The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' decision to stop protecting non-tidal wetlands could deal a serious blow to Maryland's own commitment to these environmentally sensitive areas. They provide a natural filtering system that catches pollutants and other dangerous wastes from flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. Nevertheless, the decision by the corps frees 750,000 acres of state inland wetlands from the regulatory process.
The Department of Natural Resources should act to protect Maryland's inland wetlands. Its dedication to the preservation of coastal wetlands -- those lying along the bay and its tributaries -- is long established. Yet the decision by the corps to cut back severely on the program is a considerable loss to environmentalists.
This land is held mostly by farmers, many of whom want to develop it, or sell the land to those who do. Not surprisingly, the Fairness to Landowners Committee, which represents 6,000 members, cheered the decision by the corps.