February 20, 2012
EPA Says Maryland Needs Funding to Reduce Polluted Runoff
Legislation to Finance Stormwater Management is 'Key Action'
(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Alison Prost, Maryland Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), issued this statement about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) evaluation of Maryland's draft Bay clean-up plan and two-year milestone:
"We share EPA's view: Maryland has a strong plan, but needs dedicated funding to clean up polluted runoff and to finish upgrading sewage plants. These are currently serious problems. Children can not swim in the Bay or creeks or rivers for 48 hours after a significant storm. Maryland committed in its plan to find reliable funding for Bay cleanup. The question now is whether the state will follow through on that commitment.
"Governor O'Malley has taken a strong first step by proposing bills that finish the upgrades of our 67 major sewage plants, increase upgrades of septic systems, and aim to steer new growth to rural villages that need the economic development. We applaud those steps. Now the legislature must strengthen the Governor's initiatives by passing a stormwater utility fee bill, and by amending the Governor's growth bill to require best available technology on new septic systems, among other amendments.
"Legislation before the Maryland General Assembly, SB 614/HB 987, would require each local jurisdiction to collect a stormwater utility fee. The EPA evaluation says such legislation is key if Maryland hopes to fulfill its commitment to meet mandated pollution limits, and to clean up local creeks, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay by 2025.
"The EPA evaluation falls short in one area. Maryland must do more to prevent new sources of pollution as the state continues to grow. The legislature also must limit the proliferation of at least 120,000 new septic systems throughout the state, and at a minimum require new homes to use the best available waste disposal technology, not just the least expensive technology. CBF calls on Maryland's legislature to pass these initiatives.
"We are more than half way to our goals for clean water. But naysayers want to slam the brakes on progress. Now is the moment in time for the Chesapeake Bay."
View EPA's evaluation of Maryland's draft Phase II WIP (PDF)
Learn more about WIPs and the Chesapeake Bay pollution limits >>