Help Stop the removal of the Watershed Conservation District
around Maryland Airport
Charles County Commissioner Public Virtual Hearing
Wednesday, September 22 at 6 pm
PLEASE NOTE: THE COUNTY, starting 8 a.m. this morning, started giving a new signup process from what we had been told for weeks up until yesterday. The old way, no longer being used, is below in smaller type, italics and in parens. The NEW way is that they email you an URL, you sign on at 6, and wait your turn. There are three things on the agenda, with the Airport amendment third. What we know from a recent hearing in Prince George's County, that under this system many people just abandon, cutting participation by perhaps 80%. Ask that the record be held open for 60 days. Ask that they try harder to involve the public.
This hearing is on a proposed amendment to the Comprehensive Plan that would allow a tremendous expansion of the existing airport onto surrounding lands that are highly sensitive. The proposal would remove the environmental protections (Watershed Conservation District) that stand in the way of the conversion of sensitive forest land into impervious surfaces – which the Airport Expansion would do on a terrible scale.
How you can help:
Most importantly, register to speak at the virtual hearing TODAY, Wednesday September 22. Register to speak on that day (by calling 301-885-2779) after 8 a.m. and definitely before 4 p.m. They will ask for your phone number. Give the number you will be at between 6 on 9 Wednesday evening, Sept. 22. NOTE: As on 8 a.m.. today we were informed that the County's signup rules are different from what we were told yesterday. Now, when you sign up and register, they send you an email with information for logging on to a web based virtual meeting. The Airport hearing is the third item on the agenda.
(They will call you between 6 and 9, put you on hold for a couple of minutes, and then tell you you are unmuted. Speak for three minutes and hang up when you are done. Please ask that the record be held open for 60 days for comments from the public. Other suggested points to make are below.)
You can comment online at a Charles County comment website: https://www.charlescountymd.gov/government/public-comments/comprehensive-plan-amendment-lands-surrounding-maryland-airport You can do that any time including on Sept. 21, but definitely before 4 p.m. Sept. 22. If you can only do one thing, speaking at the virtual hearing is the most important because the County Commissioners, the decision makers, will hear you directly.
Please like, comment and share the airport posts on the Mattawoman Watershed Society facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/MattawomanWatershedSociety
Please like, comment and share (and watch) a YouTube video with discussion of the threat to the schoolchildren at J. C. Parks Elementary School and Matthew Henson Middle School from increased exposure to lead from the airport expansion that would follow the removal of the Watershed Conservation District. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-Tv1c1-PTw
If you have any questions or want more information, call 301-518-2708 and ask your questions. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Points to make especially at the virtual hearing (one or more of these):
Please hold the record open for 60 days.
The proposed amendment --
Would greatly increase the exposure of school children in the area to lead pollution. There is no safe level of lead in the human body, and children are particularly vulnerable. See the above YouTube link.
Would change 583 acres protected for their environmental sensitivity into industrial and airport use. This would greatly increase the amount of impervious surface, carrying more sediment into Mattawoman Creek at a higher speed, at a higher temperature, and threatening living resources in the Creek.
Would weaken the Watershed Conservation District, which the County put in place to protect Mattawoman Creek in response to an urgent report issued by an Inter-Agency Task Force of the State of Maryland and the federal government, warning about paving any more of the Mattawoman Watershed. https://dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/Documents/tredmanAlliance_Presentation.pdf
Here is some more information:
(Interagency Task Force, “The Case for Protection . . .”
YouTube video on lead and the airport with Dr. Richard Cook, President of the Charles County Medical Society. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-Tv1c1-PTw
Bay Journal article about how proposed airport expansion endangers local community's health, welfare, and quality of life with threat to fish, wildlife, and bird habitat of local, state, and national renown.
Grist article regarding airports and lead poisoning:" A majority of the 50 general aviation airports with the highest volume of lead emissions are located in communities of color. Black children are disproportionately burdened by lead exposure nationwide."
The Case for Protection of the Watershed Resources of Mattawoman Creek (powerpoint)
Sierra Club Video including Dr. Richard Cook, Dr. Gabrielle Tayac, and Jim Lawson
Dr. Richard Cook and James Lawson discuss the threat of airborne lead in Charles County schools.