Around The Region

AROUND THE REGION

January 16, 2009

Md. to receive $5.1 million to help ease bay pollution

Maryland is getting $5.1 million in federal funds to help clean up farm runoff polluting the Chesapeake Bay, officials said yesterday. The money is the state's share of $23 million earmarked for bay restoration this year in the farm bill approved by Congress. The bill authorized a total of $188 million over four years to address farm pollution in the bay, but the Bush administration had at first balked at spending it. Officials said Pennsylvania will get $6.7 million this year and Virginia nearly $7 million, with the remainder split among Delaware, New York and West Virginia. The money will pay for farm conservation measures such as planting cover crops, limiting fertilizer use and leaving unplanted buffers between fields and streams.

Timothy B. Wheeler

EPA gives training grant for brownfields cleanup

A Baltimore nonprofit group is getting $200,000 to train low-income residents for jobs cleaning up old industrial sites so they can be redeveloped, the Environmental Protection Agency announced yesterday. Civic Works, a program of AmeriCorps, will use the grant to train 40 students and place at least 30 of them in entry-level environmental cleanup jobs, the EPA said. The grant was among 12 nationwide to promote redevelopment of abandoned and contaminated properties, known as "brownfields." This is the fourth brownfields grant EPA has given Civic Works. The other awards, also for $200,000 each, paid for training 165 people and placing 122 of them in jobs, the agency said.

Timothy B. Wheeler

Montgomery planning board endorses light rail

The Montgomery County planning board became the first county agency yesterday to endorse a light rail system for the proposed Purple Line, approving a plan to send several trains per hour through Chevy Chase and Silver Spring along a popular walking and biking trail. The panel, voting after more than 20 years of debate on the proposed 16-mile suburb-to-suburb transit link, concluded the light rail line is preferable to a rapid bus system and selected a route along the Georgetown Branch Trail, a segment of the Capital Crescent Trail. The street-level system would traverse a country club along its way through Silver Spring and into Prince George's County. The board's 4-1 vote is expected to be ratified later this month by the County Council. The Prince George's County Council has long supported the light rail system. The proposal will ultimately land on the desk of Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, who must decide whether to pitch light rail or a rapid bus system to the federal government.

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