Recap - Maryland Department of the Environment and Support of Business in Maryland

Posted Date: 
September 8, 2015

Guest Speaker: Ben Grumbles, Secretary, Maryland Department of Environment
Topic: Balancing Being Open for Business with Environmental Regulation
September 8, 2015 Recap

The vice-chair of the Infrastructure and Land Use Committee, Gus Bauman, welcomed MCCC members and introduced the guest speaker, Secretary Ben Grumbles, Maryland Department of the Environment. Mr. Bauman commented that Secretary Grumbles is well respected in the field and has a reputation for being open to all points of view.

Secretary Grumbles focused on Governor Hogan’s themes and priorities. In order to maintain Maryland’s economic competitiveness, we need to be customer driven, results oriented and market based.

Customer driven:  The Secretary is responsible for establishing a culture of collaboration which includes engaging with the regulated community.  There are great possibilities with a strong IT team and adding a business ombudsman to the staff to advance options for citizens and get them the information they need. MCCC is a key organization to create those connections with the broader business community.

Results oriented: Innovation fueled by results oriented approach will be important to getting things done, particularly with regard to the management of the Chesapeake Bay. Secretary Grumbles talked about the merits of the MS4 program but acknowledged that it is only part of the solution. More attention in being given to leveraging the upstream impacts on water quality conditions and working with the other states that impact the Bay as they prepare for the TMDL 2017 review.  He is particularly excited about innovative approaches to issues such as converting poultry litter into electricity.

Market based: Regulation is important for public safety and health but the next iteration needs to bring in new players to achieve goals. What used to be called ‘accounting for growth’ is now ‘aligning for growth,’ which means accommodating smart, sustainable growth in a manner that mitigates the impact on the environment and still allows for progress in sustaining the Bay.  With regard to climate change, it means creating a ‘climate of opportunity for greater resilience.’  Maryland has potential to be a leader in this regard and promote a green infrastructure.

Questions and answers focused on the TMDL, important policy discussions about sustainable and smart growth, and the inter-jurisdictional competition when it comes to Environmental Site Design to the Maximum Extent Practicable. 

Ultimately, Secretary Grumbles stressed a collaborative approach that is innovative and efficient to help balance the economic and environmental imperatives that are important for Maryland now and into the future.

Maryland Department of Environment website

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