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2011
2011 Spring Newsletter

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Is Maryland in Gasland?

by David O’Leary
By David O’Leary—To drill or not to drill, that is the question. Will drilling for gas in western Maryland enrich our state or cause our state to look like one of the many places portrayed in the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland?

Cleaning the Streams by Bagging Bags

by Meredith Sweet
Maryland’s 90-day legislative session is a busy time in Annapolis. From mid-January to mid-April, the 47 senators and 141 delegates who form our General Assembly will sponsor, deliberate, debate, and vote on more than 2,300 bills, including the state’s annual budget. On February 4, 2011, one such bill, the “Clean the Streams and Beautify the Bay Act of 2011,” had its first reading before its respective committees to become Senate Bill 602 and House Bill 1034. Affectionately known by advocates as the “bag bill,” it is a logical follow-on to DC’s hugely successful 5-cent “bag law” (officially known as The Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Act).

Letter from the Chair

by Ron Henry
Dirty snow, gusty wind, the last gasp of winter ailments, the General Assembly in session . . .yes, it must be March! And the Maryland Chapter and its constituent groups are experiencing all of these, most seriously, the 2011 Maryland General Assembly session. We’re lobbying hard to promote the legislative priorities we identified earlier in the year.

Hydrofracking: See Gasland! Show Gasland!

Hydrofracking: Invented by Halliburton. Exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act. Oozing through
loopholes in the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and others. Want to learn more?

Start a Conversation—Write a Letter to the Editor

Responding to news articles about environmental issues by writing a letter to the editor of a local paper is a great way to raise awareness about a topic that you’re passionate about.

Question: Which is Better, Paper or Plastic?

Answer: Neither. Choose reusables, which help save energy and the environment!

The Bag Fee Is a Win for All

by www.TrashFreeMaryland.org
The legislation puts a new focus on reducing the amount of trash that enters Maryland’s waterways and bolsters a fund dedicated to the cleanup and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. The legislation represents a unique attempt to work with business and environmental leaders to develop a shared strategy to reduce the amount of trash in the Chesapeake Bay and coastal waterways

Rating and Disclosing the Energy Efficiencies of Maryland’s Buildings

Buildings, both residential and commercial, consume a significant proportion of energy generated from fossil fuels. Conservation awareness and green building technology has had a positive effect on the energy efficiency of new buildings, but most of our existing buildings continue to use energy wastefully. We support SB 713 and HB 985, which would require evaluation and disclosure of commercial building energy use through EPA’s free on-line tool, Energy Star Profile Manager.

Getting Invasive Plants out of the Marketplace

by Marc Imlay
By Marc Imlay—A bill has been introduced by Delegate Shane Robinson to establish an Invasive Plant Advisory Committee. It would advise the Secretary of Agriculture in adopting a science-based protocol for assessing the risk of invasive plants, i.e., the threat that an invasive plant represents to the health of various ecosystems from wildlands, parks, and forests to backyards and farms, as well as the environmental, economic and health risks that such plants impose. The committee’s membership would be drawn from government agencies, regulated communities, environmental groups, experts in the field, and consumers.

The Downside of Deer

by Marc Imlay
Forested environments help our mental and physical health, scientific evidence shows. Spending time in the forest generates more comfortable and calmer feelings than spending time in an urban environment. People who live in urban areas and find their lives filled with daily stress can benefit psychologically by spending time in nature. Studies have shown that walking as little as three hours a week benefits the physical health of people with sedentary lifestyles.

Prince George’s Cool Counties Work Group Faces a New Challenge

by Woody Woodruff
By Woody Woodruff—A new county executive and administration give us hope for a “new day” in Prince George’s County. We hope this electoral change in local leaders will lead to a more consistent and serious take on environmental issues. Sierra Club members and other environmental activists in Prince George’s County must keep informed and maintain pressure on new County Executive Rushern Baker and a county council sporting many rookie members who are unknown quantities in terms of their commitment to the environment.

A MAPP to the Mattawoman's Demise

by Matttawoman Watershed Society
The Mattawoman creek is in major jeopardy of being irreparably harmed through the creation of the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway which would call for the deforestation of 100 acres and the destruction of 76 acres of permanent wetland. We must take up action to prevent this atrocity from occurring.

Moving Upstream: Maryland’s Counties Prepare Watershed Improvement Plans for the Bay’s Pollution Diet

by Claudia Friedetzky
By Claudia Friedetzky—Guided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Maryland, the District of Columbia and the five other states that comprise the Chesapeake Bay watershed have embarked onto Phase II in the historic process to implement a pollution diet for the Chesapeake Bay. The goal of this diet is to limit the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment that pour into the Bay. Through cutting this sort of pollution by roughly about 25% overall, the Bay will become once again swimmable and fishable.

Group News Roundup

by Mary C. Corddry
Edited by Mary C. Corddry—The following reports what is happening with the nine Sierra Club groups in Maryland: Anne Arundel County, Catoctin, Eastern Shore, Greater Baltimore, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Southern Maryland, and Western Maryland. If you have information for future Chesapeake “Roundups,” please contact Mary Corddry, XxDiTz4LyFxX@aol.com, 410-239-4590.

   
   

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