ENVIRONMENT: STORM WATER, POLLUTION & THE BAY
Update on Bills Previously Reported in RSC:
HB 156/SB 133 Environment – Bay Restoration Fund – Use of Funds Passed.
HB 216/SB 200 Environment – Personal Care Products Containing Synthetic Plastic Microbeads – Prohibition on Manufacturing or Sale Passed. The ban applies to all microbeads made of traditional plastic, as well as any so-called biodegradable plastics that cannot biodegrade in wastewater treatment and marine environments. Products on store shelves will start changing in 2018, with all plastic microbeads off the shelves by the end of 2019.
HB 302/SB 28 Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays 2010 Trust Fun – Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays
2010 Trust Fund – Use of Funds Did not pass.
HB 341/SB 401 Underground Utility Damage Prevention – Connecting Buildings to Water Supply Systems and Sewerage Systems – Detectable Wires Passed, approved already by the Governor.
HB 381/SB 257 Agriculture – Nutrient Management – Phosphorus Management Tool the legislature tabled its bills while working with Governor Hogan who released new regulations on 4/3/15 similar to those proposed in the previous administration, but with a somewhat slower timetable.
HB 481/SB 588 Stormwater Management – Watershed Protection and Restoration Program – Repeal also SB36,
SB 42, and HB 874 (RSC 1 & 3) and other bills dealing with stormwater management. The final bill that passed, SB 863, balances environmental concerns while giving the counties greater autonomy to decide how to pay for their mitigation efforts. The bill nominally repeals the requirement for counties to charge a fee (the so-called “rain tax”), but still requires the 10 impacted counties to identify how they will address and pay for the stormwater problem in their respective jurisdictions. This legislation was supported by both the environmental community and the business community, and passed with bipartisan support.
HB 514/SB 258 Maryland Commission on Climate Change Passed.
HB 701/SB 463 Agriculture – Cattle, Swine, and Poultry – Use of Antimicrobial Drugs Did not pass.
HB 860 Aquatic Invasive Species – Inspection and Decontamination of Vessels (State Lakes Invasive Species Act of 2015) Passed.
HB 1042 Environment – Nitrogen Oxide Emissions – Pollution and Combustion Control Technologies (the “Healthy Air Act for All”) did not pass. On 4/17/15 the Governor, through the Maryland Department of the Environment, issued "emergency" regulations that initially sound good until you realize that not only are they inadequate, but they also eliminate some critical health protections that had already been in place for cleaning up
pollution from coal plants in Maryland. This has, of course, disturbed the environmental community. The state’s press release is available at -- https://news.maryland.gov/mde/2015/04/17/maryland-moves-forward-on-clean-air-regulations-to-reduce-pollution-from-states-coal-fired-power-plants-and-protect-public-health/
HB 1158 Lead Risk Reduction Standards – Maintenance of Exemptions Did not pass.
SB 345/HB 536 Income Tax – Subtraction Modification – Enhanced Agricultural Management Did not pass.
SJ 01 Conowingo Dam – Sediment and Nutrient Pollution (National Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act of 2015) renamed Susquehanna River Basin - Sediment and Nutrient Pollution (National Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act of 2015) did not pass.
Additional note: The chair of ET anticipates that the Pollinator Protection Act and a bill restricting agricultural antibiotics will be back next year.