Maryland counties meet funding requirements to reduce stormwater pollution
9 Counties, Baltimore City Put Forward Plans without State Mandate
Baltimore, MD (October 18, 2016) – Maryland’s largest jurisdictions have met their requirements under state law to develop financing plans to reduce polluted stormwater runoff and protect and restore local waters and the Chesapeake Bay.
A review by the Maryland Department of the Environment determined that Baltimore City and the state’s largest counties dedicated funding for clean water projects as required under Maryland’s Watershed Protection and Restoration Program. That program was revised under a bill, signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan in 2015, that repealed a mandate that forced local jurisdictions to collect a stormwater remediation fee and instead gave them the flexibility to enact a plan that best fit their individual situation. The total projected investment for stormwater reduction projects for Maryland’s largest jurisdictions is more than $1 billion over five years.
“Today’s news further illustrates what many Marylanders and local officials have already known for years: the state does not need to impose yet another burdensome tax on homeowners and job creators in order to successfully manage stormwater runoff,” said Governor Hogan. “The innovative plans put forward by these jurisdictions offer even more proof that repealing the Rain Tax was the right thing to do.”
“Collaboration and innovation are crucial to so much of what Maryland does as an environmental leader in the Chesapeake Bay region, and the ongoing effort to reduce polluted stormwater runoff reflects that spirit,” said Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles. “The revised stormwater program provides flexibility while demanding accountability and results. Maryland’s largest jurisdictions deserve credit for stepping forward to pay for these clean water projects – for the good of our environment and Maryland’s economy.”
The revisions to Maryland’s stormwater management program signed into law in 2015 required each of Maryland’s 10 largest urban jurisdictions to develop a Financial Assurance Plan to show how the treatment of stormwater runoff will be paid for over the next five years. These plans provide a financial roadmap for complying with municipal stormwater permit requirements and federal water pollution limits for the Chesapeake Bay. The jurisdictions that are affected by these requirements are: Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
The 2015 law also requires the Maryland Department of the Environment to provide an annual report on the plans and to determine whether the jurisdictions’ plans include sufficient funding – defined as funding of at least 75 percent of municipal stormwater permit impervious surface restoration plan requirements over the next two state fiscal years. The Department has completed its annual report and has found that each of the jurisdictions has sufficient funding in its plan, and will work directly with the counties to facilitate any needed adjustments.
Maryland is a recognized national leader in urban stormwater restoration work. Through mid 2015, more than 8,000 impervious acres were restored under Maryland local jurisdictions’ municipal stormwater permits, and Maryland jurisdictions are projected to restore more than 34,000 acres by the end of the five-year permit term. In comparison, Washington, D.C., among regional leaders in green infrastructure, is projected to restore 500 acres by the end of its permit term, and Philadelphia, a national model for green infrastructure, is projected to restore 10,000 acres by 2035.
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