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Group Wants Md. To Boost Environmental Enforcement

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BALTIMORE (AP) — A nonprofit research group wants Maryland lawmakers to give the state’s environmental laws more teeth.

A report released Friday by the Washington-based Center for Progressive Reform says updating laws will give the Maryland Department of the Environment the tools it needs to operate its programs.

The report calls on the General Assembly to increase permit fees to reflect the cost of monitoring and regulating permitted facilities and make sure the maximum penalty for violations keeps pace with inflation and the federal maximum. It also calls for a mandate to recover any economic benefits violators gain and
establishing mandatory minimum penalties.

MDE spokesman Jay Apperson says penalties are important, but they aren’t used to support regulatory programs. He says the department is reviewing permit fees, but no decisions have been made.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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