Stormwater Update: The Votes are In

By Allison Frick

On April 6, the intense debate that had been raging in Annapolis about whether the state’s new stormwater regulations were too hard on developers came to a controversial end when a Maryland legislative panel approved some relaxed regulations.

The House-Senate Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review approved the emergency changes to the regulations put forth by the Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE),  which had stirred heated debate among developers and  environmentalists.

Developers and local officials were worried that the new regulations would impede development by imposing high costs on developers.  Some environmental groups expressed concern that the weakened restrictions approved on April 6 would put the Chesapeake Bay at greater risk.

The hearing lasted for three hours, and as a result of the vote to approve the relaxed regulations, many construction projects will be held to old building standards.  Local news reports covered the hearing and the reactions of individuals on either side of the debate:

  • Baltimore Sun, “Easing of storm-water pollution rules approved,” by Tim Wheeler
  • The Capital, “Vote ends messy stormwater debate,” by Pamela Wood
  • WBAL Report, “Lawmakers Reach Deal on Stormwater Regs,” by Robert Lang and AP
  • WTOP presentation of the Frederick News Post story, “Builders, Realtors Hit Hard in Frederick,” by Ed Waters Jr.

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Bay on the Brink is a multimedia reporting project examining the fate of the Chesapeake Bay. It is produced by fellows at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism as part of News21, a consortium of journalism schools. This is the fellows' blog. The full project site is here: http://chesapeake.news21.com
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