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Developers, Environmentalists At Odds Over New Maryland Regulations

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By Natalie Neumann

Maryland's Department of the Environment is trying to resolve a conflict between developers and environmentalists over regulations for how builders manage runoff from their projects. The rules are supposed to go into effect in May. Now the Chair of the House Environmental Matters Committee is threatening legislation if the conflict isn't resolved. The proposed rules make exceptions for redevelopment of already existing properties, but developers say they still go too far.

Committee Chair Maggie McIntosh, a Democrat from Baltimore City said the program passed in 2007 almost unanimously.

"It had the support of local government, developers in the state. So somewhere in the next month we need to get back to that position," says McIntosh.

Jon Laria, Chair of the state's task force on the future for growth and development, says the state should strive to preserve the bay and environment, but at the same time encourage investment and avoid unnecessary burdens on local government.

"I'm not at all convinced that these goals are irreconcilable but I'm also not convinced that we've reconciled them yet," says Laria.

The task force on the issue will meet again February 1.

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