Rain at last

A drawn-out struggle to counter, in Maryland law, the pollution impacts of poorly managed rain & snow runoff has ground to an end, it looks like, with a vote in committee. This means that a compromise bill, worked out last month amid public clash between the builder-developer and environmentalist lobbies after long dispute over an earlier law, finally has approval in both chambers of the legislature. The builders & developers will have protections they’ve sought against costly re-initializing of projects already in the works, and the Dept. of the Environment will have a regulatory standard it can enforce. Environmentalist groups have been split over the new law: some, like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, having gone with the Dept. of the Environment in support of the compromise, as necessary to getting a law passed, and others, including Maryland members of the Waterkeeper Alliance, having rejected it as a betrayal of hope for our fresh-water and estuarine ecosystems, already severely in decline.

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