O'Malley re-sets strategy to tighten septic rules
The governor's legislative push to tighten septic rules was a non-starter during the most recent legislative session, though lawmakers pledged to study the issue over the summer.
From Wheeler's blog:
The task force is to be headed by Del. Maggie McIntosh, chair of the House Environmental Matters Committee. McIntosh, a Baltimore city Democrat, tabled the governor's push for septic limits during this year's legislative session and called for more study of the issue. The panel's vice chair is Jon Laria, a Baltimore development lawyer who is head of the state growth commission.
A press release from the governor's office calls the task force broad-based, with representatives of business, agriculture, science, environmental advocacy and government. A quick scan of its members, though, suggests the panel is stacked at least modestly in favor of the governor's position that septic-based development needs to be limited.
"This effort is not about stopping growth" O'Malley said in a statement. "It is about stemming the tide of major housing developments built on septic systems to generate clean water and protect our environment and public health."
State planners project that septic-based development will account for 26 percent of all the new households built in the state over the next 25 years, but produce 76 percent of all the new nitrogen pollution getting into ground water and streams feeding into the bay.
Critics also say building with septics aggravates suburban sprawl, fragmenting farmland and forests and increasing the costs to government of providing roads, schools and other services.