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Maryland's 90 day legislative session starts today! From now through April, we'll be working hard to fight for legislation to protect clean water, clean air, and healthy communities in Maryland. And we need you! We'll be in touch throughout the legislative session with the latest news and opportunities to win clean water victories (click "Sign up" above to receive our emails), including these top Clean Water Action priorities:

💵 ♻️ Funding Waste Diversion & Compost (SB56): Local communities want to develop new infrastructure for reducing waste in the first place, rescuing potentially-wasted food, and composting what's left. But finding the funding for these programs is a challenge - even though we know they will save local governments money in the long run! This bill will add a small $2/ton surcharge to the tip fee that waste haulers already pay to dump trash at landfills and incinerators, and the money raised will go to grant programs dedicated to developing composting and waste reduction infrastructure. Other states, like Pennsylvania, already have similar surcharge programs - it's a solution we know works!

💲💩Funding Local Septic Systems (HB1320): Marylanders pay into the Bay Restoration Fund, a powerful tool for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. But the fund is falling short in its quest to clean up pollution from septic systems. We need changes to better tackle the growing concerns about failing and polluting septic systems. This bill will make it easier to use the Bay Restoration Fund to support more septic system repairs and replacements.

💰 ☀️ 𖣘 Reclaim Renewable Energy (HB166/SB146): For over a decade, Maryland has misclassified trash incineration - the most polluting method of producing energy - as "renewable," diverting subsidies away from real renewable energy like wind, solar, and geothermal power to give extra profits to polluting incinerator companies. In a year where Governor Moore's new climate plan (which endorses ending subsidies for incineration!) calls for $1 billion per year to meet our climate and energy goals, we can't keep wasting money on incineration that could be supporting new renewable energy instead. The Reclaim Renewable Energy Act (endorsed in Governor Moore's new climate plan!) will take trash incineration out of Maryland's renewable energy program, fulfilling a longtime demand of environmental justice communities living near trash incinerators.

✍️🏠 Transparency near Superfund Sites (HB486/SB125): There are 21 sites in Maryland on the Superfund’s National Priorities List: EPA’s list of the most hazardous contaminated sites in the country identified for long-term study and remediation. Contamination from these sites can travel through the air, water, soil, and groundwater to nearby land, threatening neighbors’ health. Preventative measures, like specific home maintenance, equipment, and changed behaviors, can reduce that risk – but only if neighbors know they need to do it. Right now, when someone is buying a home near a Superfund site, that proximity isn't disclosed to them in the same way that other hazards, like lead or radon, would be. This bill would add a crucial piece of the puzzle to communities' right-to-know, ensuring that people buying homes within a half-mile of a Superfund site receive a disclosure notice.

Those are just the highlights, but we'll be busy with much more. We will also be supporting environmental justice priorities of the Mid-Atlantic Justice Coalition, including the Reclaim Renewable Energy Act and amplifying demands for real action on environmental injustices. We'll be working to pass bills like the Clean Water Justice Act (to allow the public to sue to stop illegal water pollution) and the Whole Watershed Act (to pilot restorations that take a whole watershed and community approach in their clean up efforts). We'll be supporting smart solar siting policies to steer large-scale solar development toward appropriate sites and away from forests and farms. And much more!