Stormwater Funding Bill – We need your help!

This arrived in my email this morning.  Please take a moment and contact your State Legislators to tell them to support this much needed legislation.

To: Mayors, Councilmembers, City Managers/Administrators, and Public Works Directors

SHB 1614 is eligible for action by the House today. There are only three days left of the legislative session and without your help, this critical bill will not pass.

It would provide much needed funding to address stormwater obligations.

Please call or email your Representative and your Senator TODAY and ask them to support SHB 1614.

Ask your Legislator to please partner with cities and support this effort to address stormwater obligations.

  • State and federal obligations are here to stay and must be funded-regardless of the state fiscal crisis.
  • City stormwater utility fees won’t be sufficient to meet this obligation – and they don't “charge” oil product pollution runs off from roadways.

· Cleaning up our marine and fresh waters is critical to the health of our communities and to future generations.

Because this bill has not been heard by the Senate yet, your Senator may not be familiar with it.

The bill would:

  • Authorize a $1.50 per barrel fee on the first possession of petroleum products that contribute to storm water pollution. This modest fee will generate approximately $100M a year to address stormwater pollution. Initial surveys on meeting Phase I/II and Puget Sound clean-up indicate costs will be in the billions.
  • Create the Water Pollution Account for mitigating and preventing stormwater pollution from petroleum products.
  • Create a competitive grant process for funding existing stormwater grant programs, low-impact development retrofit projects and capital projects that address petroleum contamination of storm water through the implementation of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System programs. Department of Ecology administers the program.

Our opponents (the oil companies) don't deny that oil products cause stormwater pollution – they question to what degree they are part of the problem and are using “tax” vs. “fee” legal arguments to stall this legislation. 

We strongly disagree with their arguments. The bill has been carefully constructed as a fee and recognizes that not all refined petroleum products cause stormwater pollution.

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James A. Restucci is the author of this blog. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Internal License.

3 Responses to Stormwater Funding Bill – We need your help!

  1. TVNews says:

    I disagree with the “fee” (a tax by any other name). The reason being is that end consumer (you and I) pay all taxes (and fees) up the line. Those up the line merely hold our money for the government until we purchase the product.

    It generates a hidden tax disguised as a slight bump in price. The consumer gripes about the greedy oil company and the politicians responsible for it get off Scott free.

    There is one new law I would like to see. It would be wonderful if every consumer item had to come with full disclosure as to how much of the price is going to pay taxes?

  2. jimr says:

    Jason, it’s not Sunnyside’s local environmental issues; Washington State Law says that the State “owns” rain water; however even if you don’t agree with that, the fact remains that the Clean Water Act effects everyone in this state, and although the NPDES requirements directly affect only cities of 10,000 or more, that’s just the starting point, eventually all cities will have an NPDES permit, mark my words.

  3. Jason Raines says:

    I respectfully disagree with the logic behind this proposed bill. Taxing the oil refineries for stormwater funds is not the solution.

    This attempt to hammer the “evil” oil companies should be resisted. While I don’t agree with having unfunded mandates, I also don’t agree with taxing business operations outside of Sunnyside, to pay for Sunnyside’s local environmental issues.