: News

Eroding Stormwater Regulations

Play associated audio

By Sabri Ben-Achour

Developers and environmental groups in Maryland have been at loggerheads over new stormwater runoff regulations scheduled to go into effect May fourth, and a compromise has left neither side particularly satisfied.

Stormwater runoff from paved surfaces carrying trash and pollutants into rivers and the Chesapeake Bay is a recurring issue in the region. Maryland recently tried to deal with the problem by requiring developers to build in ways to slow down and filter rainwater in any new construction. Some developers bristled.

"Putting this burden on the back of new development--all it's going to do is increase the cost of housing way up beyond what anyone can afford and it won't get the job done," says Tom Farasy, president of the Maryland State Builders' Association.

During a down economy, he says, developers wouldn't be able to meet the rules. The state of Maryland relented, giving developers three more years to comply with the regulations and allowing more flexibility in how to meet the new standards. The grandfathering would apply only to developers who have received preliminary approval for their projects by May 4th, 2010. Developers whose projects haven't been approved by then will have to comply with the new regulations.

"We are disappointed that a significant number of projects will get extra time because that means that's pollution running off into creeks and rivers and into the bay that otherwise would've been slowed down and filtered," says Tom Zolper, with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Ultimately, though, the standards remain intact. Developers have until 2013 to meet them.

NPR

Broadway Chanteuse Barbara Cook: 'My First Memories Are Of Singing'

After starring in Broadway shows like The Music Man and Candide, Cook struggled with addiction, then staged a successful second career as a cabaret singer. Her new memoir is Then and Now.
NPR

Nothing Says 'Hip' Like Ancient Wheat

Many consumers in North America and Europe are willing to pay a premium for nutritious, organic grains. That makes the market ripe for a revival of millennia-old bread wheat, some plant breeders say.
NPR

Elizabeth Warren Campaigns With Hillary Clinton, Goes After Donald Trump

In their first appearance together of the 2016 campaign, the progressive hero and Massachusetts senator enthusiastically endorsed the presumptive nominee.
NPR

Human Or Machine: Can You Tell Who Wrote These Poems?

Can a computer write a sonnet that's indistinguishable from what a person can produce? A contest at Dartmouth attempted to find out. With our online quiz, you too can give it a try.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.