Blanket Restitutions for Unclear Sewage Overflows Unfair to Counties

On March 1, 2022, Associate Policy Director Dominic Butchko testified before the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee in opposition to SB 580 – Sewer Systems and Wastewater Treatment Plants – Water Pollution – Shellfish Harvester Restitution. This bill would establish mechanisms requiring municipal solid waste treatment plants to pay extraordinary damages to shellfish harvesters due to sewage overflows.

From the MACo testimony

If enacted, SB 580 would empower costly litigation and an overly burdensome restitution
structure that would place significant pressure on municipal solid waste treatment plants.
There is a multitude of scenarios where it may not be entirely clear who is responsible for pollution in a specific area or where the cause of an overflow is due to circumstances entirely out of plant operators’ control, i.e. natural disasters. While counties recognize that it is vital to maintain the health of the Bay, policy aimed at keeping actors responsible needs to be sensible. Targeting municipal solid waste treatment plants wrongly or when they are in the most critical need of resources is a recipe for ever-degrading policy outcomes.

More on MACo’s Advocacy:

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2022 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.
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