Environment

Geo-Technology Associates

It's called the Del-Mar Energy Pathway. And, the pipeline would bring natural gas to Somerset County. Chesapeake Bay Journal reporter Jeremy Cox tells Delmarva Public  Media's Don Rush that some opposition is beginning to be heard. (Part 2)

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Environmental advocates notched one win after another this legislative session as the new Democratic majority passed their top-priority legislation, including measures long opposed by Republicans who used to be in charge.

Legislators sent bills to Gov. Ralph Northam that will remake how Virginia's utilities generate electricity, remove barriers to rooftop solar, ban offshore drilling and fracking in much of the state and mandate more coal ash cleanup.

Dominion Energy

WASHINGTON, DC. (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court is set to wade into a long-running battle between developers of a 605-mile natural gas pipeline and environmental groups who oppose the project.

On Monday, the high court will hear arguments on a critical permit needed by developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Backed by the Trump administration, the project developers will ask the high court to overturn a federal appeals court ruling that threw out a permit for the pipeline to cross two national forests, including parts of the Appalachian Trail.

Don Rush

The Trump Administration budget would slash the Chesapeake Bay Program from $85 million in 2020 down to $7.3 million.

This is part of its decision to reduce Environmental Protection Agency budget by 27 percent.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the budget statement say it is targeting or eliminating low-value programs as well as “wasteful spending on mandatory programs.”

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Congressman Andy Harris has announced a half million dollar federal grant to protect coastal communities, watershed and the Chesapeake Bay.

The money will be used by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences in Cambridge.

The National Science Foundation which is providing the funds says it is aimed at problems like sea level rise and the impact of storms faced by urban and rural communities along the bays and estuary.

In addition, the research will look for ways to protect marshes, oyster reefs and sand dunes.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia Senate committee on Tuesday advanced measures that would ban offshore drilling as well hydraulic fracturing in much of eastern Virginia.

Similar versions of both measures have been proposed in previous years but died in what was then a Republican-controlled General Assembly.

The bills' sponsors said the measures would help protect Virginia's environment.

Fossil fuel industry lobbyists oppose the bills. The measures still must advance through the full Senate as well as the House.

Don Rush (File Photo)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has highlighted funds to fight crime, improve education and protect the environment in his budget plan.

The Republican governor held a news conference Tuesday to talk about highlights in his $47.9 billion budget proposal for the next fiscal year, which begins in July.

The governor is releasing his entire budget Wednesday.

The General Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats, will have the rest of the legislative session to work on the budget before adjourning April 6.

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GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) — The DuPont Co. is asking a Delaware judge to dismiss a lawsuit claiming that it massively downplayed the environmental liabilities with which Chemours would be saddled when DuPont spun off its former performance chemicals unit.

A DuPont lawyer argued Wednesday that the lawsuit must be dismissed because the Chemours separation agreement requires any disputes to be resolved through arbitration.

A Chemours attorney argued that both parties must give clear consent for an arbitration clause to be enforceable and that Chemours never did.

Exelon Corp

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is announcing an agreement with Exelon on the Conowingo Dam that requires the company to invest more than $200 million in environmental projects.

Hogan said Tuesday the money in the proposed settlement will be used to improve water quality in the Lower Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay.

The administration says elements of the agreement will be submitted for approval to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, as part of the licensing renewal for the dam.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia regulators have rejected Dominion Energy's request to make its customers pay for long-term upgrades at power plants the company knew had a short working life.

The State Corporation Commission issued a ruling Monday partially denying the state's largest electric utility's request to increase customers' bills to pay for environmental compliance projects at certain power plants.

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The District 2 seat on the Wicomico County Council has been filled.

Nicole Acle will replace former council member Marc Kilmer.

Acle received a unanimous vote last night in a special legislative session.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the new council member and local business owner said that some of inter top priorities will range from education and safety to economic growth and the environment.

She pointed specifically to the ongoing sewage problems in her district.

The county council was facing a July 30th deadline.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The attorneys general of Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia are urging the nation's biggest electric grid operator to choose a CEO who will help with "efforts to address climate change" and embrace changes needed to make clean energy programs successful.

The letter signed by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, Delaware Attorney General Kathleen Jennings and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine was sent last week to a panel searching for a new CEO for PJM Interconnection.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says a renewable energy measure isn't clean enough, and he is announcing his own goal of reaching 100 percent clean energy in the state by 2040.

Hogan said Wednesday he won't veto a measure approved by the General Assembly, but it will become law without his signature.

The legislature's bill increases the state's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard from 25 percent by 2020 to 50 percent by 2030. But the Republican governor says he has serious concerns that the measure could send too many jobs out of the state.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed off on a new state budget without vetoing a section that blocks the state from participating in a carbon cap-and-trade program.

The Democratic governor signed the budget Thursday. He said he was disappointed the GOP-led General Assembly put in language effectively prohibiting Virginia from joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan says former Gov. Harry Hughes restored integrity to Maryland's capital.

Hogan spoke at a funeral Thursday in Annapolis for Hughes, who was governor from 1979 to 1987. Hughes entered office after two of his predecessors were hit by scandal. He died last week at age 92.

Hogan praised Hughes for being a fierce advocate of environmental stewardship. He highlighted the former governor's work at building partnerships with the federal government and surrounding states to protect the Chesapeake Bay.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has vetoed legislation aimed at limiting his authority to institute a carbon cap-and-trade plan.

