Local Stormwater Fee Bill May Return; Federal Lands Subject to Local Fees

A January 14 Gazette.net article discusses a proposed local stormwater utility fee bill for the 2011 Session and a new federal law that will subject United States government properties to local stormwater utility fees.  The proposed State bill would require local governments to enact a stormwater utility fee and use the collected revenues for stormwater retrofits and stream restoration projects.  Variants of the bill have been introduced by Senator Jamie Raskin and Delegate Tom Hucker in the two previous Sessions:  SB 686/HB 999 of 2010 and SB 672/HB 1457 of 2009.

It is unclear if State legislation will actually be introduced this Session or whether the concept will be discussed over the 2011 Interim.  MACo has provided technical assistance to Senator Raskin but has not yet taken a position on the bill.  MACo did not consider the bills in 2009 and took “no position” on the bills in 2010, but has yet to engage in a full and prolonged position discussion on the legislation.

The following quotes from the article discuss the changes in federal law:

Some local governments will have millions of dollars worth of help coming, thanks to a new law directing federal agencies that had claimed they were exempt to pay “reasonable charges” to help reduce pollution flowing into waterways as runoff from buildings, sidewalks, pavement and other impervious surfaces.

“It’s the only major source of pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that’s growing,” U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D), who sponsored the law, told a gathering of state, local and federal officials who met in College Park on Thursday to discuss new moves to reduce the runoff that adds sediment and unhealthy nitrogen and phosphorus loads to the Bay.  …

With the federal government owning 3 percent of the land in Maryland and 5 percent of the land in the Chesapeake watershed, federal agencies must do their part, Cardin said.

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