General Assembly Overwhelmingly Votes to Protect Clean Water!

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As of last week, the Maryland General Assembly was considering amendments to (SB863) Watershed Protection and Restoration Program, a bill that would strengthen the state’s polluted runoff law while at the same time giving local governments greater flexibility to fund and manage their stormwater programs. Many of these changes would have weakened the law significantly, and for a time, there was concern that some of these amendments would find their way into the bill language.

Fortunately, due to the leadership of House of Delegates Environment and Transportation Chairman Kumar Barve, as well as Baltimore County Delegates Dana Stein and Stephen Lafferty, the bill stayed strong, passed out of committee, and was sent to be voted on by both chambers of the Assembly.

The House passed the bill by a count of 138-1. It was then sent to the Senate floor where it passed 47-0.

The overwhelming passage of (SB863) will not only mean cleaner waters across the state, but also greater accountability and transparency in local stormwater management programs. Blue Water Baltimore, as part of the Clean Water Healthy Families coalition, applauds the General Assembly’s commitment to cleaning up our local rivers and streams and restoring the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

Strengthening the Polluted Runoff Law

“The bill that passed will improve the implementation of the 2012 stormwater law and reduce the amount of polluted runoff contaminating local waters,” said Halle Van der Gaag, Executive Director, Blue Water Baltimore. “This legislation ran the full gamut – we opposed the original bill, we dropped our opposition when the Senate addressed our concerns and then we supported the final version with House amendments.”

Annapolis_Runoff

More About the Bill

For more information about the bill, please check out our previous blog post “Help the Watershed Restoration and Protection Legislation” and the press statement [PDF] released by Clean Water, Health Families upon the close of the 2015 session on Monday night.

Thank Your Legislator

SB863 would not be as strong as it is without the hard work, dedication, and leadership of Senate President Mike Miller, Speaker of the House Mike Busch, Environment and Transportation Chairman Kumar Barve, and the members of that committee from Baltimore City and County: Dana Stein, Stephen Lafferty, Clarence Lam, Cory McCray, and Jay Jalisi.

Please take a moment to send them a message thanking them for their commitment to reducing polluted runoff in our state and for their leadership in efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay!

Posted in: Law