Fracking, septics, wind facing Maryland lawmakers

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 9, 2013 at 3:27 pm •  Published: January 9, 2013
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Mizeur and Sen. Paul Pinsky, co-chair of the environment subcommittee on the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, said they are more confident this year. Mizeur blamed election year politics and a tight legislative calendar last year, but said "those issues appear to have taken care of themselves."

Meanwhile, Sen. E.J. Pipkin, an Eastern Shore Republican, said he plans to try to roll back new growth and septics rules imposed last year, but admitted he faces a difficult battle in the Democratic-controlled General Assembly. However, Pinsky said there will be debate and discussion on whether counties are complying.

"It looks like there might be some counties that just thumb their nose at the law," Pinsky said.

The law created a four-tiered system limiting where developers can build residential subdivisions that use septic systems. Local governments had until December to adopt the limits.

Les Knapp, a spokesman for the Maryland Association of Counties, said the association is seeking a two-year moratorium on new land use and environmental initiatives to give counties time to deal with new regulations passed in recent years.

The association was also working with the Department of the Environment on variances to regulations for more expensive, best-available technology septic systems that are required for new construction and additions. The new systems can cost $15,000 and are more expensive to operate and maintain, he said.

Areas where the new systems will provide little, if any, improvement over traditional systems and home expansions to make room for aging relatives are two examples of possible exceptions, Knapp said.

"We think that doesn't get to the intent of new growth and penalizes someone who is trying to care for an elderly relative," Knapp said.

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Associated Press Writer Brian Witte contributed to this report in Annapolis, Md.