January 18, 2012
Governor's Budget Is Good Opening Proposal For Environment
O'Malley shows commitment to Bay clean-up, but necessary pieces still missing
(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Maryland Executive Director Alison Prost issued this statement in response to the FY 2013 budget proposed by Gov. Martin O'Malley this morning:
"In difficult economic times we applaud Gov. O'Malley for introducing a budget that invests in our sewage plants, as well as projects to reduce contaminated runoff. Sound environmental policies lead to job creation; we all win.
"The doubling of the flush fee revenue will help communities and local water quality throughout Maryland. Those residents who have paid into the program so that sewage plants could get upgraded around the state now can be assured their own community plants will be improved. We also will see a boost in cover crop acres with this money, and can expect that additional homeowners will now have the opportunity to upgrade their failing septic systems.
"But CBF, along with other members of the Clean Water, Healthy Families Coalition, believes there are additional policies the Maryland General Assembly and the Governor must enact in order to move closer to healthy waters in all of our communities.
We urge lawmakers and the Administration to put in place additional funding for runoff treatment, either through a larger increase in the flush fee or the establishment of a required stormwater utility fee. There is also a great opportunity to curb new pollution loads by reducing the number of new septic systems and better targeting where future growth occurs. These policies reflect the recommendations made by the Governor's own Task Force on Sustainable Growth and Wastewater Disposal.
"Many people are surprised to learn we are more than half way to meeting our goals for reducing pollution in Maryland waters. We have made progress. But closed swimming beaches, dead zones, and other signs indicate the Chesapeake Bay still is a system dangerously out of balance. We can't rest on existing pollution reduction programs alone."