Inside...Your Voice Must Be Heard
Earth Day Ideas
Your Voice Must Be Heard
We are approaching a critical moment in the Maryland legislative session, where our elected representatives will be voting on whether we should all bear responsibility for polluted runoff.
Polluted runoff defiles our waterways. There is no sugar-coating that. And, we bear responsibility for it. There is no sugar-coating that either.
Maryland’s Counties and Cities are currently required to reduce their polluted runoff by 20% and they must get most-of-the-way there by 2017. But most of our counties are not even close to meeting the 20% reduction requirement. If they fail, there will be penalties levied. Hefty ones. And who do you think will ultimately be paying for those fines?
While it may be politically advantageous to talk about saving taxpayers money, in reality, there is a cost to polluted runoff. Let me rephrase that: there is a cost to our polluted runoff. Who will bear that cost if we don’t all pitch in? And, if counties fail to generate enough funds to meet their permit requirements, they will be forced to take funds from other budgets like education, public safety, and social safety nets.
I testified at the House hearing last week when Governor Hogan’s repeal bill was introduced. When delegates asked the Governor's representative to explain what the Governor plans to do to make sure the Counties do not fail to comply with permit requirements, he was unable to provide a clear plan and said he would get back to them on that. This is simply inadequate. This past week, some opponents were tweeting that Marylanders paid more taxes every time it snowed last week. That is a deliberate lie.
On Friday afternoon, all 3 repeal bills were killed in the House subcommittee on environment. But, Senate President Miller has proposed his own repeal bill, too, which will be heard on March 10th. While it allows counties to demonstrate how they will pay for their projects, it has no teeth and does not require them to reinstate the fees if they fall short on project funding. In other words, it’s just as bad as the other repeal bills.
The bottom line is this: counties are required to reduce their polluted runoff. If this fee is repealed, yes we will each have another $30 or $40 back in our pockets each year, but our waterways will be defiled, our counties will not have the money they need to meet permit requirements, and future generations will inherit this entire mess.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of this legislation. Please contact your legislators today and let them know that you support a dedicated fund to which everyone contributes that will help us address the pollution we generate. This is our pollution and we need to clean up our act.
Please be a voice for future generations. Please be a voice for Creation. Please make your voice heard.
Earth Day Ideas
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