On October 23 the Maryland Department of the Environment’s MDE proposed Controlled Hazardous Substance (CHS) notification regulations were published in the Maryland Register. These regulations are proposed pursuant to House Bill 977 (2008). As currently drafted, the regulations have very broad implications that go beyond the intent and language of the law, and are of concern to the business community. Accompanying the regulations is a required notification form that is overly detailed and burdensome.
MDE held a public workshop meeting on November 10 to discuss the proposed regulations and get stakeholder feedback. During this meeting MDE learned of stakeholders many concerns with the regulations that include the 48-hours notification timeframe, threshold levels, and unintended consequences.
The Maryland Chamber submitted a joint letter with a number of Maryland businesses and associations expressing the concerns of the business community. The Chamber is concerned with the broad scope of the regulations, and the requirement of expensive and potentially stigmatizing reporting even where there is no release and little risk. The Chamber thinks that the reporting could be tailored to be more meaningful, which will make the program more manageable and effective.
The Chamber and the concerned businesses and associations have requested that the proposed regulations be fully vetted through a stakeholder process. This would allow members of the regulated community to work with the Department to make sure that human health and the environment are adequately protected while not unduly and unnecessarily impacting real estate and financing activities and brownfields redevelopment.
Public comments may be submitted to MDE through Monday, November 23, 2009. Comments should be sent to:
Gail Castleman, Regulations Coordinator,
Department of the Environment,
1800 Washington Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21230-1719