Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

NLC Opposes 'End of Pipe' Regulations

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

NLC Opposes 'End of Pipe' Regulations

Article excerpt

"The nation's cities and towns are not proposting to 'gut' environmental statutes in general, or the Clean Water Act in particular," Mayor Jeff Wennberg told the House Public Works Committee (Norman Mineta, D-Calif., Chair) in testimony last week. "Rather," he said, "we are proposing that our scarece local ressources be targeted on environmental problems of real concern to municipalities."

As "federal requirements move from protection to perfection the ability of local governments to absorb and implement unfunded mandates can no longer be ignored," the EENR chair stated.

The priority municipal concerns with teh current Clean Water Act, Wennberg told the committee include the stormwater management program, the need to codify the recently promulgated Combined Sewer Overflow Guidance, an enhanced non-point source (run-off from agriculture, sylviculture and mining activities) program, enactment of a watershed management program and renewal of the federal financial commitment to help pay for compliance with the Act.

"Urban stormwater run-off is a non-point source [of pollution] in the ordinary sense of the term," Wennberg said. The only difference between municipal and sgricultural stormwater run-off is that cities direct stormwater into a pipe. Expressing NLC's oppostition to "end-of-pipe" requirements, Wennberg proposed that Congress regulate urban stormwater run-off the same way the regulate agricultural stormwater run-off -- under the non-point source program of the Clean Water Act.

Wennberg also told the committee that extending the date for requiring municipal compliance with numerical effluent limits "to some future distant date...does not make the concept acceptacle." What is more, he said, "it is essential that investments be made in research to determine whether and how to achieve water quality objectives for stormwater run-off. …

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