April 2, 2013
Supporters and critics of legislation that would grant farmers a 10-year reprieve from new environmental regulations squared off before a House committee Tuesday, with much of the debate focused on provisions in the bill barring any public disclosure of those granted the deferral. Farm group representatives, O'Malley administration officials and others told members of the House Environmental Matters Committee that offering state farmers a shield from new environmental cleanup requirements could boost efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Farmers would voluntarily agree to reduce polluted runoff of soil and fertilizer from their farms beyond what they're now required to do, proponents say. Sen. Thomas M. Middleton, the bill's chief sponsor, said many farmers are having to invest in new equipment and facilities now to comply with recently adopted state regulations on how, when and where fertilizer can be spread on the ground.
March 30, 2013
I would like to add my support for the Maryland Agricultural Certainty Program, which is a balanced approach to protecting farmland for a certain period of time while recognizing the importance of environmental practices. This bill will provide farmers with relief that's badly needed as long as they're contributing to the clean-up of the Chesapeake Bay by reducing pollution from their farms. I've heard critics cite the number of farms being impacted by state regulations as "minimal.
March 18, 2013
The concept behind the proposed Maryland Agriculture Certainty Program is sound. Farmers would voluntarily agree to meet relatively high standards for pollution runoff and hire third-party inspectors to verify the results. In return, they would be spared from new regulations for 10 years. In a business that is fraught with uncertainty from droughts and floods, rising and falling commodity prices and boom or bust crop yields, the appeal of predictability is clear enough. The model is not unlike the discharge permit of some manufacturers or sewage treatment plants - a kind of contract between regulators and polluters.
March 18, 2012
It's all right. You can come back in now. I've stopped nagging the children about St. Patrick's Day . All the same, there was an invincible certainty about their St. Paddy/St. Patty views . What they knew, they knew, and any information that conflicted with what they knew was to be swatted down, sometimes with a contemptuous Twitter hashtag, #morons . It is like the certainty that one encounters with the peeving classes, the Clark Elder Morrows * and the Queen's English Society charlatans . They are impervious to doubt.
July 23, 2010
Call it the "Baltimore Problem." And let's deal with it once and for all, so we can get down to the happier business of enjoying the fourth season opener tonight of "Mad Men," AMC's celebrated and style-setting series about life on Madison Avenue in the 1960s. Last year, "Mad Men" opened with leading character Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and one of his ad agency associates taking a business trip to Baltimore. Like many critics, I had praised the series for its rich period detail through the first two seasons.
March 7, 2010
T he debate over the $410,000 in bonus payments to former University of Maryland School of Law dean Karen Rothenberg has largely devolved into an argument between two camps. Her defenders say that the focus on the payments is smearing the record of an excellent and transformative leader for the school, and her detractors are appalled by the amount of money being thrown at a public employee. There's truth to both sides, but that argument misses the point. Ms. Rothenberg was, by all accounts, an excellent dean.