On October 31, 2011, Carroll Country Board of Commissioners held a forum in Pikesville to discuss Plan Maryland. The international panel members included Lord Christopher Monckton, a science policy advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a contributing author to the Science and Public Policy Institute, and a frequent speaker on climate change science.
An expert in urban planning and transportation policy, Wendell Cox is the principal of an international urban policy firm and senior fellow at the Institut Economique de Montreal in Quebec. A visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, Wendell Cox is very concerned about anti-sprawl policies and opposes “densifying” urban areas because it contributes to air pollution levels thus posing health hazards.
Patrick Moffitt served under the Clinton/Gore administration on the White House committee on environmental technology and was president of U.S. Water LLC.
George Frigon is co-chair of the advisory board for the graduate part-time program in Environmental Engineering and Science at Johns Hopkins University and wastewater treatment expert. He is the co-author of the USEPA’s manual for wastewater treatment for small communities and senior partner at New Fields, a global environmental consulting firm.
Ed Braddy is the executive director of the American Dream Coalition, which conducts forums on urban planning, transportation, land use, housing and property rights. He opposes smart growth policies.
An environmental group that supports UN Agenda 21 smart growth goals, “1000 Friends of Maryland,” called the forum an “absurd event.”
The panelists were invited by the Carroll County Board of Commissioners to discuss Plan Maryland, a “smart growth” strategy proposed by the state to stop urban sprawl and concentrate development in “approved” urban centers.
Plan Maryland is an executive action by Governor O’Malley that does not require legislative approval. The governor wants to preserve 400,000 acres of forest and farmland over the next 20 years. Members of the Carroll County commission object to the plan because it shifts control of land use from local elected officials to “unelected state bureaucrats.”
The spokesperson for the Maryland Department of Planning, Andrew Ratner, described the expert panel as “fairly loaded” because “some of the speakers’ areas of expertise have nothing to do with Maryland.”
Plan Maryland has been controversial in Carroll County because the commissioners have strongly opposed the state’s sustainable growth plan, “arguing that it is not about the environment and smart growth but about control and politics.” Such politics follow the United Nations Agenda 21 goals of returning millions of acres of land to wilderness by moving populations into approved high-rise, mixed-use, densely populated areas in designated cities around the country.
Senate Minority Whip E. J. Pipkin stated that Governor O’Malley is “at war with rural Maryland.” O’Malley is using a 37-year-old law to withhold state funding from local governments who refuse to cut urban sprawl. He wants to ban most new septic systems, essentially bringing rural development to a halt.
O’Malley has planned an expensive offshore development of windmills, higher taxes for transportation, a massive toll increase, a triple sewer “flush tax” by the end of the year, and gasoline tax increases. He is pushing for a Chesapeake Bay cleanup that will cost counties billions of dollars and many jobs. (Washington Post)
Farmers are angry that the Maryland governor is dictating from Annapolis how “communities across the state should develop, and it’s wrong, it’s arrogant.”
As O’Malley’s spokesperson, Rachel Guillory, defends his decision, she validates the power grab. “He is basing his decision on what is best for Maryland now and in the future.” I wonder if his liberal ideology makes the governor eminently qualified to make such permanent life-altering decisions for the state’s citizens without voter and legislative input.
The rural residents are angry because O’Malley’s Plan Maryland, a statewide blue print of land use that mimics UN Agenda 21 is nearly completed. “The plan maintains 400,000 acres as agricultural or forest land. Without this plan, land would be developed in the next 20 years. O’Malley’s plan allows development in “approved” growth areas along the Baltimore-Washington corridor.
If local governments refuse to build more dense housing developments, state funding for school construction and other community projects will be denied as punishment for non-compliance.
O’Malley declared in August that homes on two-acre plots with septic system were urban sprawl. Homes built within city limits on half-acre plots in range of sewer hookups were not considered sprawl. (Washington Post)
To turn his plan into reality, O’Malley is using a 1974 law to enact the plan without further hearings or action from the General Assembly. He claims savings of $1.5 billion annually for roads that will not be built to new developments and hundreds of millions needed to expand and improve water and sewer systems.
The panelists, with sound science-based arguments, have debunked some of the premises behind Plan Maryland. O’Malley is going to enact Plan Maryland this month without legislative approval in spite of the loud objections that a state should not dictate where communities grow.
Protecting property rights and freedoms are guaranteed in the Constitution and should be paramount to the wishes of any individual or environmental group who trample on people’s rights under the arrogant excuse that government knows best in their ever-encroaching power and control over our lives.
As Friedrich August von Hayek so aptly expressed it in his Road to Serfdom, the pervasive control “hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.”
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Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, Romanian Conservative is a freelance writer, author, radio commentator, and speaker. Her books, “Echoes of Communism”, “Liberty on Life Support” and “U.N. Agenda 21: Environmental Piracy,” “Communism 2.0: 25 Years Later” are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle.
Her commentaries reflect American Exceptionalism, the economy, immigration, and education.Visit her website, ileanajohnson.com
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