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

Volume III, Number 9

 March 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. 

MDE’s Role in BRAC

By Marie Halka, MDE BRAC Coordinator

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Photo 1: Maryland officials meeting about BRAC 

Photo 1: Maryland officials meeting about BRAC 

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Over the next few years, thousands of defense-related jobs are relocating to Maryland as part of the federal military Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, formally mandated by Congress in 2005. Such large-scale relocation has increased development pressure (e.g., demands for affordable housing, roads, water and sewer capacity, and public transportation). This projected population growth is most significant around Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) and Fort George G. Meade. Other areas of focus are Andrews Air Force Base (Prince George’s County), the National Naval Hospital site in Bethesda, and BRAC and non-BRAC related defense growth within and around Fort Detrick.

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is integrally involved in the State’s effort to prepare for BRAC. The agency serves on the Governor’s Subcabinet on Base Realignment and Closure, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown as well as the Maryland Military Installations Council, chaired by the Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED). MDE provides technical and financial assistance to Maryland’s impacted installations and their respective communities regarding:

  • Environmental permitting and the approval processes in support of BRAC-related development and redevelopment both on and off military property;
  • Community water and wastewater infrastructure financing;
  • Environmental review of locally proposed BRAC Zones; that are mandated to be located in Priority Funding Areas and in which brownfields redevelopment is encouraged; and
  • State environmental review associated with the federal enhanced use leasing process.

Federal BRAC funding from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) is helping Maryland plan for BRAC growth. MDE is among the participating state agencies, and we are entering the home stretch on a series of environmental projects that mark the first time OEA has ever funded this type of needed water resource-related work. MDE’s share of OEA funds (approximately $1.8 million) is being used to:

  • Augment state assessment of the Coastal Plain and Piedmont aquifers from the perspective of long-term yields over the BRAC build-out period and beyond, targeting the APG and Fort Meade regions;
  • Assess the adequacy of local capacity management programs for all water and wastewater systems in the most challenged area which is the APG region (specifically, Harford and Cecil Counties and associated municipalities). Based on the assessment, MDE will prepare recommendations to help the area transition from a set of multiple individual systems to a more efficient regionally integrated system;
  • Develop a state financing strategy needed to support regional water and wastewater capacity in the APG region.

As part of its BRAC effort, MDE actively participates in the State’s BRAC Stats program by tracking and reporting on the progress of more than 30 state-funded local water and wastewater projects helping to protect public health and the environment in communities experiencing BRAC-related growth. MDE has also been proactive in seeking local compliance with a new state law requiring local jurisdictions to demonstrate they are engaging minority businesses that might benefit from such local contracting opportunities.

As is often the case, strong local and regional cooperation is necessary to ensure the ultimate success of the State’s environmental infrastructure efforts, particularly when it comes to ensuring a reliable drinking water supply. To address this issue, Lt. Governor Brown convened the first Water Summit for the APG region in November 2008. As a result of this landmark summit, each local elected official committed to ensure their jurisdictions work cooperatively toward better understanding the projected drinking water demand and existing capacity. Information sharing among jurisdictions is expected to occur during the first half of 2009, with the results being forwarded to MDE, which will serve as the information repository and clearinghouse. Once data collection is complete, summit participants plan to reconvene for a second meeting later this year to review the findings and determine next steps.

Additional information on Maryland’s BRAC initiative is available at:

Click here for State of Maryland Base Realignment and Closure Website.


©2009 Copyright MDE

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