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What are MDE Technocrats Hiding?

You may remember the Maryland Department of the Environment’s shenanigans with my 2007 PIA request regarding the alarmist advocacy group Center for Climate Strategies and their involvement with the Maryland Commission on Climate Change.

Last month, I filed a similar request to see who will have a hand in formulating the regulatory implementation of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, which mandatesa an economically disastrous 25% reduction in 2006 GHG levels by 2020. MDE is up to it’s old tricks.

The final plan on how to implement the new law is due by 2012. On Sept. 11,Red Maryland blogger Mark Newgent submitted a Public Information Act request to find out whether Environment Maryland and United Steelworkers officials were also involved in writing the regulations.

“I asked for any documents regarding the implementation of the GHG law, including correspondence with the local Maryland steelworkers union and Environment Maryland to see if the administration was outsourcing public policy to these two groups,” Newgent said.

In response, Newgent got a bill for $1,353.55 for 44 hours of staff time the Maryland Department of the Environment supposedly needs to search for the records, including 36 cents per printed page – even though he requested the results on a CD-ROM.

When I called to ask why it would take the department an entire workweek and cost more than $1,000 to provide this information to the public, an MDE spokesman claimed it was “a very extensive request.” That, of course, doesn’t explain how MDE calculated its cost estimate. Newgent is worried that the same environmental cabal that wrote the legislation will also write the regulations without any meaningful public input. By the time it finally gets to the public hearing stage, he says, the business-strangling new rules will be a rubber-stamped fait accompli.

In response to a similar PIA inquiry two yearsago, MDE tried to charge Newgent $1,381.40 for just four hours of staff time, so its productivity is 11 times better than it was in 2007. Unfortunately, that will be the only productivity gains in Maryland for a long, long time as it follows California lemminglike over the cliff.

Looks like MDE’s technocrats are taking Tom Friedman’s wish to be “China for a day” to heart.

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