Governor's Budget Helps Local Governments Reduce Polluted Runoff; Locals Must Hold Up Their End

(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Alison Prost, Maryland Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, issued a statement following Governor O'Malley's budget press conference today.

The governor's budget proposes at least $112 million to reduce non-point sources of pollution. About $67 million of that will be distributed to local governments, watershed groups, and to farmers through the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bay 2010 Trust Fund for on-the-ground pollution reduction projects. The governor's budget also proposes $45 million to help the Maryland Highway Administration reduce polluted runoff from state roads.

Ms. Prost's statement follows :

"We know that to achieve clean water in our local rivers, streams and the Bay, it will take cooperation of all levels of government and the private sector. This budget shows the state is doing its part to reduce local pollution that washes off parking lots and streets in our populated areas. Local governments must continue to do their part.

"In many of our urban and suburban areas polluted runoff is the main source of water pollution. Polluted runoff also is the only major source of pollution that continues to grow in the Chesapeake region. This pollution closes beaches, floods basements, and kills fish, oysters and crabs.

"This budget proposes record dollars in the 2010 Trust Fund. When combined with the proposed capital dollars for local projects, the budget continues current levels of funding. It answers the question once and for all, 'What is the state doing to help on this problem?' Local governments need to match that commitment."

Editor's note—As a way of comparing state funding to solve polluted runoff versus local funding, the Maryland Department of Legislative Services calculates that 10 local governments required to raise stormwater fees will collect about $102 million in revenues in fiscal year 2014.

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