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List of State Officials - Martin O'Malley, Governor; Anthony Brown, Lt. Governor; Shari T. Wilson, MDE Secretary 

Volume III, Number 10

 April 2009

eMDE is a bi-monthly publication of the Maryland Department of the Environment. It covers articles on current environmental issues and events in the state. 

Maryland General Assembly Passes Critical Bills To Protect Environment, Public Health

By Dawn Stoltzfus, Office of Communications

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The Maryland General Assembly Session passed several bills to protect the environment and public health that were priorities for the Department of the Environment and that now go to Governor O’Malley’s desk for his signature. The bills include ground breaking legislation committing Maryland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020, making Maryland one of a handful of states in the country to take such action. Other legislation will fund improved regulation of coal combustion byproducts (or coal ash), require proposed safe, beneficial uses for coal combustion byproducts, reduce nitrogen pollution from septic systems in the Critical Areas, recycle mercury switches in vehicles, and give counties the right to recover environmental cleanup and monitoring costs.

Priority legislation for MDE this session included the following:

  • SB278/HB315, the Greenhouse Reduction Act, which requires Maryland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020. By 2012, the State must adopt a final greenhouse gas emission reduction plan that includes regulations and a timeline to implement necessary programs. The plan must ensure: no loss of existing manufacturing jobs; a net increase in jobs and a net economic benefit; opportunities for new “green” jobs in energy and low carbon technology fields; and no adverse impact on the reliability and affordability of electricity and fuel supplies. The plan must also preserve the State’s authority to regulate the manufacturing sector through expansion of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and, in the absence of a federal program, defers other State regulation of manufacturing sector until after a 2016 legislative review.
  • HB 1556, which authorizes MDE to establish a small “fee for service” on each ton of coal combustion byproducts generated to pay for permit reviews and other costs to implement MDE’s regulatory program enacted in December 2008.
  • HB 1305, which requires MDE to propose regulations on the beneficial reuse and transportation of coal combustion byproducts by the end of 2009.
  • SB 554/HB176, which requires that all new or replacement septic systems in the Critical Areas use nitrogen removal technology, which can prevent 50 percent of a system’s nitrogen from polluting groundwater and local waterways. MDE’s free septic upgrade program, paid for through the Bay Restoration Fund, will be available for eligible homeowners as funds are available.
  • HB 2163, which requires vehicle dismantlers and scrap recyclers to participate in a mandatory program to remove and recycle mercury switches in scrapped vehicles.
  • HB 259, which authorizes counties to recover costs incurred in monitoring and assessing the release or discharge of pollutants, and which extends provisions for local governments and MDE to include all water pollution, not just oil and controlled hazardous substances.

Click here to read about the O'Malley/Brown's legislative accomplishments to put Maryland families first.


©2009 Copyright MDE

Editorial Board
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230