Maryland's 2019 Legislative Session
Clean Water priorities for 2019:
Chlorpyrifos: A toxic nerve agent pesticide commonly sprayed on orchards and golf courses, chlorpyrifos is proven to cause brain damage in children, contaminate waterways, and harm wildlife. After years of study, in 2017 the EPA concluded that it cannot be considered safe and was in the process of banning it. However, the Trump administration reversed that decision. Maryland legislators are proposing to ban chlorpyrifos here to protect our residents - particularly babies, children, pregnant women, and farmworkers.
Antibiotics: In 2017, Maryland passed the Keep Antibiotics Effective Act. Unfortunately, the regulations that the Hogan administration released in summer 2018 completely undermine the intent of the bill. We are working with the Maryland Keep Antibiotics Working Coalition to strengthen and clarify the language of the bill to make sure that the bill’s implementation matches the intent.
Incineration is currently classified as “green” energy in Maryland, even though it is a source of toxic air pollution. Communities around Maryland have rallied to prevent new incinerators from being built, including in Baltimore and Frederick County, but state subsidies still go to the existing incinerators in Baltimore and Montgomery County. The Clean Energy Jobs Act, which requires Maryland utilities to buy 50% renewable energy by 2030, also takes away the “green” energy label from trash incineration, and the subsidies that come with it.
Septic Systems: A growing pollution problem in Maryland, the state has taken a hands-off approach that allows septic systems to pollute our groundwater and the waterways feeding the Chesapeake Bay. We are working with partners to address some of the underlying problems around septic systems including: the lack of a definition of what a failing septic system is, the need for administrative penalties as an alternative to taking homeowners to court, the need for a database and uniform data collection, standardization of inspections, and the need for more tools to help homeowners when their septic field fails.
Forest Conservation: Maryland is losing forests, especially in the heavily populated counties of central Maryland. We are supporting legislation to create an in-depth task force in order to quantify forest loss, address future deforestation, and make recommendations to prevent forest loss, especially in environmentally important forests. In addition to the task force, there are a couple of fixes that can be taken this year - amending the fee-in-lieu program and correcting the “no net loss of forest” goal.