Marylanders are tired of
flooding and want a
dedicated source of funding
to address the problem.
Jeremy Shifflett, a local property manager owner who is tired of dealing with flooding,
testified at an Anne Arundel County Council hearing in favor of paying a stormwater fee.
Clear Thinking about Clean Water
Jeremy Shifflett doesn’t call himself an environmentalist. But there he was testifying at
an Anne Arundel County Council hearing
in favor of paying a modest utility fee to
reduce the damaging impacts of uncontrolled urban polluted runoff (stormwater).
Something encouraging is happening in
Maryland. Clear thinking about clean
water is back. People such as Shifflett are
the voices of a grassroots movement, which
is pushing environmental action for practical reasons.
Shifflett is a member of a family-owned
property management company. One of
the properties his firm manages is a condominium in Glen Burnie. The ground floor
of one building repeatedly floods. He says
it’s because of problems with the county’s
A stormwater system is the collection of
pipes, retention ponds, and other structures that are supposed to drain and treat
polluted runoff. Many local governments
have put off maintenance and sufficient
improvements in their stormwater systems
As a result, runoff has become a major
source of water pollution in Maryland’s
urban and suburban areas, and often of
considerable local flooding.
Anne Arundel is upgrading its stormwater
system thanks to a stormwater fee the
county started collecting in 2013. But several county leaders tried to repeal the fee
that supports the program. Shifflet and
other successfully defeated the effort.
Similar stories are being heard around
In Salisbury, business owners also stepped
forward to support a proposed polluted
runoff fee in that city. They, too, said they
were tired of flooding, and wanted a
dedicated source of funding to address
In the state legislature, contractors testified
in favor of dedicated funding for the work.
Thousands of jobs, an entire industry, in
fact, is being created by the work.
Partly as a result of those non-traditional
advocates, the legislature passed a bill that
further commits Maryland to reduce polluted runoff in its most populated areas.
The legislation holds accountable nine
counties and Baltimore City that have the
worst urban runoff. While the jurisdictions
have flexibility, they must prove they are
dedicating adequate resources to the job.
CBF thanks Senate President Mike Miller
and House Speaker Mike Busch who were
instrumental in the bill’s success.
Reasonable people also are prevailing when
it comes to reducing other types of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay. Businessmen
testified in legislative hearings for a measure
to stop the over-application of pollution-rich chicken manure on Eastern Shore farm
fields. Not only will the effort help clean up
local creeks and rivers, they testified, it will
create a supply of manure that can be
turned into energy or used in other ways.
CBF members and friends also generated
25,000 e-mails and letters in support of the
manure management effort.
uRead more about CBF’s legislative successes
in Maryland at cbf.org/Maryland.