Southern Maryland Notebook

Southern Maryland Notebook

By Christy Goodman
Sunday, November 15, 2009

Maryland has cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 6 percent since 2004, and St. Mary's College of Maryland reduced its by 80 percent this year.

Maryland is among the top 10 states cutting carbon dioxide emissions, according to an analysis of government data released Thursday by the state-based, resident-funded Environment Maryland.

"It's time to take back control of our energy future. By harnessing the power of the wind and the sun, we can cut pollution and transition to clean energy sources that don't harm the environment, never run out and create new, local jobs," Environment Maryland field associate Mike Sherling said.

"We reduced [carbon dioxide] emissions dramatically," said Shane Hall, a senior at the college. "I am proud to say that the largest percentage was the result of student-led actions."

The student body bought renewable energy credits for about $50,000 to offset 100 percent of the carbon emissions produced by the college's electricity consumption. The college also upgraded facilities and built environmentally friendly buildings. Those and other initiatives have allowed the college, which would have produced 19,500 tons of carbon dioxide over the past year, to offset more than 15,000 tons of emissions.

Tobacco farmers lose case

The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled against Maryland on Nov. 6, effectively denying further payments to Maryland tobacco farmers from the nation's largest tobacco companies under the 1999 National Tobacco Growers Settlement Trust, Maryland Agriculture Secretary Earl F. "Buddy" Hance announced.

The case would have required Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and Lorillard Tobacco to make payments of about $13 million through 2010 to Maryland farmers and $9 million for Pennsylvania farmers.

Maryland and Pennsylvania filed an appeal with the court to hold the companies accountable to a 1999 trust agreement. The case centers on a provision ending payments to farmers in the event of federal legislation benefiting tobacco growers and quota owners.

The companies say they no longer needed to make payments to Maryland and Pennsylvania farmers after Congress passed the Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act in 2004. The legislation provided payments to farmers who produced tobacco under the federally regulated quota system. Maryland and Pennsylvania did not receive such payments because they did not produce quota tobacco.

H1N1 flu clinic in St. Mary's

The St. Mary's County Health Department is hosting a public vaccination clinic from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Chopticon High School.

The H1N1 vaccine will be distributed to pregnant women; people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months; health-care and emergency services personnel; and people 6 months to 24 years. The vaccine will also be administered to people 24 to 64 who are at higher risk because of chronic health disorders, such as asthma, diabetes or a weakened immune system.

If available, seasonal flu vaccines will be administered. There is no charge for the H1N1 vaccine. A donation of $20 is requested for the seasonal flu vaccine.

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