Dec 23, 2010

Congress Passes Storm Water Fee Legislation

Law will require federal facilities to pay local storm water fees

The U.S. House of Representatives this week approved legislation requiring federal payment of local storm water management fees. This legislation, which passed the Senate by unanimous consent on Dec. 21, 2010, will benefit communities in 15 states and the District of Columbia that currently are experiencing issues with federal payment of these fees. In addition, the legislation will provide certainty to communities that may enact storm water fees in the future to meet growing storm water management responsibilities.

The National Assn. of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has long advocated that federal facilities are obligated to pay local storm water fees and has been actively pressing this issue since April, when the General Services Administration (GSA) delivered a preliminary announcement that federal facilities located in Washington, D.C., are not required to pay impervious area charges levied by the local authority. GSA claimed that the fee amounted to a tax on the federal government and therefore payment was unconstitutional. NACWA opposed this decision and applauds Congress for its leadership in working to see this overturned on a national level.

“We agree with Congress that it is unfair for the federal government to require cities and utilities to undertake these investments and then exempt themselves from payment,” said NACWA Executive Director Ken Kirk. “Today’s action will help communities in 15 states currently dealing with this issue and will lay a foundation for a stronger partnership moving forward. We applaud Senator Cardin and Representative Norton for their leadership on this issue.”