ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gov. Martin O’Malley on Friday continued his push to restrict septic systems at new major subdivisions, despite opposition from members in both parties who are concerned the measure could hurt development during tough economic times.

O’Malley, who caught lawmakers by surprise when he announced support for the policy in his State of the State speech, testified in favor of the legislation two days after he waded into a polluted lake on the Eastern Shore to call attention to environmental problems caused by leaky septic systems.

“By turning a blind eye to the proliferation of major septic housing developments as a state, we would in essence be feeding doughnuts to a patient with a heart condition,” O’Malley told a Senate committee.

But Sen. Roy Dyson, D-St. Mary’s, expressed concerns that Republicans and Democrats in rural areas have about the
legislation. While he supports measures to fight pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, Dyson questioned whether the bill would put up a roadblock to economic development that has suffered during the recession.

“There hasn’t been any construction, at least I’m told, anywhere — very little — throughout southern Maryland,” Dyson
said. “It just seems to be this drive right now makes those companies very, very nervous.”

Dyson, who noted there is only about a month left in the legislative session with a large variety of work remaining, said he supported studying the idea over the summer and including input from a variety of people who would be affected.

Delegate Maggie McIntosh, a Baltimore County Democrat who chairs the House Environmental Matters Committee, recommended in a letter to the governor that a task force study the idea and report back by Dec. 1.

O’Malley, a Democrat, said the decision would be up to lawmakers, and he noted that sometimes it takes more than a year to pass legislation through the General Assembly.

Still, the governor said there are advantages to moving ahead this session.

“There is an argument to be made that now is actually the ideal time to put in clear rules for moving forward because of the recession and because of the relative lack of construction activity going on now compared to what there was six years ago during a boom cycle,” O’Malley said.

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

Comments (5)
  1. overregulated says:

    Just another way to strip property rights in Maryland. State run Health Departments have monitored septic systems closely, and when development occurs the health departments get to re-evaluate the septics. If O’Malley gets his way and enacts state laws to further restrict, or even eliminate development, then the health departments won’t get as many opportunities to inspect systems.

    Total posturing in O’Malley’s part, he simply wants the state to have totalitarian control of property rights. The Free State is no longer.

  2. Jim says:

    O’Malley is certainly an expert on this subject. He, like a septic system is full of $h1t.

  3. bushido786 says:

    The good Governor should have intimate knowledge in this area. Wonder how much more this will cost us. Perhaps we can divert some of the funds to pay for the illegal aliens he wants to educate, while our own children can not afford to pay for college. Keep pandering to your voter base Martin, the people of this state are so stupid they willl keep voting for you.

  4. peter o'neil says:

    Martin can’t run for Gov again but he will be Porky pig’s (Mikulski) replacement when her term is up. Martin is familiar with septic systems since he was raised & bred in a house full of s…..t.

  5. George Helm says:

    O’Malley belongs in a septic tank!

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