Bay Crossing Study Draft Environmental Statement Available for Review & Comment

The Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the ongoing Chesapeake Bay Crossing Study is now available for review and comment at baycrossingstudy.com through Monday, May 10, 2021. Originally scheduled for December, the release of the DEIS was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the study is to consider two-mile-wide corridors to provide additional capacity and access across the Chesapeake Bay to improve mobility, travel reliability, and safety at the existing William…

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Program Open Space Popular Among Marylanders

Last week, the Partners for Open Space released the results of a recently conducted poll which found that Program Open Space was exceedingly popular among Maryland residents. The poll questioned Maryland voters who are likely to participate in the November 2022 election. Results indicate that 90 percent of participants approve of Program Open Space, and prefer the State maintain its current funding. Program Open Space has been a historically successful program, providing an immense public benefit…

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MACo: Pricey Solar Tax Exemption Precludes Local Input

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally testified today in support with amendments on HB 954 Property - Tax - Solar Energy Systems before the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill generally grants broad tax exemptions for specified community solar energy generating systems. The bill also designates certain solar energy property as a new subclass of personal property, authorizes local governments to set a lower personal property tax rate on solar energy equipment, and prohibits the State…

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Big Changes Proposed for Solar Siting

Staff for the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) have issued a rulemaking request with significant proposed changes to the solar siting process. The changes, if adopted by the Commission into the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) would reform what is considered a "complete" application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to proceed. Background Following a recommendation outlined in the Governor’s Task Force on Renewable Energy Development and Siting (REDS) final report, the…

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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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St. Mary’s Approves Broadband Action Plan

This week the Commissioners of St. Mary's County gave approval to a Broadband Plan of Action. The plan outlined achievements of the last five months including notable improvements to internet accessibility in the county. More than 61 miles of cable infrastructure have been installed in the last five months, helping to connect nearly 300 households with students to the internet. The County has also purchased more than 500 hotspots for students, and worked to establish…

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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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Olszewski Announces Key Administration Appointments

This week, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski named several new directors in his administration. Olszewski nominated Pete Gutwald to serve as Director of the Department of Permits, Approvals, and Inspections, Steve Lafferty to serve as Director of the Department of Planning, and Jennifer M. Lynch, PhD. as Baltimore County’s Director of Educational Partnership. All three have a wealth of public service experience in Baltimore County. According to a County press release: “As we begin our…

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New FAA Rule Requires Remote ID for Drones

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced final rules for unmanned aircraft, commonly known as drones. The new rules will require Remote Identification (Remote ID) of drones and allow operators of small drones to fly over people and at night under certain conditions. Remote ID effectively works as a kind of digital license plate for unmanned aircraft, broadcasting identifying details, including the location of the craft. “The new rules make way…

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MD General Assembly Posts Pre-Filed Bill List

The Maryland General Assembly Senate and House pre-filed bill lists are now available on the General Assembly website. Although the list of pre-file bills are available, there is no bill text at this time. Currently, readers are able to view the bill title, sponsor, and committee assignment. As of today, there are 780 total House and Senate pre-filed bills and resolutions listed on the website. This will be updated to reflect updates on the General…

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