The Environment in Focus en New Twist to Political Battle Over Eastern Shore Wind Farm <p>A new twist has surfaced in a long-running&nbsp;saga&nbsp;over what would be the first wind farm built on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.</p><p>U.S.&nbsp;&nbsp;Senator Barbara Mikulski, the powerful chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee,&nbsp;recently&nbsp;added language to a defense appropriation bill that would prevent the Navy from finalizing&nbsp;an agreement to allow&nbsp;two dozen&nbsp;600-foot-tall wind turbines at the proposed Great Bay Wind Energy Center in Somerset County.&nbsp;</p><p></p> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 18:03:19 +0000 Tom Pelton 504180 at New Twist to Political Battle Over Eastern Shore Wind Farm Report: Fracking Would Likely Harm Public Health in Maryland <p>Allowing hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in Western Maryland&nbsp;would result in a high likelihood that public health would suffer, according to a report released on Monday by the&nbsp; University of Maryland.&nbsp;</p><p><span face="">Air pollution from the diesel engines and trucks used in fracking&nbsp;would likely cause&nbsp;coughs, severe headaches, burning eyes&nbsp;and other health problems in Garrett and Allegany counties where drilling is contemplated, according to researchers with the University’s School of Public Health. </span></p> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 18:29:51 +0000 Tom Pelton 503875 at Report: Fracking Would Likely Harm Public Health in Maryland Rising Carbon Dioxide Levels May Feed Underwater Grasses <p>Some aquatic vegetation in the Chesapeake Bay and elsewhere may actually be helped by the rising carbon dioxide levels that are causing global warming, researchers suggest.</p><p> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 17:53:32 +0000 Tom Pelton 503527 at Rising Carbon Dioxide Levels May Feed Underwater Grasses Cold Weather Deals Blow to Blue Crabs in Bay <p>Blue crab populations in the Chesapeake Bay have fallen for two years in a row, prompting Maryland officials to impose more restrictions on catching female crabs in an attempt&nbsp;to&nbsp;boost the population.</p><p>Natural resource police have also tightened minimum size requirements for catching crabs and recently launched a&nbsp;"Don't Get Pinched!" enforcement campaign.</p><p>“Crab populations are low, so Marylanders would like us to step up our enforcement efforts when it comes to crabbing violations,' said&nbsp; Major Jerry Kirkwood of the Maryland Natural Resource Police</p><p>A scientific survey of the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab population earlier this year found that the numbers had fallen to the lowest levels since 2008. &nbsp;That was when&nbsp;the federal government declared the Bay an economic disaster area&nbsp;and allowed watermen to collect emergency relief funds.</p><p>“What we’re seeing this year is the number of adult female crabs – those female crabs that are creating the next generation – is very, very low," said&nbsp;Lynn Fegley, deputy director of fisheries at&nbsp;the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.&nbsp; "It actually fell slightly below what we consider our safe threshold, which is why we are calling the stock depleted.”&nbsp;</p><p>Fegley said unusually cold temperatures this winter killed about 28 percent of the Bay’s crabs. This compounded a problem from the previous year, when unfavorable winds and ocean currents meant record low numbers of crab larvae survived.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Bad weather’s blow to the blue crabs is a reversal in what had been a great comeback story.&nbsp; Crab populations in the Bay more than doubled between 2008 and 2010 after Maryland and Virginia imposed some restrictions on catching female crabs&nbsp;and banned dredging for hibernating females in the winter.</p><p>But after a brief spike, crab populations have plunged back into the danger zone.</p><p> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 17:42:38 +0000 Tom Pelton 503196 at Cold Weather Deals Blow to Blue Crabs in Bay Bullfrog Farming Spreading Deadly Fungus <p>Populations of frogs and other amphibians have been declining around the world and biologist Lisa Schloegel believes that she may have discovered why.