Water Blog

News, notes and thoughts from Blue Water Baltimore.


Support the Stormwater Fee in Three Minutes or Less

January 8th, 2014 • Posted by Kristen Weiss

stormdrain_stenciled and trashedIn the Maryland legislative session that starts today, there will undoubtedly be hearings on a variety of bills seeking to weaken, delay or even repeal the stormwater fee.

But addressing Baltimore’s urban polluted runoff problem can’t wait, so we need to remind our legislators that the program they passed in 2012 deliberately and critically allows for local flexibility.

Did you know that over 45% of the land cover in Baltimore City is hard or paved versus just 7% in other jurisdictions?

This is why Baltimore’s approach to watershed restoration and protection must be tailored to our urban infrastructure and water quality needs, and not based on conditions in other places.

Importantly, for the first time ever, this reasonable and equitable fee will provide sufficient funding solely dedicated to upgrading and improving stormwater treatment and management in Baltimore City!

Weakening, delaying or repealing this landmark legislation would set us back significantly in terms of water quality, public health and economic gains.

Treating and managing stormwater requires a stable, sustainable and dedicated source of funding so that long-term planning and cost-effective solutions can successfully be implemented.

Cleaner water means healthier neighborhoods. Our local streams and rivers are polluted, degraded and eroded: they desperately need attention and the stormwater fee will provide the necessary resources to finally get a handle on the urban polluted runoff problem.

In just three easy steps, you can send a quick email to your state Senator and Delegates to let them know that you support protecting the stormwater fee and are opposed to efforts to weaken, delay or repeal it.

 1. Click this link to look up your Senator and Delegates.

2. Enter your address and click the “Create Message” button.

Feel free to cut and paste our sample message below, or craft your own message:

Please continue to support the stormwater fee program as it passed in 2012 (HB987). Efforts to weaken, delay or repeal it are short-sighted and would greatly impede important projects currently underway to address urban and suburban polluted runoff. 

We can’t delay – we must address stormwater now! Without the adequate funds to address this problem, businesses and homes continue to be at risk for increased flooding, which can cause property damage, lost income, collapsed roads and snarled traffic. The public health continues to be threatened by seafood advisories, beach closures and bacteria in the water. This fee is the most fair and equitable approach to solving the polluted runoff issue.

The stormwater legislation that passed in 2012 deliberately provided flexibility to local jurisdictions to create a stormwater fee that specifically meets their water quality, infrastructure, and land use needs. This critical feature of the law recognizes how this is not a one-size-fits-all problem, and cannot be solved with a one-size-fits-all solution. For example, Baltimore City’s ultra-urban environment is made up of 45% impervious land cover while other jurisdictions average only 7%. The funds generated by the fee stay with the local jurisdiction and are solely dedicated to stormwater work – our local communities will directly benefit from these projects.

As a resident of your district I urge you to oppose any efforts to weaken, delay or repeal the stormwater fee program. Please continue to support the sound law that was passed by the Maryland General Assembly and signed by the Governor in 2012. 

 3. Complete your message and click “Send.” 

It’s that simple!

The legislators in your district need to know that YOU want to protect the stormwater fee and that clean water is your #1 priority, and they need to know this week.

To give you more information, we created three fact sheets.

What You Need to Know about Baltimore’s Stormwater Fee [PDF]

We Can’t Delay – Baltimore Must Address Stormwater Now [PDF]

Baltimore’s Citizens are Engaged in Tackling the Problem [PDF]

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