For Immediate Release:
January 26, 2017
2017 Maryland Environmental Legislative Summit
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Leana Wen, Commissioner of Health for the City of Baltimore
ANNAPOLIS, Maryland – Maryland Environmental Community hosted the Annual Environmental Legislative Summit today in the Miller Senate Office Building to discuss the 2017 environmental priorities.
“How long and how well we live depends more on our zip code than our genetic code. Taking care of our health also means safeguarding the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the environment around us. We must strive for environmental justice in order to protect the health and well-being of all Marylanders.” The keynote speaker, Dr. Leana Wen, Commissioner of Health for the City of Baltimore.
This year’s environmental legislative priorities include:
- Veto override of Clean Energy Jobs Act—In 2016, the Clean Energy Jobs Act (SB 921/ HB 1106) was approved by the General Assembly with a veto-proof margin. Governor Hogan later vetoed the bill. During this year’s session, the Maryland Climate Coalition and statewide environmental community intend to override the Governor’s veto and ensure an increase Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirement to 25% by 2020 from the current goal of 20% renewable energy by 2022.
- Fracking Ban—This legislation will formally ban the process of hydraulic fracturing, (Fracking) in the State of Maryland. Fracking results in toxic air and water pollution, as well as numerous health issues and emerging science has even linked the practice to increased localized seismic activity, including earthquakes. The existing moratorium on fracking in the State expires on October 1, 2017. This legislation will permanently protect the citizens and environment of Maryland from this dangerous practice.
- Clean Septic Systems—Septic systems contribute in excess of 3 million pounds of nitrogen per year to the Chesapeake Bay. Traditional septic systems do not remove nitrogen from their waste streams. Since 2012, all new septic systems installed in Maryland have been required to use Best Available Technology (BAT) to remove nitrogen and preserve the health of our waterways. In the fall of 2016 the Hogan administration repealed this regulatory requirement in response to pressure from the development community. This legislation seeks to codify the requirement for BAT in septic systems by statute, and preserve the progress begun by the 2012 regulations.
- Keep Antibiotics Working Bill of 2017—Antibiotic resistance is increasing due to routine application of antibiotics to food-producing animals in order help them gain weight or to compensate for unsanitary living conditions. This vital legislation will remove human antibiotics from industrial agriculture and limit their use to treatment of sick animals. Without swift action to curb routine application of antibiotics, health care providers could lose antibiotics as a life-saving tool.
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