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Senate passes bill to add 22,000 wildland acres

Friday - 2/14/2014, 2:40pm  ET

Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- The Maryland Senate has voted without opposition to add nearly 22,000 acres of state-owned property to its wildland protection program.

It voted 36-0 Friday after a short speech by Sen. George Edwards, who represents the two counties that contain most of the new wildlands.

Edwards expressed ambivalence. In his district, Garrett and Allegany counties, the state owns about 25 percent of the total land, he said. Because the state doesn't pay property taxes, these counties effectively lose money on this property. Wildland protection will prevent all development and nearly mineral-harvesting there.

However, Edwards voted for the bill, saying some parcels of his district genuinely needed stricter state protection.

If this bill succeeds, Maryland's total wildland acreage will be nearly 46,000.

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