Earlier this month, President Obama signed a bill that obligates the federal government to pay local stormwater management fees. The issue has been a contentious one for local governments as they have worked to implement stricter federal stormwater permitting regulations aimed at reducing the amount of pollution runoff. Most municipalities have enacted stormwater fees to implement these federal mandates, but frustratingly the federal government has claimed an exemption from paying these fees. The issue came to a head after the General Accountability Office (GAO) issued a decision in June 2010 that federal agencies in the District of Columbia would not be required to pay a stormwater fee enacted by the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority – fees that were intended to help reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay – because the fee was equivalent to a tax on the federal government which was unconstitutional.
Now, with the passage of S 3481, the federal government is required to pay stormwater fees.
How will this help municipalities? Federal buildings including courthouses, post offices, federal agency buildings, military installations, etc., will be required to pay stormwater fees which will result in more revenue for local governments.