Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley yesterday signed a slew of environmental legislation into law, including measures to toughen automobile emissions standards, reduce phosphorus in dishwashing detergents and lease parcels of underwater land for oyster-restoration projects.

The bills were among 173 signed by O’Malley (D) during the second in a series of ceremonies to follow the recently concluded legislative session in Annapolis. Yesterday morning’s event was designed to highlight the number of initiatives passed this year after four years in which environmentalists often felt stymied by O’Malley’s Republican predecessor, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.[…]