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O'Malley vows to seek curb on septics

Gov. Martin O'Malley promised a vigorous push during the coming legislative session  to curb the proliferation of large housing developments on septic systems, saying that increased pollution from such sources is undermining the progress Maryland is other making on protecting the Chesapeake Bay.

The governor took a defiant tone toward critics of his septic-control policies, which have been labeled by some as part of a "war on rural Maryland." O'Malley said the science was firmly on the side of those who want to control the growth of septic systems -- typically used for large-lot developments in outer suburban and rural areas. While the governor clearly indicated he would submit legislation dealing with the issue, he did not say which form it would take. A spokeswoman said it had not been decided yet whether it would be similar to last year's bill, which would have banned certain large developments on septic systems close to waterways.

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O'Malley's hard line on septics came during a wide-ranging, statistics-laden roundtable with reporters at the State House during which the governor enumerated his administration's progress toward achieving many of the statistical goals he has set in the past and reaffirmed his determination to keep working toward meeting those that remain.

The governor unveiled no new policy initiatives, but restated his intent to hold his 2013 budget within spending affordability guidelines while providing a generous capital budget to spur the creation of construction jobs.  He said he expects to propose some increases in transportation revenue and in the so-called "flush tax" but did not disclose specifics.

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Among the achievements O'Malley claimed were the state's No. 1 ranking on some national measures of the quality of public schools and reductions of violent crime rates to the lowest level in decades.

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