CBF Report Urges Stronger Action By State and Local Governments on Stormwater

A January 22 Bay Journal article reported that the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) has released a report urging the federal government and state and local governments adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay to take stronger actions to address stormwater runoff.  From the article:

CBF President Will Baker said that now is the moment to act on stormwater runoff, because it is the source of pollution that has gotten the least attention so far, compared with agricultural, industrial or air pollutants.

“It is the source [of pollution] that continues to grow whereas other sources are being addressed and starting to go down,” Baker said. “ And it’s got great benefits for local communities.”  …

Yet new stormwater rules passed in Maryland and Virginia continue to receive pushback from local governments, bringing the issue to the forefront of political discussions as states come back to session this year. [The Bay Journal]wrote last week about the latest legislative developments in both Maryland and Virginia.

If stormwater solutions are such a win-win for communities — resulting in cleaner places to recreate, water to drink and even economic improvement — why the opposition?

“I think we’d be wrong if we didn’t say sometimes these solutions can be viewed as expensive,” Baker said in response to the question. “The trouble is the polluted runoff deniers will report estimated costs that are three to 10 times what they will be. Yes, they’re expensive but nowhere near the cost estimates we’ve seen come out.”

For Maryland, the report calls for three key actions: (1) defeating proposals that would repeal, delay, or weaken 2012 legislation requiring 10 counties to adopt stormwater utility fees; (2) having the State issue “strong and enforceable” stormwater control permits for eight counties and Baltimore City that have older permits; and (3) including full funding of the 2010 Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund (funded at $31.5 million in FY 2014), at least $36 million new stormwater-related funding in the capital budget, and $45 million for the State Highway Administration for blueprint implementation.

The report recommends that the federal government implement new national urban stormwater regulations and “strong” pollution control permits for local governments.  The report also contains recommendations for Virginia and Pennsylvania.

A January 22 Capital-Gazette editorial also discusses the report and argues against any legislative attempts to repeal of amend the 2012 stormwater  legislation.