Asked about the long-smoldering fight over a 160-megawatt trash incinerator proposed in south Baltimore, Gov. Larry Hogan said at a forum Wednesday that he has “no position on it because I don’t have the facts.” The woman who asked the question found Hogan’s reply “infuriating,” even though he promised to have his staff meet with her and the group opposing the incinerator. “We’ve been fighting this proposal for four years,” she said. But Hogan’s environment secretary knew a lot about the project.
An energy bill moving through Congress could strip Maryland of its rights under the Clean Water Act to require a permit for Exelon Energy Corporation to operate the Conowingo Dam, which discharges 40% of all the nutrient and sediment pollution into the Chesapeake Bay from the Susquehanna River.
Maryland beekeepers are again hoping that the state’s legislature passes a bill in 2016 to label a class of pesticides, neonicotinoids, as harmful to bees and restrict sales of the chemicals to commercial and agricultural applicators.
Pines on the Severn, a small community on Chase Creek, off the Severn River just above Annapolis, recently completed a living shoreline, a project that can show us all how much perseverance it sometimes takes to do the right thing for the environment, and why it’s worth it.
The Clean Chesapeake Coalition, a group of seven Maryland counties formed in 2012 to challenge the priorities and science of the $14.4 billion cleanup mandate for the Bay, is again sparring with environmental groups it says continue to ignore the Susquehanna River as the single largest source of pollution that flows into the Bay. This time the debate is over a proposed moratorium on chicken houses, the biggest industry on the shore.
At the recent annual meeting of the Chesapeake Bay Program leadership, there was much talk about the importance of restoring local rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay, but a shortage of commitment to specific actions that will get Bay restoration back on track.
The federal government is one of the Chesapeake Bay watershed’s largest landowners and manages an area roughly the size of Delaware’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, or 5.4 percent of the entire basin.
The land and facilities it controls share little in common except that they are all under federal management, and their owners, like all landowners, have a responsibility to reduce their pollution to meet the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load.
Poultry mega-houses, a major trend in the poultry industry, have sprouted in Somerset County where trees used to sway, bringing with them tons of manure, industrial-level traffic and the stench of ammonia. They are much larger than traditional chicken houses and sit on smaller parcels of land, with no grain production, and near residential homes.
Later this month, the Board of Public Works will be voting on new guidelines requiring future purchases of energy efficient products — including phasing out most state use of bottled water. “Generally we’re looking at things that are environmentally friendly, but also to save on cost,” said Michael Haifley, procurement director of the Department of General Services.