Good News From Delegate Ron George ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Monday, April 28, 2008

Good News From Delegate Ron George

CP provides the following unedited press release from Delegate Ron George. I like the term "Green Elephant" and wish Ron continued success in bringing environmental concerns to the generally anti-environment Republican Party.


Imagine the stunned expressions on the members of the House Environmental Matters Committee when they saw the following panel all testifying in favor of an important environmental bill: The Maryland Homebuilders Association, The Aggregates, The Maryland Chamber of Commerce, waterfront homeowners, Maryland Department of the Environment, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, The Terrapin Institute and other environmental groups. The bill they were all in favor of was HB 1056, sponsored by Delegate Ron George, Anne Arundel County Republican, who is becoming known as a “Green Elephant”.

The bill was an answer to the fact that many people try to get around environmental inspectors, not because they are enemies of the environment, but because the inspectors are overworked and can hold up projects for many days before they can do their inspection. The result was that the homebuilder had no predictability; homeowners were eating large costs of delay; and the environment suffered when the land near the waterways was not built on in an environmentally friendly manner. In order to do business, it was easier to build it and get slapped with a fine rather than to follow the law.

Delegate Ron George’s bill, signed into law today (Thursday, April 24, 2008), charges a fee upfront to the waterfront homeowner, yet actually saves them money by erasing delays. The fee pays for additional inspectors that are used only for this purpose. Left over funds are put in a new Wetlands and Waterways Program Fund (established by the bill) to help the environment. The money cannot revert to the General Fund, meaning it is used only for the purpose intended. The fee is based only on the land impacted by the construction, not the total property.

“When I ran for office, I often spoke of the fact that many environmental laws were ineffective because they made people that live and work near the water the bad guys, often punishing them. These include the local business community, the waterfront owners, boaters, crabbers, watermen, and farmers that all live, work, and recreate here because they love and care about the environment; yet they are left feeling disenfranchised from helping to save it,” said Delegate George. “This bill includes them in the process and brings all parties together.”

The bill actually began as a study between the groups, yet it could not make it through the House and Senate previously. Delegate George said it was important to build consensus and meet one on one with any lawmaker that had a concern. Many Environmental Matters Committee members signed on as co-sponsors, including Anne Arundel Delegation members Virginia Clagett and Barbara Frush. “I was very proud to be a part of this from the beginning. Delegate George did a wonderful job bringing the parties together and working the bill through. I believe this bill goes a long way in helping the environment,” said Delegate Frush.

If you have questions, Delegate George can be reached on his cell phone: #410-353-2380.


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