President Obama, who called for a “new generation” of nuclear power plants in his State of the Union address Wednesday, is quickly moving forward. He created a panel Friday to recommend ways to dispose of used nuclear fuel and is expected Monday to propose tripling loan guarantees for new plant construction.
His call for new nuclear power plants has angered some environmentalists and Democratic supporters, as noted in a prior post, but welcomed by nuclear industry lobbyists, including former Environmental Protection Agency chief Christine Todd Whitman, now co-chair of the CASEnergy Coalition.
Currently, 104 commercial nuclear power plants provide 20% of U.S. electricity, according to the Department of Energy. They produce no carbon emissions, but their operation and used nuclear fuel raise safety questions.
Some members of Commissioner Larry Jarboe’s Republican Town Hall Alliance slate and others expressed concern Tuesday night at the St. Mary’s County commissioners’ public forum about rezoning 620 acres in Hillville to industrial use.
The change is pending with the update of the comprehensive land-use plan. The property was the site of a munitions factory in the 1950s and current zoning would allow a limited number of homes.
Developer Paul Facchina made the request for industrial zoning.
Steve Riley of Hillville said rezoning the site “doesn’t pass the smell test. This simply stinks.” It’s not up to the commissioners to see that a property owner gets a return on an investment, he said. “Industrially zoned property can be used for almost anything,” even a landfill, he said. “It gets right to the heart of quality of life … and we’re about to lose that.”
Aim is to avoid ‘Waldorf effect’
Taking another look at maps of Mechanicsville, the St. Mary’s County commissioners this week agreed to put most of the lands on the east side of Route 5 into the rural preservation district, but left a chunk of 63 acres on that side for higher residential use.
The old village of Mechanicsville and surrounding development are on the west side of the highway. The planning commission and support staff recommended taking the east side of the road out of the town center to avoid traffic and visual problems — “a Waldorf effect,” said Derick Berlage, director of land use and growth management.
If the University System of Maryland’s budget must be cut in midyear, as it has been the past two years, state officials say those reductions won’t tap students’ tuition.
“That hasn’t happened in the last three years,” said Shaun Adamec, Gov. Martin O’Malley’s press secretary. “I would unequivocally say that is not in the playbook.”
Warren Deschenaux, director of the state’s Legislative Services Office of Policy Analysis, agreed, saying the possibility is “very remote” and “vanishingly small.”
Long-time Maryland senator for District 29, Roy P. Dyson, D-Great Mills, faces a new challenge in the coming 2010 election from Republican Steve Waugh. Waugh plans to officially kick off his campaign this coming Wednesday in California, Md.
According to his campaign website, Waugh is a retired Marine Corp Aviator and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Waugh works at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory where he manages advanced engineering programs. He is also a native Marylander, having been born in Annapolis.
Board Docs - Charles County Commissioners’ Meeting - TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2010
1.05 [12:45 p.m.] Presentation: State of the College (Dr. Bradley Gottfried, President, College of Southern Maryland)
When we first heard of the PATH project some years ago, it was being touted as absolutely necessary to ensure that adequate power would be available in the region. Without PATH, it was warned, power problems such as brownouts might begin to appear as early as 2014. Under that scenario, PATH’s creators, Allegheny Energy and American Electric Power, indicated that the project needed to get a quick green light so that construction could begin.
PATH is not just another run-of-the-mill transmission line. It’s 275 miles long, its huge towers would traverse sections of three states, and its terminus would be an enormous substation slated for a parcel off Bartholows Road near Mount Airy . Its cost is estimated at $1.8 billion, of which a 14.3 percent return on investment is guaranteed by the regional power authority PJM.
All those considerations might not, in and of themselves, be a legitimate reason to say no to this project, at least for now. But something else may be—whether or not it is as critical to the region’s power needs as it was originally billed.
The Obama administration announced the sale Friday of $6 billion worth of Patriot anti-missile systems, helicopters, mine-sweeping ships and communications equipment to Taiwan in a long-expected move that sparked an angry protest from China.
