PEC Urges Prompt Consideration of Stormwater Legislation

Senator Ted Erickson (Chester and Delaware Counties) has reintroduced planning and implementation legislation (Senate Bill 524) that provides local government greater resources to address stormwater impacts from existing and potential sources.  Similar legislation is expected in the House from Representative Robert Freeman (Northampton) in the near future.

In 2007 PEC conducted Stormwater Listening Sessions in four locations across Pennsylvania to gather input from representatives of county and municipal government, developers, regulatory agencies, and conservation organizations to identify both the challenges relating to stormwater management as well as recommends toward addressing those challenges.

PEC has since been actively working with public and private partners, including members of the General Assembly, to secure passage of legislation that aligns with the recommendations from the Listening Sessions.  This included House Bill 2266 from the 2007-2008 legislative session which, despite the leadership of since-retired Representative Steil (Bucks) and other legislators, did not pass before the end of session.  Senate Bill 524 is modeled on that legislation.

In addition, in December 2008 PEC conducted a poll of 800 citizens in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties to understand public attitudes about water; particularly stormwater.  The results of the poll demonstrate that citizens care deeply about clean water, but were not equally concerned about threats to streams – only one third of citizens knew that untreated stormwater goes directly into streams.  Nonetheless, those surveyed were quite supportive of increased coordination for better stormwater management, and over 50% were willing to pay a few dollars extra each month for better stormwater management. In contrast, stakeholders such as municipal, county, and state officials were deeply concerned about how to manage stormwater more effectively, but had little confidence that citizens would support collaborative efforts for stormwater management.

PEC organized a Stormwater Authorities Forum in Norristown on February 20th, where the results of the polling were presented. Over 60 people attended the event, including Senator Erickson and Representative Freeman, and many have agreed to continue to participate in a dialogue about stormwater management authorities.  If you are interested in joining this dialog, please contact PEC’s Southeast Office at 215-592-7020.