Congress Enacts New Federal Law Requiring U.S. To Pay for Stormwater Pollution

January 2011Newsletters In the Zone

In the waning legislative days of 2010, Congress approved legislation that would require the federal government to pay “reasonable service charges” to local governments managing stormwater runoff pollution from federal facilities, putting it on the same level for mitigation fees paid by private citizens and businesses.

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, and Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member of the EPW Committee, lauded Congressional passage of S. 3481 , which requires the federal government to comply with local stormwater fees that are used to treat and manage polluted stormwater runoff. The bill amends the Clean Water Act, in response to recent written decisions that rebuffed or left ambiguous the need for federal agencies to pay such fees.

“At stake has been a fundamental issue of equity: polluters should be financially responsible for the pollution that they cause, including the federal government,” said Senator Cardin. “From Washington, DC, to Washington State, the failure of the federal government to pay localities for reasonable costs associated with the control and abatement of pollution that originated on its properties has taken its toll. Annually hundreds of thousands of pounds of pollutants wash off the hardened surfaces in urban areas and into local rivers and streams, threatening the health of our citizens and causing significant environmental degradation.”

The legislation has been presented to President Obama and awaits his signature.

For more information, please contact Robert W. Gundlach, Jr. at 215.918.3636 or [email protected].