I just got back from some travel and ran across these items in the news.
Energy Governor O'Malley has recognized that the solution to Maryland's energy problems lie not just in conservation but also in the construction of new generating facilities in the state. With brownouts or rolling blackouts projected for portions of the state (including the Eastern Shore) as soon as 2011, trying to persuade homeowners and businesses to reduce consumption simply isn't going to cut the mustard. We need both new generating capacity and improved transmission facility. The sooner the state begins to take an active role in supporting both, the better off we will be.
Pollution Attorney General Doug Gansler has announced plans to sue the Defense Department to force them to clean up groundwater and soil contamination at Fort Meade. The Defense Department has been trying to dodge responsibility for this for quite a while. The fort has been on EPA's superfund list for quite a while but the Army has been dragging its feet in the cleanup effort. It's worth noting that they don't seem to have any shortage of funds when it comes to building a big new golf course at the fort. Now let's see if we have the gumption to take legal action against some of our neighboring states - Pennsylvania in particular - to force them to stop sending their filth down the rivers into the Chesapeake Bay.
Transportation The O'Malley Administration has announced plans to fast track the procurement of additional railroad cars to supplement the MARC fleet. The 13 double-deck cars will be purchased from the Virginia Railway Express and will be refurbished before being placed into service. When they are placed into service in November, they will increase the MARC fleet by more than ten percent. Together with the new locomotives expected in February, these will reduce delays and allow for expansion of MARC service, giving many Marylanders a meaningfull choice of how to commute in these times of high gas prices.
Jurisprudence Governor O'Malley has appointed Judge Mary Ellen Barbera to the Maryland Court of Appeals. She is an excellent choice. Judge Barbera didn't have the luxury of being able to go directly from college to law school. Instead, she attended the University of Maryland School of Law at night while teaching in Baltimore public schools. Undoubtedly she learned a lot both while teaching and at law school. Her real-world experiences and background in addition to her sharp legal mind will give her excellent perspective as she takes on her new responsibilities. We wish her well.