1000 Friends of Maryland released it's report.
Frederick County got a bad grade from a Maryland environmental group this week. On Tuesday, 1000 Friends of Maryland, released a report showing that the county came out in the bottom, putting rural areas of the state at risk, by not producing their map. Executive Director Dru Schmidt-Perkins says legislation passed last session requiring local jurisdictions to protect their rural lands from large scale development on highly polluting septic systems. She says Frederick County still has time to get the map completed, but under the law the state can't force them to make changes.
"No, the state can say we don't think you met the letter of the law. We don't think you're still going to have way too many polluting septic systems. We want you to hold a hearing for your citizens to comment on this weakness. The law doesn't have a lot of teeth, but the state does. If the county is doing a poor job, the state can refuse to fund a new school, not help to pay for a sewage treatment plant, or build a new road, and all those costs will be put on local citizens. So, while the law doesn't have a lot of teeth, the bailing out of that decision making could have a big impact on local county government," said Schmidt-Perkins.
Current projections show Maryland losing over 400,000 acres of rural lands to sprawl development over the next fifteen years. "That is a future we simply cannot afford," explained Schmidt-Perkins.
Some counties are doing a great job of growing smart and their maps reflect that. Baltimore, Caroline, Kent, and Worcester counties had the strongest rating for preservation, with Allegany and Montgomery right behind. Other counties struggling were Charles, Queen Anne's, and Wicomico. They were rated the most at risk of rural development, with Frederick and Prince George's the second most at risk.
"This analysis is a mid-term report card. We hope that over the next thirty days all the counties will take the necessary steps to fully protect the clean water, farming communities, and rural economies that depend on smart development," said Schmidt-Perkins.