Former Senator Defends Stormwater Fee; Decries “Hypocrisy”

In a March 6 Capital-Gazette opinion column, former Maryland legislator Gerald Winegrad attacked local government critics of the stormwater remediation fee mandated by 2012 legislation, arguing that the fee is needed to undo past growth decisions and population growth that have dramatically increased water pollution runoff in the Chesapeake Bay.

Political hypocrisy has reached new levels in the debate on fees to pay to clean up polluted stormwater runoff.

Many local politicians have attacked this polluter-pays concept and, after proclaiming their love for the Chesapeake Bay, pledged to block these fees while offering no viable alternatives.  …

Unfortunately, as sewage treatment plants reach capacity due to population growth, the nitrogen reductions will get us back to where we were before the [Bay Restoration Fund], after expending more than $200 million in [Anne Arundel County]. This means much more will have to be done to reduce the biggest source of county pollutants: stormwater runoff.

Clean Water Act requirements are forcing the counties to address this runoff. The cost to undo 100 years of poor development practices is estimated at $900 million in [Anne Arundel].

It is well past time for our elected leaders to face up to the need to fund these necessary measures.