Howard County Council Votes Against Veto Override of D1 Forest Conservation Bill


The following is from a press release on January 5th:

“These trees, they are warriors. And these forests, they are an army in our fight against climate change. Not to defeat climate change, but just to survive it. This Council heard from hundreds of our constituents about this bill over a holiday week, in the midst of pandemic surge, supporting our original votes and this veto override. Why don’t their voices matter?” – Councilwoman Liz Walsh

Ellicott City, MD (January 5, 2021) – Last night, the Howard County Council voted 3-2 not to override County Executive Calvin Ball’s veto of CB78-2021, a bill designed to protect more “Big Trees” by lowering one measure of those eligible for highest-priority conservation, from thirty-inches diameter to twenty-four. Council Chair Dr. Opel Jones (D2), Vice Chair Christiana Rigby (D3), Councilwoman Deb Jung (D4), and bill sponsor Councilwoman Liz Walsh (D1) voted for the original bill on December 6, 2021. After Executive Ball’s December 14, 2021 veto, two Councilmembers then reversed their votes — Chair Jones and Vice Chair Rigby.

This office is grateful to the more than two hundred constituents from every district in the County who emailed the Council, pleading for us to override Executive Ball’s veto. Over 95% of what we received supported the original bill as passed by a seeming veto-proof majority of the Council.

One constituent urged the Council: “We’re out of time on climate change. It is the number one issue that we face. The best we can do to protect our children’s future is to adapt to the change that is upon us. Conserving trees is critical to that adaptation.”

Another constituent wrote: “Planting trees is not nearly as helpful to mitigating climate change and nourishing wildlife as protecting those trees that are already growing, sequestering carbon, filtering groundwater, and aging long enough to flower and seed for the hundreds of species of native trees, birds, butterflies, and other wildlife who rely on them.”

In thanking all of the individual constituents and conservationists and environmental and grassroots organizations who have steadfastly supported this and other D1 legislative efforts to act now, preserve what little’s left now, Councilwoman Walsh promised: “We will not go away. We will not stop. We must see change.”

To see Councilwoman Walsh’s full statement from last night’s hearing, visit

To read our office’s December 30th press release, visit

To learn more about CB78-2021, visit


See this article for additional details: Howard County Council vote to override County Executive’s veto of CB78-2021 fails on January 4th

Scott E

One comment

  1. “Slippery slope dilemma”

    First, it bothers me when the gov’t tells me what I can do with my property.

    Second, people generally don’t want to cut down a large tree. But, the tree might be a threat to our house (or my neighbors). so, I have to get permission from the gov’t (and probably pay a fee) to cut it down after a number of gov’t employees examine the tree and terrain. Presently, need permission if it is 30 inches in diameter. Liz wants 24 inches.

    Next year, the gov’t will tell farmers they can not raise cows and horses because they generate methane gas. Ordering them to put up a field of solar panels. Then, people will be restricted in owning large dogs (over 50 lbs) because they also generate methane gas.

    Maybe, this type of tree restriction could be appliable to Colorado, Oregon or Washington state. But, do we need this type of restriction (and control) in our small, developed county?

    OK. I will put my soap box away.


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