What Maryland Stakeholders Told Us About the State's Clean Water Act Enforcement Program

by Yee Huang | April 09, 2010

In preparing CPR’s recent white paper, Failing the Bay: Clean Water Act Enforcement in Maryland Falling Short, we conducted interviews with sixteen stakeholders across Maryland to assess MDE’s enforcement program as it operates on the ground. Collectively the stakeholders have decades of experience with enforcement at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as from environmental and industry perspectives. A full summary of the interviews can be found in the report, but a handful of surprising comments stood out. Comments on four areas stood out to me:

Maryland's Enforcement Compared With Other States. While Maryland prides itself on a strong environmental reputation, some interviewees tempered this pride. One environmental interviewee described MDE’s enforcement program as “middle of the pack – slightly under par,” while an official evaluated the program more positively, noting the “considerably higher” number of violations flagged for formal enforcement actions. One official noted that the Chesapeake Bay is a driver for enforcement because it gives MDE and Maryland a higher profile than other regions with less famous or less historically important waterways. Yet another environmental interviewee said that the long history of Bay restoration was an obstacle to an active and vigorous enforcement program. “The Bay restoration effort has been going on for so long now, and there’s a mentality that there’s nothing that will help all that much, so just plug away and be satisfied.”

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New CPR Report Finds Maryland Failing to Enforce Clean Water Act

by Yee Huang | April 08, 2010
Today CPR releases a new report, Failing the Bay: Clean Water Act Enforcement in Maryland Falling Short. The report, which CPR Member Scholar Robert Glicksman and I co-authored, details the results of an investigation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) enforcement program at the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). CPR provided a copy of this report to MDE, and its response (and CPR’s follow-up) is included as an appendix to the report. Overall, we found that state of Maryland ...

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