</p><p> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:43:51 +0000 Tom Pelton 502934 at Bullfrog Farming Spreading Deadly Fungus Multiplying Oyster Harvest Triggers Debate Over Catch Restrictions <p>After more than a century of decline, the&nbsp; harvest of oysters from the Chesapeake Bay has quadrupled over the last four years.&nbsp; This increase has inspired a debate over whether more -- or fewer -- restrictions are needed on the harvest of the Bay's keystone species.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 18:56:21 +0000 Tom Pelton 502525 at Multiplying Oyster Harvest Triggers Debate Over Catch Restrictions The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay <p>In a shallow bay of the Potomac River about an hour south of Washington, D.C., lie the remains of 214 wooden cargo ships from World War I, some of which have sprouted trees and become islands.</p><p> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 15:27:42 +0000 Tom Pelton 502245 at The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay Pollution Now Driving Evolution <p>For years,&nbsp;people thought that evolution was something that happened slowly, over thousands or millions of years. Not true, as it turns out.</p><p> Tue, 08 Jul 2014 18:57:18 +0000 Tom Pelton 501861 at Pollution Now Driving Evolution Governor O'Malley's Visit to Iowa Sparks Protest <p>Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's political campaigning in Iowa,&nbsp;a farming&nbsp;capital of the U.S.,&nbsp;has sparked complaints from some environmentalists, who claim that he is pandering to the powerful farm lobby.</p><p><font size="3"><span style="font-family: 'Arial', 'sans-serif'; color: black">&nbsp;&nbsp;Michele Merkel, co-director of the justice program at Food&nbsp;&amp; Water Watch, accused O'Malley of avoiding&nbsp;action in his own state to regulate manure from Maryland’s huge poultry industry, which is polluting the Chesapeake Bay</span></font><font size="3"><span style="font-family: 'Arial', 'sans-serif'; color: black">For example, she said, the governor in 2013 signed a law – sought by farmers and their allies -- called the “Agricultural Certainty Act.”&nbsp; It provides exemptions from any new pollution control regulations for farms that meet minimum requirements.</span><o:p></o:p></font></p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><font size="3"><span style="font-family: 'Arial', 'sans-serif'; color: black">The O’Malley administration also twice delayed poultry manure regulations that would prohibit the spreading of more poultry waste on Eastern Shore fields that are already overloaded with phosphorus from chicken litter.&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></font></p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><font size="3"><span style="font-family: 'Arial', 'sans-serif'; color: black">O'Malley's Secretary of Agriculture, Buddy Hance, however&nbsp;argues that the O'Malley Administration has made real strides toward preventing runoff pollution from farms. </span><o:p></o:p></font></p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><font size="3"><span style="font-family: 'Arial', 'sans-serif'; color: black">For example,&nbsp;Hance said, the state issued regulations prohibiting the spreading of manure in the winter, and required water pollution control permits for 80 percent of the large poultry farms in Maryland.&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></font></p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style="font-family: 'Arial', 'sans-serif'; color: black"><font size="3">Hance said the administration may still issue the long-delayed manure management regulations to control phosphorus -- after conducting an economic impact study to determine the cost for farmers.</font></span><o:p></o:p></p><p> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 16:55:45 +0000 Tom Pelton 501540 at Governor O'Malley's Visit to Iowa Sparks Protest Singing to Stop an Incinerator in their Back Yard <p>Sisters Leah and Audrey Rozier wrote a song to protest the proposed construction of what would be the largest incinerator in the United States near&nbsp; their homes&nbsp;in far south Baltimore.</p><p>The&nbsp;sisters, aged 16 and 19,&nbsp;want&nbsp;Maryland&nbsp; officials to&nbsp;stop the construction in the Fairfield neighborhood of the Energy Answers waste-to-energy plant, which would burn pulverized garbage to generate electricity.</p> Tue, 24 Jun 2014 17:57:52 +0000 Tom Pelton 501187 at Singing to Stop an Incinerator in their Back Yard