The proposed pesticide law pending before the Montgomery County Council and the National Park Service proposal to collect entrance fees from those using the C&O Canal National Historical Park present interesting challenges. We will learn more about the pesticide bill at WMCCA’s February 11th meeting. C&O Canal Superintendent Kevin Brandt will discuss the fee proposal and other Canal issues at our March 11th meeting.
WMCCA has been and will always be a strong supporter of enhanced environmental protection and defender of our beloved C&O Canal. And even imperfect legislative efforts, such as the new Montgomery County Tree Canopy Law, presumably are better than nothing. But when examining what is likely to result in effective environmental protection and the conservation of natural resources – what does and does not work - there appear to be some basic principles.
There must be the critical “rule of law” framework – transparent legislative process, clarity in objectives and requirements, and effective enforcement. But the entire effort also must be grounded in common sense and an acknowledgement of basic elements of human behavior, with a laser focus on ensuring maximum efficiency and effectiveness given scarce resources.
As we become engaged in examining these two new proposals – and others in the future – we will do so with an emphasis on ensuring public transparency and strong, effective methods for environmental protection. These are some of the questions we will be asking:
1. Is there a clear statement of the problems to be addressed, including the sound science behind the elements of the pesticide law and the financials behind the fee proposal?
2. Exactly how will the proposals address these problems and how will success or failure be documented?
3. Are there other more effective targets and alternatives?
4. Exactly what will each of us be required to do to comply with these solutions and how will this be communicated?
5. How and by whom will they be enforced and how will citizens be able to monitor enforcement?
Glen Hills Sewer Study - Submitted by Susanne Lee:
Following their meetings in December 2014 with Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Montgomery County Council Member Roger Berliner, a group of scientists, engineers, university professors, and governmental agency experts who are Glen Hills residents prepared an extensive analysis of the Glen Hills Study. They focused on one aspect of the Study – the science behind the Phase 1 and Phase 2 reports - and determined it was fatally flawed. Thus, any recommendations drawn from the reports would be invalid. They, along with WMCCA, submitted their findings to Mr. Leggett in a detailed January 12, 2015 letter requesting that he reject the Study and instead initiate a revised fact-based and scientifically sound analysis.
Pennyfield Lock Road - Submitted by Ginny Barnes:
The recent CIP (Capital Improvement Projects) budget contains an item for replacing the bridge on Pennyfield Lock Road. This road dates back to the 1850’s and is designated as Rustic in the Rural and Rustic Roads Master Plan. The bend in Pennyfield was created to go around the Dufief warehouse that was located on the south, inside part of the bend. The warehouse was the reason the road was built. Dufief (who also ran a mill) was bringing in fertilizer and shipping crops from the warehouse, which was a huge improvement in access for a big chunk of the farming community.
Criteria for alterations to Rustic Roads are specific and have not been followed in the Department of Transportation (DOT) proposal to fund bridge reconstruction. Of the three possible alternatives, the DOT selected the one most detrimental to the historic landscape of the C&O Canal National Historical Park. The public has never seen or been given an opportunity to comment on the proposed bridge replacement alternatives, nor have the 'safety' criteria been assessed. The precedent and possible 'unintended consequences' to other Rustic Roads in Potomac may be at stake. Accordingly, WMCCA will be writing testimony for the public hearing on the CIP Budget. The National Park Service has done a thorough and thoughtful report on the historic and cultural aspects of Pennyfield. It makes fascinating reading:
Update on Ten Mile Creek - Submitted by Ginny Barnes:
In 2014, the County Council adopted an amendment to the Clarksburg Master Plan affording unprecedented protection to Ten Mile Creek. A strict impervious cap was placed on development in the creek and tributaries. The Rural Neighborhood Cluster (RNC) zone was applied, requiring 60-80% open space development sites. The RNC zone also requires sewer and the County Council is currently considering Sewer Category Changes for the proposed developments. In the case of Ten Mile Creek, the choice of sewer alignments is integral to following through with protecting the watershed and Little Seneca Reservoir. A public hearing was held and the Transportation and Environment Committee (T&E) will take up discussion of the category changes February 5th.
West Montgomery County Citizens Association Newsletter
P. O. Box 59335
Potomac, MD 20854-9335
President - Susanne Lee, 301-956-4535
Website – WMCCA.org - Peter Poggi, Newsletter Editor – Nancy Madden
Check the web site for information on issues we are working on.