Below is Environment Maryland’s legislative wrap-up from their website.
How Environment Maryland Priorities Fared
Environment Maryland won our top two legislative priorities – on transportation and solar power.
One of our other priorities was a bill to create a comprehensive energy plan for the state. This bill did not pass, but the momentum we generated has created an opening to work with Gov. O’Malley to create this requirement for state agencies without legislation.
Much of the action in Annapolis this year concerned the budget. We were happy to avoid nearly all cuts to Program Open Space and other land preservation programs, and that $20 million was allocated to the Chesapeake Bay 2010 Trust Fund. We were upset that the General Assembly diverted money from energy efficiency programs and that they used the budget to bully the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Maryland.
Beyond that, this was mostly a year of building for the future. In an election year, legislators were quick to cave in to special interests and block good legislation.
Smart growth transportation spending (SB 760/HB 1155 – Pugh, Harrington/Lafferty)
Makes sure future transportation projects are consistent with state smart growth goals and greenhouse gas emission limits. Passed.
Solar power (SB 277/HB 471 – O’Malley)
Clean energy loans (SB 720/HB 1014 – Middleton/Hecht)
Energy saving televisions (SB 455/HB 349 – Pinsky/Carr)
Long-term clean energy in Maryland (SB 558/HB 1224 – Pinsky/Hucker)
Green buildings for state-funded construction (SB 215/HB 1040 – Frosh/Bronrott)
Green buildings for community colleges (SB 234/HB 1044 – Robey/Bronrott)
Energy use disclosure (SB 952/HB 1291 – Conway/McIntosh)
Energy accounting in public buildings (SB 713/HB 985 – Lenett/Hecht)
Biofuels (SB 569/HB 827 – Middleton/Hubbard)
Would encourage market expansion of biofuels. Voted down by Economic Matters Committee.
Bay fund – The Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund will receive $22.5 million.
POS – Program Open Space funding was not diverted, although $4 million was taken from MALPF.
Clean energy – Energy efficiency funding from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative will continue to be diverted in fiscal year 2012.
Law clinic – Lawmakers used the budget process to intimidate the University of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic in retaliation for a lawsuit against Perdue.
Stormwater management funding bill (SB 686/HB 999 – Raskin/Hucker)
Oyster poaching (SB 342/HB 1191 – Frosh/McIntosh)
Human waste discharges from boats (SB 513/HB 1257 – Gansler)
Would prohibit direct discharge of waste from boats. Passed by the Senate, but held by the House Environmental Matters Committee.
Disposal of toxic coal ash (SB 653/HB 1467 – Lenett/Stein)
Arsenic in chicken feed (SB 859/HB 953 – Pinsky/Hucker)
Pesticide and fertilizer reporting (SB 359/HB 930 – Lenett/Frush)
Would require reporting of pesticide and fertilizer usage. Rejected by the Senate Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee.
Plastic bag use (SB 462/HB 351 – Raskin/Carr)
Would reduce plastic bag litter by creating a fee on single-use bags. Rejected by Senate Finance Committee.
Apartment recycling (SB 156 – Brochin)
Would require recycling at apartment buildings. Rejected by the Senate Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee.
Recycling in bars (HB 944 – Niemann and Carter)
Would require recycling at bars and restaurants. Not brought up for a vote in committee.