Md. plants show big drop in greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gas emissions from Maryland’s power plants fell by more than 26 percent from 2010 to 2012, the sixth-largest drop in the nation during that time, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency. Only Massachusetts, Virginia, Oregon, Washington state and the District of Columbia saw greater declines, according to the data released last month, with greenhouse gas emissions falling by more than 10 percent nationwide. (Daily Record)

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Montgomery pollution plan found lacking

Environmental groups scored a win last week in their lawsuit contending that Montgomery County's state-mandated plan for curbing polluted runoff is lacking. Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Ronald B. Rubin ordered the Maryland Department of the Environment on Wednesday to revisit the storm-water permit it had issued the county in 2010 requiring reductions in pollution and trash from county streets, parking lots and existing buildings. (Balt. Sun)

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Howard installing solar cells at sewage treatment plant

Solar power is going everywhere these days — homes, businesses, schools, even sewage plants. Howard County is beginning work this week installing about 740 photovoltaic panels at its Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant in Savage. The $1.5 million project will generate a fraction of the power needed by Maryland's fifth largest wastewater treatment plant. Its chief purpose, however, according to County Executive Ken Ulman, is to offset carbon emissions from big new diesel generators being installed to prevent sewage spills like the massive one triggered by Superstorm Sandy last year. (Balt. Sun)

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Advocates "sleep out" for housing justice

Standing in the center of downtown Baltimore's economic hub, amid blocks of hotels that house tourists, about 100 advocates called Saturday for adequate and affordable housing that they say has been unjustly denied to the homeless. Chants of "housing is a human right" rang through the Inner Harbor's McKeldin Square, as demonstrators kicked off the fifth-annual "Sleep Out for Housing Justice." The event was organized by the advocacy group Housing our Neighbors. (Balt. Sun)

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Nov. 22 // Batts' crime-fighting plan focuses on gangs, guns, violent offenders

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts wants to stop sending officers out on low-priority 911 calls, expand foot patrols and create a unit focused on investigating incidents in which police use force. He proposes assigning homicide detectives to city neighborhoods, beefing up investigative units and sending elite plainclothes officers to more police districts. He wants to install tiny cameras on officers' uniforms and put computer tablets in their hands. (Balt. Sun)

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Seniors want more transportation options

Frederick County seniors want more transportation options as some of them age out of driving, according to a report from the county's Department of Aging. About 16 percent of licensed drivers, almost 647,000 in Maryland, are over 65, according to Motor Vehicle Administration spokesman Buel Young. Some of those seniors may voluntarily give up driving if they notice their ability is not what it used to be. The MVA may also deny licenses to people of any age who have medical conditions that make it unsafe for them to drive. (News-Post)

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State pledges $56 million for Nice bridge replacement design

Officials in Maryland announced $56 million in new funding Thursday to cover right-of-way acquisitions and design work for the eventual replacement of the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge. The 72-year-old bridge carries Route 301 over the Potomac River and serves as a major traffic artery between Charles County in Southern Maryland and King George County in Virginia. About 17,900 vehicles cross the bridge each day, but that number is expected to more than double, to 37,000 vehicles per day, by 2030, Maryland Transportation Authority officials said. (Balt. Sun)

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Seeking another Earth, by the numbers

In a room with concrete block walls from which he can barely see the sky, Drake Deming explores the heavens. Several days a week he can be found in his office at the University of Maryland, College Park, surrounded by three computer screens, analyzing information about planets outside our solar system. In these remote regions — no closer than four light years — roughly 24 trillion miles — and as far as hundreds of light years away — scientists hope one day to find an Earth-like world capable of supporting life. (Balt. Sun)

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