Bill Hearing and committee vote revives controversial debate on stormwater management regulations

A “sponsor only” bill hearing on legislation sponsored by Delegate Marvin Holmes that incorporated the compromise reached between local governments, the homebuilders, members of the environmental community and the Department of the Environment on the state’s proposed stormwater management regulations, was held in House Environmental Matters on March 24.  The Committee gave a favorable vote (18-5)  to the bill on March 25 sending the legislation to the House floor for final action.

Chairman McIntosh revived the hearing in light of opposition to the proposed regulations by Senator Pinsky, whose committee must review them.  During the hearing, opponents in the audience, including former Governor Hughes, stood up and declared their opposition.  According to a story in today’s Sun,

McIntosh expressed frustration that the deal she had engineered had come undone, requiring last-minute legislation.

“If I thought in any way, shape or form that we are weakening the regulations, I wouldn’t be sitting here,” she said after the hearing. She said she didn’t see the need for legislation to amend the storm-water pollution law, given assurances about flexibility coming from state regulators, but felt it necessary because of friction between the building and environmental communities. Now, McIntosh said, “Because of Senator Pinsky, we’re going to have a bloodbath. It’s too bad.”

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