College Park, MD – U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, today hosted a roundtable discussion of local, state and federal officials who are now partners in mitigating the damage caused by stormwater pollution in Maryland, the National Capital Region, and nationwide. This new alliance was made official with enactment of legislation authored by Senator Cardin (S. 3481) that requires the federal government to comply with local stormwater fees that are used to treat and manage polluted stormwater runoff.
“Stormwater runoff is the largest source sector for many imperiled bodies of water across the country, and is the fastest growing source of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers. It is a problem that affects all of us, and all of us have to be part of the solution, including the Federal Government,” said Senator Cardin. “This new law holds polluters financially accountable for the pollution that they cause, including Uncle Sam. Having removed any ambiguity about responsibility, we now have a strong partner in the federal government who will work with our local, county and state governments to ensure a more environmentally responsible future.”
Participants at the Thursday roundtable included White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, a key partner with Senator Cardin in his efforts to hold the federal government responsible for stormwater fee payment, and Ken Ulman, newly elected president of the Maryland Association of Counties and County Executive of Howard County. Officials discussed how the change in the law will benefit local communities, including the environmental benefits and green jobs that these expected revenues will help to finance. The positive impact of the new law will be felt in jurisdictions nationwide, but particularly locally where the District of Columbia projects it will collect $2.6 million in stormwater fees from federal facilities in the coming year.
Senator Cardin introduced S.3481 in response to recent written decisions that rebuffed or left ambiguous the need for Federal agencies to pay stormwater fees. His bill passed with significant bipartisan support in the Senate and House of Representatives in December, and President Obama signed Senator Cardin’s bill into law last week. The legislation garnered the backing of the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, The U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the International City/County Management Association.