WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, responded to the announcement today of a new water rule by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) R.D. James. The new replacement rule will gut Obama-era regulations that define the waters of the United States (WOTUS) -- the rivers, streams and wetlands that fed into the drinking water supply of 1 in 3 Americans.
“Clean, safe water is a right of every person in this country. But the Trump administration does not seem to prioritize clean water or public health. Time and again they have shown their sole priority to be protecting polluters at the expense of evidence-based public policies that were built on years-long scientific research.”
Senator Cardin has long urged the Trump administration to protect the Clean Water Rule and protect America’s clean drinking water. In April 2019, he led colleagues in a letter to Wheeler and James during the formal rulemaking comment period urging them to abandon the dangerous proposal.
“Continued success of the Clean Water Act requires a clear and scientifically sound definition for determining which bodies of water are protected, while protecting those waters that influence the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters—the goal at the heart of the Act. However, the final rule provides neither the certainty requested by our constituents, nor the clean and healthy waters upon which we all depend. Instead, this rewrite makes it nearly impossible for stakeholders and regulators to easily and consistently define perennial, intermittent and ephemeral streams. Far from fulfilling the President’s promise to create a nationally consistent rule, this rule injects ambiguity into the law at the expense of our decades of progress in cleaning up our waters.
“For Maryland and the Chesapeake region, the Trump administration’s latest rollback of federal clean water regulations undermines the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort by eliminating federal protections for thousands of acres of wetlands and some headwater streams. Under the Trump administration’s new water rule, isolated wetlands not connected by surface waters to navigable waterways in an average year will be denied federal protections. This would make them more vulnerable to pollution, and make it harder for state and local governments, farmers, nonprofits and businesses to achieve their nutrient and sediment reduction goals. Also exposed would be streams that flow only after rain or snowmelt, called ‘ephemeral’ streams, that play a critical role in supplying clean drinking water and as tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay. In the long run, this rollback will cost American taxpayers money for increased health costs and other harmful effects of increased pollution in our waterways.”
Charles County is preparing for the possibility that an adult entertainment club may illegally open its doors this weekend in the Bryans Road area. Currently, the club does not have a valid Certificate of Use and Occupancy to operate and an injunction was issued in November 2019 to prevent it from operating in the absence of a valid Certificate of Use & Occupancy. If the nightclub opens for business, as it has advertised it will, the county stands ready to immediately pursue legal action against the nightclub owners because they will have violated the injunction and will be operating without a valid Certificate of Use & Occupancy.
To date, the Board of County Commissioners has taken several actions to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its residents from the potential adverse impacts of the nightclub’s anticipated adult entertainment activities, including:
Immediately after being notified by concerned residents that the nightclub was promoting adult entertainment in November 2019, county staff investigated the matter and revoked its original Certificate of Use and Occupancy because its activities were not authorized in the zone where the club planned to open.
On Nov. 22, 2019, the county's permit revocation was upheld in court and an injunction was issued.
Commissioners directed staff to begin the process of exploring development of a zoning text amendment that would consider limits on how, when, and where adult entertainment clubs can operate, with a proposal expected by July 2020.
On Jan. 14, 2020, the Board of County Commissioners approved a resolution to temporarily suspend approval of site development plans and Certificates of Use and Occupancy for any property whose use will include adult entertainment in Charles County until a zoning text amendment can be considered.
The nightclub has applied for a new Certificate of Use & Occupancy but has not yet received it because its representatives have not complied with certain requirements in the Resolution.
“The Board of County Commissioners has taken every step that it has the legal authority to execute,” said Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. “Under Charter Government, a County Executive would have the authority to exercise policing powers to prevent a business without proper permits from opening its doors – without the need to seek relief from the Courts.”
“We are disappointed that our law enforcement partners are not enforcing the injunction ordered by the Courts,” stated Commissioner Thomasina O. Coates, M.S., of District 2, the district where the nightclub intends to open. “Unfortunately, the Board of County Commissioners does not have the ability to compel them to take action on code violations, resulting in the situation that we are now facing as a community.”
Leonardtown, MD – The Department of Public Works and Transportation has completed repairs on the walkway bridge between Breton Marketplace located on Pt. Lookout Road and the St. Mary’s County Health Department and St. Mary’s Nursing & Rehabilitation Center located on Peabody Street in Leonardtown. Originally scheduled for completion on or about Jan. 31, 2020, the underground stormwater piping is now repaired, and the walkway has been returned to service. The department thanks the community for patience during this project
Update: At 12:40 p.m., John Stacey, 81, was found safe and unharmed about one quarter of a mile from his home.
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their search for John Stacey, 81, who was reported missing last night. On January 21 at 5 p.m., Stacey left his home in the 2800 block of Smith Point Road in Nanjemoy to walk to his mailbox to check on his mail. When he didn’t return 15 minutes later, family members began looking for him. After searching for over an hour, family contacted police. Officers immediately established a command center and began searching utilizing foot patrols, K9, MSP aviation, drones and the help of allied agencies. In addition, the search for him was posted on all social media outlets. Further, any tips that were provided have been pursued and all area hospitals have been checked. The search is continuing today. Mr. Stacey was last seen wearing a blue coat, light blue jeans and a winter hat with earmuffs. He is described as a white male, 6’2”, 150 pounds, gray hair, blue eyes and wears glasses. His family has indicated he may have the onset of dementia. Anyone with information is asked to call 911. Anyone wishing to help search for Mr. Stacey is asked to contact the CCSO non-emergency line at (301) 932-2222.
Delegate Gerald “Jerry” Clark was named the new Ranking Member of the Environment and Transportation committee by the House Minority Caucus today.
“I am grateful for the opportunity. Being part of this committee has given me the opportunity to grow and expand my knowledge in many areas. I look forward to the new responsibility of keeping my colleagues informed of the progress and challenges of bills in committee,” said Delegate Clark.
The Ranking Member of the committee is responsible for giving reports on bills as they progress through the committee and advocating on behalf of bills sponsored by members of the minority party.
The Environment and Transportation committee, hears bills pertaining to the environment, transportation, natural resources, agriculture, land use, ethics, housing and local government. Delegate Clark is a member of the Land Use and Ethics and the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Open Space subcommittees.
Early this morning at 4:43 a.m. forty firefighters from the Waldorf Volunteer Fire Department were called to 10856 Maplewood Court in Waldorf for a 2 story single family dwelling. The fire occurred in the living room of the home. The occupant was alerted by the residential smoke detectors installed in the home. The occupant found fire in the living room and was able to escape without injury. The fire is determined to be accidental, caused by an electrical component located in the living room. No one was injured in the fire and the estimated damage is $75,000.