Gov. Moore Signs Key Environmental Bills Into Maryland Law

Legislation focused on improving Maryland’s water quality will support Chesapeake Bay health and resilience against climate change

Today, Maryland Governor Wes Moore secured a cleaner future for Maryland’s waterways with the passage of several significant environmental bills

The state is at a critical point in its work to reduce pollution in the Bay and meet its 2025 water quality goals. The latest science suggests we can better optimize these efforts, specifically reducing polluted runoff from agriculture and adapting urban stormwater management practices to match increased storm intensity. 

Several bills signed today, which include top priorities for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), Citizens’ Campaign for the Environment, and other partners, will directly address the water quality challenges that Maryland faces. The key bills now signed into law include: 

  • The Whole Watershed Act (SB 969/HB 1165), which is a direct response to the Comprehensive Evaluation of System Response (CESR) report released last year by the Chesapeake Bay Program, will create an innovative five-year pilot program targeting five Maryland watersheds. The watersheds will undergo holistic and collaborative restoration practices under the support and guidance of a multi-agency management team. This targeted approach is designed to rapidly improve habitat and water quality and is based on a successful model from Pennsylvania. 
  • SB 1074/HB 991 will create stronger regulations in Maryland for the storage and land application of industrial sludge, particularly dissolved air flotation (DAF) material, through a new permitting program. DAF residuals are leftovers from the protein rendering process that are often applied to farmland as an agricultural fertilizer. Until now, Maryland had much weaker regulation over this material than neighboring states, allowing over-application and mishandling that caused runoff into local waterways. Moving forward, state permits will assure safe and effective use of the sludge. Local government approval will also be required for a permit to be issued, ensuring communities and localities are notified before new DAF facilities and users are permitted.
  • The Clean Water Justice Act (SB 653/HB 1101) allows communities harmed by illegal water pollution to enforce state law. The U.S. Supreme Court recently removed more than half of the nation’s streams and wetlands from federal Clean Water Act protection. Fortunately, Maryland law still protects these waterways. This bill protects communities’ rights to sue when the rules are broken, retaining the power of the people most directly threatened by pollution. 

Allison Colden, CBF’s Maryland Executive Director, said in a statement: 

“The Maryland General Assembly and Moore Administration have taken notable action towards improving Maryland’s water quality. By adopting these bills and signing them into law, state leaders are putting the best available science into action to get Maryland closer to its pollution reduction goals.  

“The effects of climate change, such as increased rain and flooding and warmer water temperatures, make meeting our water quality goals even harder. These new environmental laws prioritize on-the-ground, partnership-driven solutions that are key to keeping Maryland as resilient as possible to the climate change threats we face while meeting our obligations to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.” 


Valerie Keefer

Maryland Communications & Media Relations Manager, CBF

[email protected]

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