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No Delay, No Dilution, No Exemptions!

Stormwater1It’s January 2014…31 years after the Bay states and the federal government signed the first Chesapeake Bay Agreement pledging to restore the Bay to good health.

…27 years after the Bay states and EPA signed a second Bay agreement pledging to reduce pollution and save the Bay by 2000.

…14 years after the Bay states and EPA signed yet another Bay agreement, Chesapeake 2000, pledging to save the Bay by 2010.

…five years after all agreed a saved Bay wasn’t going to happen by 2010, and that the Clean Water Act and common sense required more aggressive action, accountability, and results.

…three years after EPA created a science-based “pollution diet” for the Bay, quantifying how much pollution the Bay could safely handle and directing the states to reduce pollution accordingly.

…three years after Virginia, Maryland, and the other Bay jurisdictions produced state-specific plans to achieve the diet by 2025. These “Clean Water Blueprints” call for major reductions in polluted runoff, the only major source of Bay pollution still on the rise.

…three years after Virginia approved new statewide rules to reduce runoff.

…two years after the Maryland General Assembly approved legislation directing the state’s 10 largest Krista Schlyerlocalities to create stormwater utilities and enact fees to reduce polluted runoff in their localities.

…two years after the Virginia General Assembly directed local governments across the state to take responsibility for reducing local polluted runoff by July 2013.

…one year after Virginia granted every locality a year’s extension and appropriated $35 million to help them pay for local, on-the-ground runoff control projects.

And so it’s January 2014, and comes now great angst in Virginia and Maryland over having to (finally) comply with requirements to reduce local runoff pollution. In the current Virginia legislative session, bills are piling up to further delay or weaken Virginia’s polluted runoff control programs. In the Maryland legislature, efforts are afoot to reverse course and do away with, delay, or alter stormwater utility fees critical for funding local runoff reduction projects.

P1010006All this blowback from the two states most closely identified with the Chesapeake Bay, its history, culture, and resources and arguably the states with the most to lose ecologically and economically from dirty water, polluted rivers, and an ailing Bay.

It’s January 2014. It’s time to act. Many say it is the moment in time to deal with pollution and finally clean up our streams, rivers, and the Bay. In Virginia, conservationists are calling for “No delay, no dilution, no exemptions.” In Maryland, the mantra is “Crab cakes, not CRAP cakes.”

It’s January 2014. Virginia and Maryland legislators are at their desks. If you think 31 years is long enough, let your voice be heard. In Virginia, click here. In Maryland, click here.

Chuck Epes

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

(Photos: top, Jennifer Carr/South River Federation; middle, Krista Schlyer/iLCP; bottom, CBF)

Comments

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Why should we have to pay a "Rain Tax" when allowing uncontroled runoff from construction sites is already illegal?

Let the violators pay all costs of enforcement.

It's not a rain tax, it's a fee based on the amount of impervious surface on your property and that directly contributes to Bay pollution. Maybe you'd prefer that the state access your credit card records to see how much fertilizer crap you're dumping on your lawn or monitor how little you recycle or count how many cigarette butts you toss on the ground? No more borrowing from future generations. The buck stops here.

I don't have any runoff that leaves my property but I won't be exempt will I?

Those of us who live responsibly always end up subsidizing the polluters. Just like the septic tank tax.

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