General Assembly 2022 Legislative Initiatives

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The Maryland General Assembly is now in session and considering a number of bills with implications for the Bay and the Corsica watershed. A few of them are highlighted below. Contact our District 36 representatives to voice your opinion.

Sen Stephen S. Hershey, Jr. (R)
Del Steven J. Arentz (R)
Del Jefferson L. Ghrist (R)
Del Jay A. Jacobs (R)

HB250: Private Well Safety Act of 2022.
The primary federal law governing the health of the nation’s drinking water does not cover private drinking wells and smaller community-based water systems. According to a 2020 report, Maryland ranks among the five U.S. states with the fewest protections for private well owners and users.This bill requires private wells to be tested when property is transferred, will make the results of well testing publicly available through an online database, and creates a Private Well Safety Fund to aid property owners with testing and remediation of well water contamination.

SB273/ HB275:  Prohibitions and Requirements Regarding PFAS Chemicals.PFAS, or per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, include more than 9,000 varieties of human-made chemicals used in the manufacture of consumer goods including cookware, flame retardants, waterproofing, furniture and take-out containers. These chemicals do not break down in the environment,  are ubiquitous in the food chain, and have been associated with birth defects, damage to the liver and kidneys, and cancer risk. The bills prohibit the use, manufacture, or distribution of certain fire-fighting foam that contains intentionally added PFAS chemicals, certain rugs or carpets, and certain food packaging.

SB492/HB649 Inspections and Administrative Continuations for Discharge Permits
This bill aims to address the backlog of administratively continued discharge permits (commonly known as “zombie permits”) by limiting the amount of time Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) can extend expired permits to three years beginning in 2022, and limiting it to one year beginning in 2027. The backlog of zombie permits must be cleared by 2026. All facilities with zombie permits or those in significant noncompliance with their permits will be subject to random monthly inspections, and administrative penalties if any violations continue for two or more months. MDE will also be required to request sufficient staff to carry out their permitting and enforcement responsibilities as outlined in this bill, and have all of those staff in place by 2025.

SB292: A bill introduced in the Senate seeks to assign to producers part of the responsibility of disposal of certain packaging.