West and Rhode Riverkeeper

We work with our community to enforce environmental law, to
promote restoration, and to advocate for better environmental policy.
Contact us: 443-758-7797  ♦  PO Box 172, Shady Side, MD 20764

Support the Stormwater Program

We need you today- we are fighting two bills in the County Council that would repeal polluted runoff fees that are currently being used for restoration to keep pollution out of our waterways!

 

The County Council will hold hearings and potentially vote on these bills on Monday, April 6, 2015.

 

Show your support for Anne Arundel’s Watershed Protection and Restoration Program by:

  • Contacting your County Councilman and telling him to vote” NO” on Bill 16-5 and 17-5. For contact information http://www.aacounty.org/CountyCouncil/index.cfm
  • Come to County Council meeting at 7 p.m. April 6th at the Arundel Center. If you wish to speak, sign up at 6:30 p.m.
  • These dedicated fees are currently used to finance $70 to $80 million in bonds annually that the County needs in the short term to carry out projects that will meet the federally mandated deadlines for the stormwater permit and the 2025 pollution limits.
  • Since the County is currently at its debt limit, the financing of equivalent bonds would not be possible without endangering the County’s credit rating. Thus with General Fund substitution there would be a $60 million shortfall in what’s needed immediately to fix the polluted runoff problem.
  • Meeting polluted runoff obligations through the General Fund would require County residents to give up projects critical to their quality of life—schools, libraries, roads and other capital improvements.
  • $62.5 million in projects were initiated in FY 14 that will generate an estimated 130 jobs for local residents; severe cuts or elimination of these dollars will kill these jobs and stop the progress being made on reducing pollution. Keeping the polluted runoff fees is the fiscally responsible thing to do.

For more information on these bills and the program click here to read the Open Letter to County Executive Steve Schuh from the Anne Arundel Chapter of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and local watershed groups, including West/Rhode Riverkeeper.

 

Dear County Executive Schuh:

 

We who are dedicated to cleaning up our polluted waterways are extremely disappointed and dismayed by your recent submission of Bill 16-5 to repeal the stormwater management fees that support the Watershed Protection and Restoration program. This bill, and your public statement that you would sign Bill 17-5 to end fees in July, thus dismantling the program and stopping ongoing projects, is a clear reversal of your previous commitments to address polluted stormwater runoff, the largest and fastest growing source of pollution to our waterways.

 

Your pledge to replace the $21.4 million scheduled to be collected in polluted runoff fees from General Fund sources appears misleading to us for the following reasons:

 

So we call on County Executive Schuh to explain to his constituents, many of whom voted for him because of his commitment to environmental issues, how he will continue the current level of funding for the Watershed Protection and Restoration program if polluted runoff fees are eliminated. Our ability to have swimmable, fishable waterways and our children’s legacy depend on it.

 

Signed,

 

Anne Arundel Chapter, Maryland League of Conservation Voters
Advocates for Herring Bay 
Anne Arundel Group, Sierra Club
Blue Water Baltimore
Magothy River Association

Restore Rock Creek
Severn River Association

Severn Riverkeeper Program
South River Federation

West/Rhode Riverkeeper