Friday 15 December 2017

In a unanimous 100-page opinion, the Court of Appeals on Friday dismissed complaints by several environmental groups that stormwater pollution discharge permits issued by the state were not sufficiently stringent and had been drafted without adequate public input.

The groups — including Waterkeepers Chesapeake and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation — had gone to court to challenge stormwater permits given by the Maryland Department of the Environment to Baltimore city and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. 

A Montgomery County Circuit Court judge had sided with the challengers, ordering the state to revise its permit for that county. But judges in the other jurisdictions had deferred to the state agency.

The environmental groups still have one appeal pending over their complaint that Baltimore city, in particular, was not required to do enough to root out illicit discharges into its storm sewers. Betsy Nicholas, executive director of Waterkeepers Chesapeake, said the groups would decide whether to pursue that case in light of the appeals court’s ruling on the others.

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(Published in Bay Journal, March 11, 2016)

Maryland regulators are targeting Possum Point because it is located only a couple hundred feet from the Virginia-Maryland border along the Potomac River. That means its waste disposal will affect both states.

Members at the grassroots environmental group Potomac Riverkeeper Network filed an appeal of the Possum Point permit on Feb. 26.

"The multiple appeals from environmentalists, and state and local governments, forced Dominion to come to the table. That by itself speaks volumes about the DEQ lax permit," Dean Naujoks from Potomac Riverkeeper Network said in a statement on Wednesday. Naujoks said his group, however, would continue its appeal, pushing the company to embrace even stricter disposal standards.

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(Published in Inside Climate News, March 10, 2016)

 
 

The board voted to write a resolution against the commonwealth’s inclusion in the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s 2017-2022 leasing program. The bureau is the division of theU.S. Department of the Interior that oversees the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

Chairman Spencer Murray and Supervisors Granville Hogg, Robert Duer and Larry LeMond voted yes to the resolution, while Supervisor Oliver Bennett abstained.

The vote came after a presentation by Jay Ford, Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper Executive Director, who spoke on the detrimental effects offshore drilling would have on the Shore’s economy.

“It’s a very important point that if we get included in this lease right now, the state, localities—you have given up any say that you will have in the future decision-making process,” said Ford. “At that point it is 100 percent in federal hands.”

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(Published in Delmarva Now, March 10, 2016)