2011 Maryland Legislative Priorities for the Anacostia Watershed Society

The 2011 Maryland General Assembly session opens next week and legislators will consider several bills vital to the restoration of the Anacostia River.  A large coalition of clean water groups are working on a stormwater utility fee bill, which would require counties to implement programs that assesses a fee based on impervious surface to create a dedicated fund for stormwater retrofits that are vital to cleaning up our urban waters.  A typical Maryland county has a several hundred million dollar backlog of water infrastructure projects that this fee will help address. 

AWS worked over the last year with a coalition of industry and agency stakeholders to propose an invasive plants management bill.  The stakeholder process was a huge success and there is a lot of support for this important bill. 

Plastic bags in Watts Branch, a tributary of the Anacostia River.

Our big push this year will be for a Maryland bag bill modeled on the hugely successful DC bag bill.  Enacted in 2009, a 5 cent fee on paper and plastic single-use bags reduced the volume of plastic bags sold from about 270 million in 2008 to about 55 million in 2009 – that is almost an 80% reduction! (If tiny DC uses that many bags, think of how many are used in Maryland!) The money collected in Maryland will be split between the retailers and the Chesapeake Bay Trust, where it will be used for environmental restoration projects.  Visit the Trash Free Maryland website for more information.

There has been a lot of Bag Bill buzz in the news this week and below, in no particular order, is our attempt at a comprehensive list:

WTOP: D.C.'s nickel-a-bag fee nets city $2 million so far

Washington City Paper: Bag Tax Only Raises $2 Million, But So What?

Gazette: Kensington legislator to seek 5-cent fee on plastic bags in Maryland

WAMU: Wells Praises Bag Tax Shortfall

Washington Post: D.C. bag tax nets $2 million

Washington Examiner: Good news, bad news on D.C.'s plastic bag tax

WAMU: Northern Va. Lawmaker To Push For Bag Tax Again

TBD: 10 arguments from bag tax opponents

Examiner: Md., Va. lawmakers to propose 5-cent fee on disposable bags

TBD: Virginia’s proposed bag tax: EXPLAINED

DCist: Report: Bag Tax Brought In $2 Million Last Year

WTOP: 20-cent bag tax proposed in Virginia

WUSA9: Washington's Nickel-A-Bag Initiative Earns The City $2 Million

Examiner: Md., Va. considering taxing bags



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