania and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over failed Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts. Pennsylvania's Bay cleanup plan has been heavily criticized by environmental activists that claim it under-funds needed restoration efforts by $250 million. They also find fault with the EPA who they say has not done enough to force Pennsylvania into contributing more to reach its 2025 cleanup goals. The…

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Trump Administration Announces Big Changes to Environmental Rules

Thursday morning President Trump announced new rollbacks to decades-old environmental regulations that require impact assessments for large public works projects such as pipelines, major roads, and water infrastructure. The move could have a strong effect on the number of projects approved. The environmental changes will apply directly to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which the Trump administration believes is unduly decelerating the rate at which large projects are approved. "Project sponsors and ordinary Americans…

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Board of Public Works Approves $18.8 Million in Rural Legacy Program Grants

The Board of Public Works yesterday unanimously approved more than $18.8 million in Rural Legacy Program grants for conservation easements in 18 counties. Funding from these grants will permanently protect more than 4,500 acres of working farms, forests, open space, shorelines, and wetlands — plus cultural and historic resources — throughout the state. According to a press release: The projects were recommended by the Rural Legacy Board, which consists of the Secretaries of the Maryland Department of Natural…

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Capital Gazette: Maryland Should Sue Pennsylvania Over Bay Cleanup Failures

The Capital Gazette editorial board weighs in, advocating that Governor Hogan sue Pennsylvania, who they say is not doing their fair share to cleanup the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay is a defining natural, cultural, and economic centerpiece of the state of Maryland. This unique resource has been subject to significant restoration efforts over the last decade by all levels of government in the region with varying levels of contributions. Since 2010 the EPA has…

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Port of Baltimore Announces $1.8 Million Grant to Reduce Diesel Emissions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore $1.8 million in Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funds to replace older diesel-powered equipment with newer, cleaner machinery. The grant will cover about 44 dray trucks, commonly used for transporting shipping containers to and from the Port, and four pieces of cargo-handling equipment such as forklifts, yard tractors, and other heavy cargo machinery. “This EPA grant will help us continue…

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