Northam, a Democrat, said Thursday he had killed a bill that requires legislative approval before Virginia can participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade program among Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states that mandates emission reductions in the power sector.

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Management of septic systems in Wicomico County has come in for criticism by industry professionals.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the problems involve permit delays and inconsistent staff recommendations.

Frustration boiled over during a recent meeting of more than a hundred county residents and professionals.

The paper reports they complained about delays in getting septic permits.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Legislation in Maryland would create a panel to draft a blueprint for where solar projects could be built while protecting forests and agricultural land.

Sen. Paul Pinsky said Tuesday the state needs a plan to fulfill a commitment to clean energy while protecting important natural resources.

The state commission would include officials, farmers, representatives from solar power companies and environmental and preservation communities.

The measure has been filed in response to recent local opposition to solar projects.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland will sample air on the lower Eastern Shore to examine the potential effects of large poultry houses on air quality.

The Department of the Environment announced Tuesday that monitoring stations will collect preliminary data on ammonia and particulate matter levels near poultry houses for comparison with air quality elsewhere in the state.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Ralph Northam has proposed a package of environmental legislation aimed at safely disposing of coal ash, helping coastal communities deal with flooding caused by climate change and continuing the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay.

The legislative agenda unveiled Thursday includes the Coastal Protection Act. The law would allow the state to use an estimated $50 million in revenue from the sale of carbon pollution credits for coastal resilience projects.  It also would dedicate funds for economic transition for coal communities.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A board of high-ranking Maryland officials has rejected a pipeline across the western part of the state that would carry natural gas produced in Pennsylvania to West Virginia.

The Board of Public Works voted 3-0 Wednesday against an easement for TransCanada's proposed pipeline. It would run under the Potomac River and extend 3 miles (4.83 kilometers) from Columbia Gas' network in Pennsylvania to Mountaineer Gas' distribution system in West Virginia.

EPA

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Conservationists in Virginia and Maryland say a Trump administration proposal could undermine efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk reported last week that the measure would roll back federal protections for certain waterways and wetlands.

It would specifically impact "ephemeral" streams, which flow after a rainstorm or snowmelt. Also under threat are isolated wetlands that experts say help to filter pesticides and fertilizer from nation's largest estuary.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware's Supreme Court has upheld a judge's decision nixing an appeal bid by state officials in a case involving an environmental group's challenge of permit requirements for large poultry operations.

The court on Tuesday agreed with a Superior Court judge who said the state's motion was filed too late and did not meet legal standards for appealing a ruling to the Supreme Court before a case has concluded.

Joe biden, us.gov

NEWARK, Del. (AP) - The University of Delaware has named its school of public policy in honor of former vice president Joe Biden.

The announcement was made Tuesday at the conclusion of a semiannual meeting of the university's board of trustees.

Biden is a 1965 graduate of the university. The Biden Institute at UD's School of Public Policy and Administration is already named for him. Biden told trustees that having the school itself named for him was "a truly great honor."

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Scientists have begun researching an under-studied source of Chesapeake Bay pollution: Tidal flooding.

The Virginian-Pilot reported last week that flooding driven by ocean tides often drags trash and other waste into the nation's largest estuary.

Tidal flooding greatly affects areas around coastal Virginia, including large cities such as Norfolk. Old Dominion University professor Margaret Mulholland said she's seen receding floodwaters pull in tipped-over garbage bins, basketballs and human waste.

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Senator Tom Carper said he was thinking more about his ride home than the signing ceremony he was attending at the White House with President Trump yesterday.  

The Delaware Democrat told the Wilmington News Journal that he was more worried about not getting to his train on time.

During Trump’s claim that Democrats and leftist organizations were behind the caravan of immigrants coming from Central America the paper reports that the president pointed to Carper.

In response Carper handed him the signing pen for the water bill and the two laughed.

Exelon Corp. website

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Baltimore City Circuit Court judge has dismissed a challenge by Exelon to the water quality certification issued by a Maryland agency in the proposed relicensing of the Conowingo Dam.

Gov. Larry Hogan says progress in fighting pollution in the Chesapeake Bay could be at risk, if Maryland doesn't pursue a comprehensive regional approach to reducing pollution in the Susquehanna River, which flows through the dam.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A Delaware judge has nixed an appeal by state officials in a case involving an environmental group's challenge of permit requirements for large poultry operations.

The judge on Monday denied the state's request to send the case directly to Delaware's Supreme Court. The judge said the request was both untimely and did not meet legal standards for interlocutory appeals.

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Engineers opened the gates of the Conowingo Dam this week letting loose tons of water that drowned some nearby trees and flowing over some roadways.

The dam on the Susquehanna River in Cecil County has been of major concern for sediment and nutrients.

But WBOC reports that the state of Pennsylvania has seen heavy rainfall this summer that has brought large amounts of debris and runoff.

The Exelon Corporation has been working on cleaning up the debris in the water.

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The House of Representatives has approved an amendment that would keep the Environmental Protection Agency from spending any money to impose penalties on states that did not meet goals for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.

Eight years ago the EPA set up a framework for the amount of pollution allowed into the bay – known as the “Total Maximum Daily Load”.

Alan Girard with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation told the Salisbury Daily Times that the bay restoration effort under the plan has provided accountability for bay restoration.

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