Enforce Maryland’s Environmental Laws!

Map of Maryland sites discharging stormwater - Center for Progressive Reform / Environmental Integrity Project (2017)

This year we're celebrating the 50th anniversary of the federal Clean Water Act. This bedrock piece of legislation, combined with state water pollution control laws, give us the power to protect our local streams and rivers for the good of the people.

But laws without enforcement are just good advice, and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has chronically under-enforced these laws for decades. Inadequate enforcement against repeat offenders only serves to incentivize bad actors who take advantage of a broken system. In Baltimore, our local waterways and overburdened communities are paying the price, a price which these polluters only see as the cost of doing business.

Roughly 70% of facilities with industrial stormwater permits in Maryland are not in compliance with pollution controls. There are dozens of these types of facilities in the Baltimore region, many of which are located in lower-income areas where people have fewer resources to speak out against the pollution. Additionally, 42% of permits for facilities such as wastewater treatment plants are “zombie permits,” meaning they have been administratively continued beyond the term of their original permit without review.

Right now, the Maryland General Assembly is considering legislation (SB0492 / HB0649) that will increase enforcement of pollution permits in Maryland by requiring MDE to:

  • Inspect facilities with expired permits, as well as those in significant noncompliance on a monthly basis;
  • Impose fines if violations at these facilities continue;
  • Address the backlog of administratively continued “zombie permits”
  • Assess the current need for personnel and then fill these positions within three years.

If MDE cannot perform its duties, the Chesapeake Bay and local communities and waterways will suffer from the hazardous effects of water pollution.

Urge your representatives to support SB0492 / HB0649 today!
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