May 2023 Newsletter
Wednesday, May 10, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. via ZOOM
or call in with 301-715-8592 (Meeting ID: 878 5121 7903, Passcode: 278680)
A recording of this meeting, and hotlinks within the Newsletter, will be available on our website: www.WMCCA.org
Maryland Senator Brian Feldman (D-15)
District 15 Delegates: Lily Qi, Linda Foley, and David Fraser-Hidalgo
Each year the District 15 Delegation briefs us on the completed legislative session. In these four, we have a team that works well together and supports one another. In housing, health care, and education, bills were passed to insure reproductive freedom and trans health equity and others address student debt and affordable prescription drugs. Like WMCCA, the Delegation makes the environment a priority. This session they helped or sponsored the passage of a number of bills critical to addressing climate change and lost biodiversity including a bill called Maryland the Beautiful Act which will protect 30% of Maryland lands from development by 2030. A hard fought bill was passed on Forest Preservation and Retention, as well as bills that establish a native plant program to educate and encourage the use of native plants and discourage the sale and use of invasive species and a Greenspace Equity Program that promotes natural spaces in underserved communities. Bills were passed that allow local jurisdictions to control and ban the sale of invasive bamboo species and others address solar and offshore wind energy, electric vehicle recharging reliability, and a Clean Trucks Act that requires Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to establish requirements for new zero-emission medium and heavy duty trucks in the State.
We look forward to welcoming and learning from our hard working District 15 Delegation. The public is most welcome to participate.
President’s Letter by Barbara Brown
Congratulations to Joe Reed, P.E. on receiving the 2022 Federal Engineer of the Year award for the National Park Service given by the National Society of Professional Engineers. For the last three years, Joe has served as engineering lead stationed at the C&O Canal National Historical Park. One of his projects has been working on preserving and updating the 1,015 foot Log Wall on the Canal, originally constructed from 1828 to 1831. Go to the WMMCA.org meetings page for a PDF of his presentation on February 8, 2023. The work on the C&O Canal is long overdue. We must be patient with the inconvenience as they struggle to update the Canal to accommodate the thousands of people who use it — from hikers, paddlers, bikers, campers, climbers, fishermen, historians, and visitors to the lock houses and the Great Falls. The 184.5 mile long Park is central to the health of the Potomac River.
submitted by Carol Van Dam Falk
It’s no fun clearing tons of leaves from our yards and trying to avoid the tedious work of raking them into piles, then hoisting them into containers for disposal, but there is a huge environmental price to be paid for using gas-powered leaf blowers. Several states have considered banning gas-powered blowers; more than 100 cities and towns have enacted bans on the product. Not surprisingly, California recently announced a gas-powered leaf blower ban to be enacted in 2024.
A bill to do just that was yanked at the last minute in Montgomery County this year. Bill 18-22 would have prohibited the sale and use of gas-powered blowers by a certain date and would have authorized a grant program to partially offset the cost of replacing the product with an electric leaf blower.
Gas-powered blowers emit hydrocarbons at rates up to nine times higher than those generated by electric blowers. It’s estimated that using a commercial leaf blower for one hour emits as much pollution as driving a 2016 Toyota Camry from D.C. to Miami. The problem lies in the two-cycle engine which burns a mixture of oil and gas unlike the 4-cycle engines in cars which only burn gas.
That’s not to mention the noise pollution with engine-powered blowers which bother humans and critters alike. Some of the most powerful ones exceed 112 decibels*, which can cause hearing damage in just one minute. It’s time we and the landscaping companies switch to electric leaf blowers and urge our communities to ban gas-powered blowers.
* Noise is measured in units of sound pressure levels called decibels using A-weighted sound levels (dBA). The A-weighted sound levels closely match the perception of loudness by the human ear. Decibels are measured on a logarithmic scale which means that a small change in the number of decibels results in a huge change in the amount of noise and the potential damage to a person's hearing.
Typical A-Weighted Sound Levels:
30-40 dBA – Soft Whisper at 2 meters
50 dBA – Urban Residence
60 dBA – Conversation at 1 meter
70-80 dBA – Vacuum Cleaner at 3 meters
80-90 dBA – Heavy Truck at 15 meters
90-100 dBA – Jackhammer at 15 meters
110 dBA – Dance Club
120-130 dBA– Jet Takeoff at 100 meters
140 dBA – Threshold of Pain
The election of the WMCCA Officers and Board of Directors will occur at our May 10th General Meeting. The Nominating Committee proposes the following slate of Officers and Directors to the membership for a vote.
Nominations may also be made from the floor.
President: SUSANNE LEE
Treasurer: BARBARA HOOVER
Immediate past President: BARBARA BROWN
Secretary: KATHY PETITT
President Elect: GINNY BARNES
Newsletter: NANCY MADDEN
Nominees for a two-year term:
CAROL VAN DAM FALK, THEODORA SCARATO
To serve 2nd Year of their two-year term (no action needed): KEN BAWER