Advocating for Cleaner Waters

In the 2019 General Assembly, Arundel Rivers is advocating for legislation that will deliver clean water to the South, West, and Rhode Rivers and Herring Bay. Specifically, we are working to ensure that local jurisdictions make their enforcement efforts publicly available online when they inspect construction sites. We are also working with allies to ban takeout Styrofoam containers, protect vital filters like forests and oysters, and define, locate, and fix failing septic systems. Below is more information.

Erosion and Sediment Control Reporting Act Sponsors: Del. Steve Lafferty, Sen. Sarah Elfreth

A lot of styrofoam products are caught in our Crab Creek Trash Trap.

Synopsis: Bill that will require the 23 Maryland jurisdictions that have delegated authority to enforce erosion and sediment control laws for construction sites to report on those enforcement efforts annually to MDE, and for MDE to make those data available online. The bill will also require mapping of enforcement actions, and notation of enforcement actions taken in several sensitive areas, e.g. Critical Area, stream buffers, 100-year floodplains, non-tidal wetlands. This is my primary legislative effort this year. It was an idea I brought to Del. Lafferty last year. In 2018 it made it through the House, but didn’t make it out of Senate committee.

Styrofoam Ban—(HB109) Sponsors: Del. Brooke Lierman

Synopsis: Prohibiting a person from selling in the State a certain expanded polystyrene food service product on or after January 1, 2020; prohibiting certain food service businesses and certain schools from selling or providing food in certain expanded polystyrene food service products on or after January 1, 2020; requiring a county health department to impose penalties of up to $250 for certain violations; requiring a county health department to notify the Department of the Environment of certain violations; providing a certain waiver; etc.

Defining “No Net Loss” of Forests—(HB120) Sponsors: Del. Sara Love

Synopsis: Altering the standard for achieving a no net loss of forest policy by altering the definition of “no net loss of forest” to mean that 40% of all land in Maryland is covered by forest land. The current definition requires 40% of the State be covered in tree canopy, which includes urban street trees and other isolated trees in the calculation.

Forestry Fee-In-Lieu— Sponsors: Sen. Ron Young

Synopsis: Requires local governments to use fees-in-lieu of replanting to replant the same amount of forest that a developer would have had to replant (i.e. fully satisfy the mitigation requirement of the Forest Conservation Act). Prevents local governments from collecting the fee unless the local government has identified a project to fully satisfy replanting requirements. Prioritizes the use of forest mitigation banks, and increases transparency around fee-in-lieu program.

Oyster Fishery Management Plan Development Oversight

Synopsis: This is a bill that Chesapeake Bay Foundation is working on to develop an open, transparent, and participatory process to develop the fishery management plan. An updated fishery management plan that takes the information from the stock assessment into account is required before making any changes to the current management, including sanctuaries (based on legislation supported by South River Federation in 2017 – HB924).  According to the DNR briefing in the Senate last week, DNR is planning to present their draft plan to the Oyster Advisory Commission in February and finalize a plan by the end of April. They do not intend to hold public hearings or solicit feedback beyond the Tidal Fish, Sport Fish, and Oyster Advisory Commissions.  This bill we are proposing would use a Consensus Solutions process to try to bring stakeholders together to recommend management options that have broad support.  It would also specify requirements for additional public input beyond the traditional one public comment period required during regulatory changes.

Defining failing septic systems—(HB190)

Synopsis: Defining the term “failing on-site sewage disposal system” for certain provisions of law to mean the condition of an on-site sewage disposal system or a component of an on-site sewage disposal system that threatens or negatively impacts public health due to certain conditions; and requiring each county to adopt by local law or ordinance the definition of “failing on-site sewage disposal system”.

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