Earlier this month, local stormwater programs got a much-needed and long overdue boost: A new federal law requires federal facilities—military bases, office complexes, federal prisons, and the like—to pay local stormwater fees just as privately owned facilities do.
In Washington DC alone, where federal facilities of course take up more space than in many other places, the additional stormwater revenue will be about $2.6 million per year. Lawmakers seem to have looked not only at the District of Columbia but at nearby watersheds, such as the Chesapeake Bay watershed, in which about 5% of the land is owned by the federal government, according to Ben Cardin (D-MD), who co-sponsored the bill.
Nationwide, according to Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the federal government owns about half a million buildings and has more than 2 million employees.
In some places, state governments have also been exempt from paying local stormwater fees. See Brant Keller’s blog on the situation in Georgia here.