April 8, 2013
The Maryland Watershed Protection Plan has the potential to prevent, and even reverse, the erosion that is damaging our streams and the Bay. However, the county's decision to pay for this through a property tax based on the "total impervious structure" is misguided. Impervious structures aren't the only thing that lead to the negative consequences of runoff. Fertilized lawns and pesticides have a major impact on the Bay. Taxing someone for runoff from their house and driveway, but not for their expansive lawn is not rational.
March 11, 2013
What pesticides are Maryland families exposed to on a regular basis? Good luck finding out. There's simply no way for the average person to discover what chemicals are being applied to farm fields or even backyards. Worse, it's nearly impossible for anyone in the public health field to find out either. Should doctors discover an unusually high incidence in Maryland of leukemia or other cancer that might be associated with environmental exposure, they'd be hard-pressed to analyze the risk from pesticides.
February 21, 2013
As a concerned mother and environmentalist, I want to thank The Sun for its recent article on pollution in the Chesapeake Bay ("Report finds widespread contaminants in the bay," Jan. 22). Meaningful efforts to significantly improve the bay must address pesticide runoff. The Pesticide Use Reporting Bill would require certified pesticide and fertilizer applicators to report usage data to a centralized database. Centralizing such information would benefit public agencies in their response to fish kills, dead zones and human health outbreaks.
January 30, 2013
A growing body of research underscores that pesticides impact not just public health but also the Chesapeake Bay ("Report finds widespread contaminants in the bay," Jan. 22). A recent federal report, created in response to the same presidential executive order that created the current Chesapeake Bay restoration plan, also noted serious data gaps about pesticides widely dispersed in the bay. The 2013 Maryland Pesticide Information Act addresses the essential need for state and health experts to have access to important basic information on when and where potentially toxic chemicals are applied by pesticide applicators.
January 29, 2013
Environmentalists flocked to Annapolis Tuesday to push their green agenda, encouraged by predictions that offshore wind legislation would pass this year while one legislative leader warned that other ambitious measures may take a little longer. An estimated 400 people from across Maryland crowded into a meeting room in the Senate office building for the annual environmental legislative summit, where they got pep talks from Gov. Martin O'Malley and General Assembly leaders about a green agenda this year that's generally less sweeping than last year's.
January 18, 2013
A new federal report finds toxic contamination remains widespread in the Chesapeake Bay, with severe impacts in some places, which health and environmental advocates say lends support to their push in Annapolis for legislative action on pesticides and other hazardous chemicals. The 184-page report, recently posted on the website of the Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay program , notes that nearly three-fourths of the bay's tidal waters are "fully or partially impaired" by toxic chemicals, with contamination severe enough in some areas that people are warned to limit how many fish they eat from there. The chemicals tainting fish are mainly mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. Once widely used in electrical equipment, PCBs were banned years ago over health concerns, but residues linger and continue to show up in fish tissue. "They may be coming down - I can't say they're not - but we know they're not coming down quickly," said Greg Allen, an EPA scientist and the lead author of the interagency report, which was produced in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Fish and Wildlife Service . Contamination is severe in a handful of "hot spots" around the bay, including Baltimore's harbor, largely a legacy of past industrial and shipping activity.