The Maryland Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday voted 7-4 to kill an attempt to repeal the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012, a law that discourages suburban sprawl and pushes development into existing towns and areas served by wastewater treatment plants. The action followed a 19-5 vote last week against a similar repeal bill.
Lawmakers who stood strong for the Sustainable Growth law deserve great praise, because they helped to defend Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts.
The Sustainable Growth law (also called the “septic bill”) is designed to prevent at least 1.1 million pounds of nitrogen pollution from flowing into the Bay over the next 25 years by preventing the construction of about 50,000 homes with old-fashioned septic systems (which pollute 10 times more than homes connected to wastewater treatment plants) in farmland and forested areas.
In the process, the law is projected to save about 100,000 acres of agricultural lands and green space, which will not only keep Maryland’s farm economy strong, but also protect natural filters for rainwater.
Discouraging subdivisions in soybean fields will also help keep the Land of Pleasant Living beautiful.
By Tom Pelton
Chesapeake Bay Foundation