From the 2009 News Archive
Environmental Clinic Secures Protection for Bay from Sediment
Twelve Maryland Waterkeeper organizations and the Waterkeeper Alliance, represented by the University of Maryland School of Law's Environmental Law Clinic, announced May 21 that they have reached an agreement with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) resolving the Waterkeepers' legal challenge to MDE's general stormwater permit for construction sites. As a result of this agreement, MDE has committed to making significant changes to the way it requires developers to prevent polluted runoff caused when rain washes sediment and other pollutants from these exposed areas.
The settlement requires MDE to update the state's erosion and sediment control standards no later than May 2010. These standards specify measures that must be taken on construction sites to prevent water pollution.
"Strong, clear and enforceable permits are critical to any effort to preserve the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries because permits are the building blocks of the Clean Water Act," said Jane F. Barrett, director of the Environmental Law Clinic. "This agreement is an important step in the right direction."
Professor Barrett has more than 30 years of experience in all aspects of environmental law. She has served as an attorney with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland. She has played a major role in many significant environmental cases and is recognized as one of the most experienced environmental criminal litigators in the country.
Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper Eliza Smith Steinmeier expects to see real benefits from this agreement: "Dirt is literally choking our waterways. In addition, dirt from construction sites carries with it other pollution such as nutrients and chemicals. This agreement ensures improvements in construction practices that will directly result in improved water quality in our streams and rivers."