A group of residents, backed by a few county council members are opposing a major piece of environmental legislation that the Prince George’s County Council will be voting upon this month.
The bill is CB-15-2011, it will be updating the county’s storm water regulations. However the group thinks it only keeps the interest of developers.
“The developers want us to pass a weak bill that allows them to keep doing what they’ve always been doing, which is to continue their practice of using large swaths of impervious surface whenever they redevelop land. This means many of the pollutants on the ground get washed into our water when it rains,which ultimately all goes to the Chesapeake Bay.” – said Lore Rosenthal of Greenbelt Action Network.
According to the group, the county executive has introduced a bill that largely does what the developers want, which is to maintain the status quo, regardless of the environmental consequences for the Chesapeake Bay, the Anacostia River, and all our smaller streams and watersheds.
Now the bill goes to the county council. A group of council members are working on amendments to CB-15-2011 that will impose far stronger stormwater standards on redevelopment, and require these standards be met through Environmental Site Design (such as green roofs, raingardens, bioretention, tree plantings, permeable pavers, cisterns etc).
Activists are asking for redevelopment to treat at a minimum the first 1 inch of rainfall, which storm water experts say is the bare minimum necessary to protect our water quality. Rushern’s bill only asks redevelopment treat the first 1/2 inch, and is full of waivers that in many cases will allow developers to avoid meeting this weak target.
An improved stormwater standard would (1) provides green jobs, (2) is economically viable, (3) prevents costs to taxpayers (damaged stormwater infrastructure and flooding) – the group says.
The group asks residents to contact your county council representative early next week, before June 9th.
The Committee hearing for the bill is June 9th in room2027 at the council administration building. There will be a public hearing at a later date where you can address the full council. Written comments can be provided to the Clerk of the Council that get entered into the official record, council members are provided your written testimony before they vote on the bill.