CITIZENS TAKE ON CLARK COUNTY’S FAILED ATTEMPT TO MAKE TAXPAYERS PAY FOR DEVELOPERS’ STORMWATER POLLUTION
Nationwide, stormwater is the leading source of water pollution. This is also true for the Columbia River Basin. In urban areas, rain runs across dirty pavement and roofs, picking up toxic metals, oil, grease, bacteria and other contaminants along the way.
Experts across the country agree: the cost of stormwater pollution is steep. Murky, smelly streams and rivers and fish advisories warning people not to eat otherwise healthy, locally caught fish are a stark reminder of the public costs of stormwater pollution. Yet Clark County tried to make taxpayers pay for stormwater impacts that are the responsibility of private development. Taxpayer dollars already support public stormwater infrastructure and now its time for developers to pay their share.
IGNORING COMMON SENSE
Why is Clark County Trying to Evade Protections for Safe, Swimmable Rivers and Livable Communities?
In 2010, local citizens and conservation groups successfully challenged Clark County’s sweetheart deal with Washington State regulators—a deal that made Clark County the only major county in the state to avoid critical steps to reduce stormwater pollution. Washington’s Pollution Control Hearings Board ruled that the County’s controversial development standards violated state laws to protect clean water. In 2011, a federal court judge also found that Clark County’s actions likely violate the federal Clean Water Act.
Not only is Clark County violating the law, it is ignoring the very real economic and quality of life costs associated with stormwater pollution. For example, stormwater pollution:
- Increases flooding—the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that stormwater causes or contributes to at least one quarter of economic losses due to flooding—or $1 billion per year.
- Adds costs to providing safe drinking water.
- Threatens public health.
- Impacts fishing opportunities and water recreation.
CITIZENS FIGHT FOR CLEAN WATER IN CLARK COUNTY
Many cities and counties in Washington State are working hard to clean up polluted waterways. One of the primary ways Washington State is trying to reduce stormwater pollution is by requiring new development and redevelopment to control stormwater as it leaves the property.
CONTINUED….Click here for the full document: CITIZENS FIGHT FOR CLEAN WATER IN CLARK COUNTY