Maryland is prosecuting its fewest environmental crimes in at least two decades as Gov. Larry Hogan fulfills promises to ease regulatory burdens on businesses.
The work force dedicated to enforcing laws and regulations that protect air quality and the Chesapeake Bay has been shrinking since the second term of former Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat. The trend prompted Democrats in the General Assembly to force the Republican administration to spend $400,000 to hire more environmental inspectors in the coming fiscal year.
"It doesn't do any good to pass a law if it's going to sit on the books and be ignored," said Del. Brooke Lierman, a Baltimore Democrat. "It doesn't make the bay any cleaner."
Business owners and their advocates call the trend of less prosecutions a positive one, saying the administration is removing barriers to economic growth without compromising air or water quality.