Mar 18, 2020

Pennsylvania Reexamines Storm Water Fee

Residents and businesses are concerned about new storm water fees being assessed by local governments

storm water runoff

Pennsylvania residents and businesses have reached out to lawmakers with concerns about new storm water fees being assessed by local governments.

State Rep. Dawn Keefer, R-Dillsburg, and state Sen. Mike Regan, R-Carroll Township said local governments must approve the fees as they are facing mandates to improve the rivers and streams, according to the Center Square

“We are calling on municipal leaders to act as responsible stewards of your money and join us in calling on Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection to provide substantiated, comprehensive data of current water quality and plans for monitoring water improvements,” said Keefer and Regan.

A decade ago, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation sued the U.S. U.S. EPA, which led to limits for the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in the waterways.

“When many of our local waterways are classified as High Quality or Exceptional Value, meaning they are positively impacting our nation’s water quality, why should our residents be saddled with unjustifiable fees?” added the lawmakers.

The lawsuit came more than a decade after the federal government created a nationwide system seeking to eliminate pollution discharge, reported the Center Square. This required communities to develop MS4 and collect fees to manage them. Some communities must directly impose fees, while other classes of communities must first set up authorities. That leads to concerns whether the fees are uniform and reasonable.

“If residents are going to be charged a fee, we want it to be ‘reasonable and uniform’ and be based on solid information,” they said. “At this point the MS4 program, as implemented in Pennsylvania, has proven to be financially burdensome on municipalities and their residents, and they deserve to have a full understanding as to the justification of these costs and what their money is expected to achieve. It is time to quantify current conditions and develop a reasonable plan that charts a scientific course to the improvement of our waterways that is not only measurable but includes a finish line.”

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