In a strongly worded statement on Saturday, China’s Defense Ministry suspended military exchanges with the United States and summoned the U.S. defense attache to lodge a “solemn protest” over the sale, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
“Considering the severe harm and odious effect of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, the Chinese side has decided to suspend planned mutual military visits,” Xinhua quoted the ministry as saying. The Foreign Ministry said China also would put sanctions on U.S. companies supplying the equipment.
I have read with interest the articles about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s concerns for the Mattawoman Creek and its watershed “considered the Chesapeake’s most productive nursery” for several types of fish, contrasted against Charles County’s desires for planned residential developments.
As a resident of Calvert County, the clash of philosophies is so sharp that I am moved to write to you. Beginning in 1987 concerned private citizens took actions to preserve land through the American Chestnut Land Trust in Calvert County. More than 3,000 acres of land is now enrolled in a series of donated conservation easements, providing a second layer of permanent protection of the “scenic, cultural, rural, agricultural, woodland and wetlands property.” The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Rural Legacy Program are partners with ACLT to protect lands embracing Parkers Creek on the western shores of the Chesapeake Bay.
They have a fraction of the money. They’re hardly household names. But two relative unknowns have decided to take on Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley this fall.
And they just might have a chance.
For now, the campaigns of Democrat George Owings III and Republican Larry Hogan might be overshadowed by speculation about the potential candidacy of former Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. But they have been quietly reaching out to discontented voters across the state at a time when stalled health care reform, unemployment and a lost U.S. Senate seat have made Democrats vulnerable.
On call: When Ginger Barnes was volunteering as an emergency medical technician in Ridge about 30 years ago, the function of the rescue workers was mainly to scoop patients into a Cadillac and rush them to the hospital.
Now, things are much different for Barnes, a professional paramedic in Charles County. She can medicate someone to help stop seizures, thread a tube down the windpipe of a person with a collapsed lung and monitor a patient’s heartbeat. She’s delivered six babies, one on a stairwell, and works 24-hour shifts.
Five or six houses will get help with transfer
The Charles County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a budget transfer which will go directly toward improving a handful of homes without indoor plumbing.
Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services Deborah Hudson told the commissioners that a combined $10,000 donation and $25,000 in excess funds from previous home rehabilitation projects will be moved from a restricted area of reserves in the county’s general fund balance and placed into contract services for the county Housing Authority.
This year’s Christmas in April program has begun a little earlier than expected, thanks to volunteers from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and St. Mary’s County. On Wednesday, Jan. 27, students and the community convened with little notice in Park Hall, to clear out the underside of a trailer home and make room for a furnace and major bathroom repairs, neither of which were installed in the home occupied by a woman and her three children.
The woman needed a furnace and bathroom repairs immediately. Christmas in April acted this week rather than waiting until their traditional April date. With St. Mary’s County Christmas in April purchasing the furnace, Winters Heating and Cooling are donating their services, along with additional materials, later this week, while A & K Plumbing will donate their services with major bathroom repairs.
By RACHEL LEVEN
ANNAPOLIS (Jan. 29, 2010) - Walk into Hagerstown’s Community Free Clinic and you can see exactly whom health care reform, state or federal, is meant to help.
The waiters and bartenders who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford insurance, those who have been responsible with finances but were let go due to the recession, and others whose stories can’t be generalized come here for free treatment.
“It’s especially hard for those people who have always been responsible, who have always been insured. They are humiliated to have to come here,” said Executive Director Robin Roberson. “They feel like they’re taking advantage of something that they shouldn’t, but the reality is that those are the people that we are here to care for.”
By TIFFANY MARCH
WASHINGTON (Jan. 29, 2010) - While Maryland politicians are praising the $70 million in stimulus dollars the state received Thursday for high-speed rail improvements, the ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee, Rep. John Mica of Florida, called Maryland’s share “peanuts” and “an insult.”
Maryland is one of 31 states receiving a piece of the $8 billion President Obama announced Thursday for high-speed rail projects.
Mica, an advocate of high-speed rail, particularly for the congested Northeast Corridor, said Friday that the Maryland projects awarded funds are good ones, but billions of dollars went where there’s less need.