Read the compromise stormwater regulations

The Maryland Department of the Environment submitted its revised stormwater regulations on Friday to the General Assembly's Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee. The regulations are the results of a compromise hammered out by lawmakers, county and city officials, developers, and environmental advocates. Read the new regulations here.... Continue reading
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Stormwater compromise still faces legislative hurdles

By Tom LoBianco The co-chairman of the General Assembly panel that must approve a compromise on tough new stormwater runoff regulations denounced the deal Thursday, calling it “an abomination” crafted with little regard for the environment. The opposition of Sen. Paul Pinsky, the Prince George’s County Democrat who serves as co-chairman of the Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee, suggests the compromise on stormwater rules remains tentative and could still face a difficult challenge before winning approval. But House Speaker Michael E. Busch warned that the deal – crafted after extensive negotiations among lawmakers, builders, city and county officials, environmental advocates and others – should be approved as is. “I don’t know how you can get to a better compromise than this, and I think it would be foolhardy to change any of this,” Busch said Thursday. Lawmakers, developers and environmentalists announced a compromise this week on the new stormwater rules,... Continue reading
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Education Beat: Reflecting on 26 years in federal court

By Mike Bowler That was quite a love-in on the steps of the downtown federal courthouse Monday as the parties in the 26-year-old city special education lawsuit announced a “special agreement” that ends court oversight and paves the way for complete dismissal in two years. The governor, the mayor, the school system CEO, the state schools superintendent and numerous other dignitaries smiled broadly and breathed a collective sigh of relief as the case known as Vaughn G. et al. vs. the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore et al. appeared well on the way toward settlement. “This did not happen overnight,” said state schools chief Nancy S. Grasmick, and that was the understatement of the day. Seven superintendents and CEOs have served since the lawsuit, charging that the city violated federal laws governing the education of disabled students, was filed in 1984. Two of them, Walter G. Amprey and Carmen V.... Continue reading
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Developers, environmentalists, lawmakers reach compromise on stormwater rules

By Tom LoBianco Homebuilders would have more time to complete projects before they have to meet stricter stormwater environmental rules under a compromise reached between developers, environmentalists and lawmakers. The new regulations would allow developers to complete their final permitting by May 2013 and would then give them until May 2017 to complete construction. The rules would also alleviate what had become one of the most divisive issues in Annapolis this year: how to curb runoff pollution as mandated by a 2007 law without completely stifling new development. The Maryland Department of the Environment is expected to submit the new regulations by Wednesday. “We're pleased that we have reached consensus on guidance and regulatory changes that will resolve these concerns. If adopted, these changes will make legislative proposals that attempted to address these issues unnecessary,” said Dawn Stoltzfus, a spokeswoman for the Department of the Environment. The final hurdle is the... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: To Be Frank

Shortly after the New Year, House Democrats in Washington, D.C., held a summit on jobs and the economy. A week or so later, in conjunction with a Democratic think tank called Third Way, several House leaders held another. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the headliner at the Third Way summit, made sure that a junior colleague got some exposure there: Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-Md.), who against all odds won a very Republican Congressional seat on the Eastern Shore in 2008. For Kratovil, it’s nice to have friends in high places. In the estimation of most independent analysts, he’s one of the 10 most vulnerable House incumbents running for re-election this year. And why shouldn’t he be? He won his seat by just 2,800 votes in 2008, out of 360,000 cast. In a huge year for Democrats, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took 59 percent of the vote in Kratovil’s 1st Congressional... Continue reading
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