The Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority was created by the state of Maryland in 1980 to be a planning, financing, and coordinating vehicle for solid waste management infrastructure. Now, 40 years later, it's time for Maryland to evaluate whether this structure is delivering the best value for Maryland local governments and residents, and what is the best way for state entities to support local governments moving forward.
Most of the functions that the Waste Disposal Authority has performed for local governments in the past decade is something that other state entities also do. For example, for the counties that use it, the Waste Authority offers consultant contracts on landfill management, landfill gas capture, recycling, and composting. The Maryland Environmental Service partners with counties in Maryland on recycling, composting, landfill management, and many other projects. Only eight Maryland counties (including Baltimore City) use the Waste Authority; the other sixteen do not.
In 2021, the State Transparency and Accountability Reform Commission set up by Governor Hogan recommended that "Given that, to the Commission’s knowledge, the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority does not have any outstanding bonds, it may be appropriate to consolidate them into Maryland Environmental Service since their work overlaps. This could help eliminate any redundancies and integrate the efforts of both agencies to better serve the state.”
The Waste Disposal Authority Sunset Act (HB161, sponsored by Delegate Korman, who served on the Commission) will take the next step: commissioning an official state evaluation of the Waste Authority's efficiency, effectiveness, technical abilities, and purpose, including draft statutory changes to merge the Waste Authority into MES or other steps to improve the status quo.
Making sure our local governments have the best solid waste infrastructure and planning possible means looking for ways to make government more efficient to better serve Maryland's needs for the future. Take action today! The House of Representatives already passed this bill unanimously, so tell your Senators to support the Waste Disposal Authority Sunset Act!